CBN, AGF: Mother of all racketeerings in governance
There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt… Fairness is better than charity. In the absence of fairness, charity carries the whiff of a scam. John Adam in The Divide, 145 – 257.
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor and the Attorney General of the federation are leading in getting Nigeria enslaved and conquered as they indulge in scamish charity, and dare Nigerians to do their worst. These are expected to be the two most trust-image upholder of a nation. In France their Attorney General is known as “le Guard des Sceaux” – the person who keeps the stamps and seals that validate all transactions on behalf of the nation. Even their Central Bank governor must hear from him before validating any financial transaction as lamented by Marine Le Pen who lost election to Emmanuel Macron claiming that French legal system stopped her from obtaining loan from Russia.
Even President Biden of USA dare not twist the arms of the Federal Reserve Board as he is expected, as the President, to convince the Board on how he intends to tackle inflation that is hitting double digit in USA, and not to expect the Board to throw away money anyhow like Nigeria’s CBN is doing. And what is interesting about the USA’s case is that baby formula to feed babies is lacking on the shelves of stores as if Anti abortion bill protesters or lobbyists are at work. Domestic production is to be greatly enabled to curb inflation and not the Nigerian CBN type of allowing the forex reserve to deplete in the name of curbing inflation which is quite caused by naira bills production via foreign contract process, waivers of all sorts of import duties, forex allocation privileges, etc.
For sure, the CBN governor knows the people siphoning or laundering money in Nigeria as the Accountant General that ought to be the one reconciling Nigeria’s debt both domestic and foreign ones is even neck deep in pilfering the treasury he was supposed to protect, and of course, it gives leeway to the CBN governor to be both in charge of domestic and forex economic policy making.
How would an Accountant General and Attorney General whose signatures must be seen before Nigeria’s resources are frittered away be the ones involved in frittering the resources?
All litigations that involve Nigeria are mostly scam prone like the ones that got Nigeria to incur fines known by both the Accountant General and the Attorney General that ought to be avoided. Recently the Attorney General allowed the C in C to come out and state that he had negotiated for Nigeria to have more continental shelve space (that is by Law of the Sea Convention of UN) as if the United Nations just granted sea shore space in jiffy as reported, and no one was telling the Attorney General that he was taking Nigerians for a ride.
Waking up to the knowledge of a convention initiated in 1982, that came to force in 1994 that gives each nation within the coast 22 km, that is 12 nautical miles beyond its coast and if proved capable of establishing Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), could be extended to 370km does not mean you got UN to approve it without show of capacity. Nigeria is not even capable of manning its own territory land or sea, beyond what French navy, Switzerland operations and Chinese pirate ships interfere with as both Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Angola lay better claim to Nigeria’s own portion, and the pilfering of Nigerian crude in high or shallow seas says it all.
In 2009, the Senate of Nigeria made claims to UN, and for sure the current Attorney General must have capitalised on it to fritter away Nigerian resources claiming he got more concession of continental shelves for Nigeria. He should tell us how much of forex he spent in doing that.
In effect it devalues the worth of Nigerian lawyers and other professionals who ought to known better like ASUU has remained undaunted telling Nigerians that there is a great scam going on in Nigeria and people are not waking up to their responsibility to ask questions and stop further devaluation of the Nigerian person.
As a Professor, this month of May 2022, I was in front of a hotel that is not worth even a status of a research assistant in Boston with French and Japanese students trying to book for an accommodation and my card failed. The French student and the Japanese students acknowledged the fact that they were also having debit card like me and even if theirs were to fail, the hotel was ready to accommodate them but not me.
I was somehow ashamed and I asked them why. They told me that their experience shows that the French student can easily withdraw $1500 a day and that the Japanese can withdraw $3,000 a day and that mine entitles me to only $100 a day. It made me reflect about my presence one day in Dubai and I was told that Nigerians who wanted to buy apartments or houses in Dubai are entitled to $80,000. And indeed a lady working with Chase who wanted to do that for me was so much disappointed when I couldn’t provide that in Nigeria in my account as she said she was ready to convert it to dollars, my ATM card in naira notwithstanding.
In all these experiences, my mind went to CBN, and it stroke me that CBN is in deed in charge of giving Nigerians the financial worth it deemed fit for them. Furthermore, I reasoned that, it might be as a function of Nigeria’s Forex reserve value; also because when they say in CBN that the “fundamentals” are good, it does not go beyond the minimalist of watching out the daily reserve value of Nigeria’s foreign reserve. And all Nigerian banks that operate abroad know that. Then it seems to be the reason why a Japanese student could enjoy $3,000 a day as Japanese reserve stood at $1.2 trillion and the French could enjoy $1,500 as French reserve stood at $60.5 billion whereas Nigeria’s reserve stood below $40 billion. Counting gold reserve for France, theirs stood above $1trillion.
And Nigerian legislators’ wives as well as Governors’ wives celebrating birthdays in Dubai or even the CBN governor’s acolytes celebrating parties with him in tax haven countries of Caribbean Island are all foreign resource depleting luxury pleasures. Even the Attorney General can boast of giving out Mercedes Benz and intends to give out more as if he is entitled to have the Forex quota of China, the biggest reserve country with over $3trillion in its credit. If it had been China, as the most trusted functionary, firing squad will be his lot.
Imagine Kebbi or Keffi or even Kouroufi – land of the sacred in Mandingo mythology – becoming the land of bandits as its elites turn them uneducated and almajiri prone, as if every person that migrated from the Mandingo lands to Nigeria becomes evil. The Attorney General must aim at repairing such image as against making it worse.
Nigerians should stand up against them; and as declared by someone in the gathering of women rights group, led by Salihu Amina, Nigerians do not deserve what they are suffering in the hands of these expected trusted persons manning the Central Bank, Ministry of Justice and Accountant General of the Federation. They should be probed and, if found wanting, assuage Nigerians by keeping them out of circulation. They are enemies of Nigeria and must be arrested.
Ariole, is Professor of French and Francophone Studies, University of Lagos.