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I am a political scientist by training but at heart I am a change maker with an insatiable drive to correct the injustices that plague Nigeria.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Nigeria Government Aid... Needs Accountability

The president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, a...
The president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, at the Nuclear Security Summit, in 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This article is a powerful illustration of yet another shortcoming that exists in President Goodluck Jonathan government of Nigeria. While I applaud the government for finding ways to attempt to provide support for those that are affected by tragedy, they are going about it in a very ineffective manner.


The first problem is that they are looking to provide financial support (Ref: ) for individuals who experienced tragedy during the  post-election violence of 2011, over two years ago. While I am sure these individuals can use the money now, why has it taken this long for the government to extend the aid?


Another significant flaw I see is the tracking of this aid. In Nigeria there is no public database that consistently accounts for individuals ( Ref: ). I am referencing a system of social security numbers like are used in the US and other civilized countries. While I know there are flaws with respect to the social security number system, in the US, it is a fairly effective way of tracking the identities of individuals. It seems as though anyone can come forward and claim to be part of these tragedies in Nigeria. While this is reducing the amount of aid available to those who truly deserve it, it also invites dishonest people to cash in on the tragedies of others.


In the developed countries and the US there are federal protections that are put into place immediately for individuals that are victims of natural disasters, terrorist attacks, etc. These individuals receive monetary relief, housing assistance, mortgage protections, etc. The aid is able to be dispersed in a timely, organized manner that ensures that it “lands in the correct hands.”


Another disturbing part of this story is that Nigeria has to borrow substantial money with respect to infrastructure improvements. Why is the government not planning ahead? There should be money allotted for each area of the budget. The government shouldn’t have to borrow for certain items while paying for others. Who decides what to pay for? Are the funds guaranteed from one year to the next? Are there any planning and organizational efforts surrounding government spending and allocation or are these merely “fly by the seat of the pants ideas?”


I continue to worry about many of the problems that exist in Nigeria. The government spending seems to be up to the whim of the current administration. Where are the checks and balances? Who is regulating the spending? Who is monitoring the revenue? I believe that it is imperative that the citizens of Nigeria demand fiscal accountability for their country. 

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Amnesty For Terrorists... The Nigerian Government's Strategy

We live in a world in which terroristic attacks (both domestic and international) are all too common. The US government has worked relentlessly to pursue individuals that choose to commit these horrific acts. These individuals are held accountable to the highest extent of the law. The US government unremittingly pursues Justice for these acts.

Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols are responsible for the Oklahoma City bombings that occurred on April 19, 1995. These bombings claimed 68 lives, including 19 children under the age of 6 and injured more than 680 people. Nichols is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. McVeigh was executed in June of 2011.

On December 25, 2009 Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to detonate plastic explosives on a Northwest Airlines flight. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the attempted murder of 289 people.

James Eagan Holmes is currently awaiting sentencing for his actions. On July 20, 2012 Holmes killed 12 and injured 58 in a shooting spear inside an Aurora, CO theater.

The above examples are simply a sampling of the approach the government takes to pursuing justice against those that commit these horrible acts of terrorism. Unfortunately, the Nigerian government does not embody the same pursuit of justice. It sickens me to know that the Nigerian government brokers deals with Boko Haram terrorists ( Ref. link: Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan Names Boko Haram Amnesty Committee Members  ). The deals that they broker are not plea bargains, they are in fact offers of amnesty. This is absurd and frankly inexcusable. The Nigeria government of President Goodluck Jonathan takes the stance that in order to stop the Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb affiliates in Northern Nigeria and other terrorism from occurring, they need to offer the terrorists amnesty. To me this action, not only promotes new and current terroristic individuals and groups to continue with these violent actions, it also sends a message to the families of victims that they don’t matter…that the government doesn’t care about the lives lost.

The Nigerian government needs to significantly change their practice. They must fully pursue terrorist activities. They must hold those responsible accountable and punish them to the fullest extent of the law.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Presidential Duty & The Boston Marathon Terror

Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers are with the people of Boston today. I would like to commend President Obama on his immediate response to this horrific act. While Americans should be able to expect the response from the president yesterday, this is not the same for Nigerians. Regardless of the political party or who is the president when crisis arises, our President Barack Obama and others before him always responds.

In Nigeria, there is often no acknowledgment regarding crises that occur. The only time that the President Goodluck Jonathan visits victims that are injured seems to occur only when it is of benefit to the President. As president you are supposed to be serving the citizens of the country. Being visible and paying respects as well as offering support is a major responsibility that must not be taken lightly. I would implore the President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria to study the actions of President Barack Obama as well as our USA past presidents to learn how to respond. It is your duty and responsibility!
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