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Buried money

•Who owns the billions found in farmland?
Corruption is doing well in Nigeria and seems to be growing on fertile soil. Hear the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara: “If you look at the massive looting of the treasury, actually, I have been in government for quite some time, I never, never could have imagined the scale of corruption that we are witnessing, where people took lots of money running into billions and buried them in farms. As we speak, they are recovering monies from someone’s farm somewhere around Abuja. It is very unfortunate, where people stole money just for the sake of stealing.”

This thought-provoking corruption-related picture is so picturesque, and indeed captures a disturbing kleptomaniacal reality in the country’s power circle that is definitely unprogressive and anti-development. It is a picture of reckless and senseless materialism that is particularly tragic because it is anti-people.
When huge public money stolen from the public purse is tracked to a private farmland, it should prompt curious questions about the ownership of the land and the money. Obviously, burying money in the ground is suspicious enough, and when “money running into billions” is allegedly involved, suspicion of corruption is logical.
From the look of things, official corruption may have grown beyond public imagination.  Stupendous figures are regularly publicised in connection with corrupt figures and corrupt conduct, and it is clear that the country needs to act urgently against corruption. It is interesting that Dogara was quoted as saying: “If you were the one who was in charge of fighting corruption, you would have even been shocked by the scale of the problem. I guess part of the problem we have is that the scale of the problem far outweighs the anticipation of the agencies.”
Yes, it would appear that the problem is overwhelming. But the country must not be overwhelmed. It is noteworthy that President Muhammadu Buhari himself famously observed that if the country does not kill corruption, then corruption will kill the country.
The latest information concerning treasures of corruption hidden in secret places, in this case, a farm, certainly reinforces why the country must crush corruption in order to achieve socio-economic progress.  Dogara’s remarks deserve contemplation: “The process of doing that has become a subject of concern to some people. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is actually the agency, as we all know, that is in charge of this fight and if you look at what it has done so far, there is even a discussion as to whether they are proceeding in the right direction and whether it is not time for us to sit down and do an assessment of how the fight has been, in view of the fact that in the last one year I do not think there has been any major conviction.”
Dogara also noted:  ”And it has always been a case of this person has been arrested and detained and some things have been done or he has been charged to court and then the story ends there. Whether we will succeed in fighting corruption, if we continue in this way, only God knows. If the end is just to arrest people, charge them to court and, thereafter, nothing happens, no one is convicted; because conviction, even if you are not jailed, has a way of deterring people…But if I am just arrested, charged to court and maybe some money recovered from me and at the end of the day, nothing happens, a lot of people may not be deterred in the future from engaging in corrupt practices.”
So this matter of buried money should be pursued to a logical conclusion. In the final analysis, the anti-corruption campaign requires focused action, and will not be successful if it does not go beyond rhetoric. We need to know the owner of the farm as well as the money. This is important.