Opinion

‘Looters should be shot!, By Emeka Obasi

The level of looting going on in the country is beyond human comprehension. Those involved are not just men and women in power. Corporate organisations, government institutions and private businesses are all part of the mess.

 

One retired security expert has been so frustrated. For a long while, the over 80 years old man continued to bewail the looting going on around us. Recently, he could not hold it anymore. ‘Looters should be executed,’ he screamed.

 

He wonders why armed robbers face the bullets while the real bandits who steal from the commonwealth and impoverish the people, are left to walk free and continue to use stolen wealth to the disadvantage of the poor masses.

 

Well, execution has been able to reset Ghana. When Jerry Rawlings came in 1979, he wiped out a generation of generals and Service Chiefs.

Former leaders, Akwasi Afrifa, Kutu Acheampong and Fred Akuffo, were shot at the Labadi Beach.

 

Service Chiefs Adm. Joy Amedume and Air Vice Marshal Ebenezer Kotei were also executed alongside Col. Roger Felli who once served as Foreign Affairs minister. Ghana became calm after that although years later, it emerged that some of the victims were not guilty.

 

In China and some other countries of the Far East, those found guilty of corruption, male or female, face the bullet. It does not matter if the act of stealing was done in or outside of government. As some say in Naija lingo, what is not good is bad.

 

I do not think the Rawlings treatment will work in Nigeria. This is because tribalism has so swallowed the brains of many that when you kill 20 Okoro and shoot 50 Adamu or execute 30 Olu and punish 10 Kyari, there will be protests.

 

Many Nigerians do not go after those responsible for the suffering in the land. They see stealing as a competition, or better still, a bazaar among the various nationalities. Even if the stolen wealth is shared by the crooks among themselves, people do not care.

 

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu may not like my style. Politicians have their hands tied through various commitments. The Economics and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has power to recover our stolen wealth. My guess is that only a ‘crazy’ Chairman can make a bold move.

 

Honestly, we had crooks in the First Republic and thieves in the Second Republic. The Military gave us Highway robbers. The Fourth Republic imposed job men, bandits, terrorists, ritualists and cultists on the polity. Put them all together, you have a gathering of criminals.

 

I do not think execution will help. If you shoot one looter, what happens to all the money stolen. It goes to his friends, family, concubines and maybe, foreign banks. Poverty remains with the people. The execution of armed robbers which began in 1971, has not stopped armed robbery.

 

If I had my way, I would invite all those who have been in government except the presidents, since 1999. I will excuse the presidents, to serve as deterrent. No leader dips his hand into the treasury without the help of civil servants.

 

All past Local Government Chairmen and Councillors will report at their respective State capitals. They will be given forms to fill and state voluntarily what they would be willing to return before investigations. Reasonable returns will guarantee freedom.

 

In the course of investigations, every cash and investment not stated in the forms would be automatically forfeited. Of course, there are many innocent politicians. The probe will determine and reward them with certificates of service.

 

All past State governors will be invited to the Federal Capital Territory. They will also be given forms to fill. Any accumulation they decide to forfeit on their own volition will be accepted. Whatever is deemed excess goes back to government.

 

Whatever a governor owned before assuming office belongs to the governor. My attention is on wealth acquired while in office. The truth is that any governor under investigation for squandering 10 billion naira or less can be forgiven.

 

We know how this thing works. That amount is used to run the political party of his choice, settle various demands from family, friends, known and unknown, and many corporate beggars who flood the governors’ homes and offices.

 

I will face ministries and money yielding agencies. All Permanent Secretaries, Executive Secretaries and Directors, will fill the same form. Voluntary return of excess wealth will be accepted. This mild approach, will yield more money, than execution.

 

Failure to comply with my directive, will attract the Bokassa Treatment. Anyone found guilty, will have one ear cut off. After that, convicts will be taken to their respective villages and places of residence and ordered to dance round, stark naked.

 

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