By Khalifa Ja’afar
Has bribe fees in Nigeria increased in this era of crusade against corruption? This is the first question i rhetorically asked after reading the following statement by the minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh published yesterday in Vanguard news paper, where he blamed officers and men of the Nigeria Police, Army and the Nigeria Customs Service at road blocks in the country for the skyrocketing prices of food items.
The assertion by Audu Ogbeh is very funny and disgracing! How does this situation concern security agencies? Why the Government officials always on the blame game upto the extent of blaming the police, army and customs for extortions. However, i don’t believe that the high cost of food stuffs is caused by extortion by the mentioned arms of Government because this extortion has been there Long before this Government came in. But what changed between two years ago and now? What I don’t understand here, is Audu Ogbeh trying to tell Nigerians that extortion started in 2015 becos food prices started rising upon Buharis emergence? Extortion is not there when bag of rice was N8,000? Extortion is not there when all the farm produce were affordable to common man? Did the extortion suddenly happen or suddenly increase, despite all the fight against corruption?
Please Audu Ogbeh, lets stop apportioning the blame game and fix Nigeria by applying the corrective measures as you promised during electioneering rather than blaming any for the skyrocketing prices of food items, because if you point one finger at the security agencies four fingers are pointing at you. Take it or leave it, you are the main cause of the high cost of foodstuffs not police, army or customs. For instance, fuel price was N97 per liter before you increased it to N145 per liter. Other petroleum products like diesel, kerosene and gas follow suits. The exchange rate of a dollar to naira before was N219. You started restricting dollars to manufacturers who rely on importation of raw materials to produce their goods. This led to scarcity of dollars and subsequent crash on the naira. Bag of fertilizer from 2500 to 10500. Further additions, avery country to progress must allow free trade. Most of the goods you place a ban on are not available in the country and, you didn’t create an empowerment program where Nigerians can acquire skills to produce goods locally but you are busy in banning foreign goods from coming into the country through the land borders in April 2016, which led to untold hardships on Nigerians as a bag of rice now sells for almost between N20,000 and N23,000 as against N8,000 last year.
The honourable minister, your administration therefore, should be blamed for the country’s economic predicament. The only option is to pray for almighty Allah for the best and never put blame, trust or hope on one person. I think that’s the only greatest problem we have as a Nigerians…
Allah ka ba shugaban mu Muhammadu Buhari lafiya…
Written by Khalifa Ja’afar