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One ‘Vampire’ down, many roaming State Houses, By Emmanuel Onwubiko

By News Express on 20/03/2017

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•Emmanuel Onwubiko.
•Emmanuel Onwubiko.

The following was how the typical Nigerian media sensationally reported the gunning to death of one of Nigeria’s most-celebrated notorious crime warlords, known by his alias of ‘Vampire.’

 “The notorious kidnapper, Henry Chibueze, also known as, ‘Vampire’ who escaped from prison custody on January 27,2017, when some gunmen believed to be his gang members stormed the Owerri High Court in Imo State and rescued him, killing two persons while many others sustained bullet wounds, has been killed in a gun duel with the police.

“Vanguard gathered that the 30-year-old suspect, met his Waterloo around 1:30am today (March 2, 2017), when operatives from the Inspector-General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team, IRT, who were deployed to Imo State, by the IGP, Ibrahim Idris, to track down Vimpaire and other members of his gang, trailed him to his hide-out in Omu-Awa forest in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State.”

The Police in Imo State also gave out what they say are the crimes of the late 'Vampire', which included the allegations that his gang masterminded the killing of 200 persons. Gruesomely evil, as these crimes are, there is, perhaps, one reason he was typically named vampire - because he feasted on bloodsheds.   

The dare-devilry of this criminal vampire resembles how a scientist, Gerald S. Wilkinson, in his book, Food sharing in vampire bats, describes the feeding pattern of the creature known as vampire. 

“At night, long after most visual predators have stopped prowling, vampire bats emerge from their roots and take to the wing, flying low across the landscape in search of warm-blooded prey. Within an hour or two, having found appropriate victims and fed on their blood, the bats return to the roost to sleep, feed their young and interact with nest-mates.

“Until recently, little was known about either the behavior or the life history of the common vampire bat, desmodus rotundus. For many years, biologists were more interested in the animal’s physiology than in its social organisation, which was thought to be relatively simple. 

“A number of recent studies, however, reveal that vampire bats are remarkably social: females cluster together during the day, but at night re-sort themselves, creating a fluid social organisation that is maintained for many years. Moreover, it is now known that long-term associations among females enable bats to regurgitate blood to one another on a regular basis and so significantly increase their chances of survival.”  

Now that we have seen how the criminal gangster known as vampire and the real vampire bats feed, there’s still a species of vampire that has even taken over political powers at all levels in Nigeria and are still calling the shots- political vampires.

Politically exposed vampires are those persons that the late music legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, called ‘animals in human skin’ or those identified in the scriptures as ‘wolves in sheep’s clothes’. Some of these vampires have had the misfortune of being elevated as governors and ministers in Nigeria; and they actively contributed to the demolition of our national economy through coordinated brigandage, bureaucratic corruption, political corruption outright economic crimes and other heinous crimes against humanity whose negative impacts include collapse of basic infrastructures in the educational, health and road sectors, leading concomitantly to the slaughter, in needless circumstances, of millions of our citizens. A lot of these political vampires are already being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for monumental heist of public fund.  Again, a professorial writer took time to document some characteristics of these political vampires, both past and present. 

He wrote: “Bureaucratic corruption manifests in a variety of situations in the public service, particularly when officials use their positions to obtain undeserved favour, either from members of the public or from public funds under their control.” 

He cited examples: “Thus, when former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and vice-president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, were indicted for unlawful withdrawals and embezzlement of funds belonging to the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), it was a good case of this type of corruption. 

“In similar vein, when the members of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Telecommunications indicted the Director-General of Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), for deliberately withholding issuance of operating license to Nigeria Communication Satellite Limited (NIG-COMSAT), even when former president Olusegun Obasanjo had given the necessary approval, it was seen as an act of  bureaucratic corruption. Just as when former governors of Abia State (Dr Orji Uzor Kalu), Jigawa State (Alhaji Saminu Turaki), Enugu State (Dr Chimaroke Nnamani), Plateau State (Chief Joshua Dariye) and Bayelsa State (DSP Alamieyeseigha) were arraigned in various Federal High Courts for embezzlement of their state funds, constitute manifestations of this type of corruption.”

Dr  Ben O Igwenyi, MON, in The Crime of Corruption in Nigeria: Laws, Issues and Solutions, also wrote:  “These acts of corruption in this domain often arise from award of contracts, mostly for unviable projects; kickbacks for all manner of services; collusion; procumbent fraud; nepotism and favoritism which lower standards; personal use of official and government secrets; any improper use of position; deceit by officials to obtain favour; preparation of fake proposals and outright stealing of all manner of government property, either alone or in agreement with others in the same establishment.”

Igwenyi’s take on corruption completely captures my submission that although most Nigerians are reportedly happy that one variant of the human vampire that used to be among us in Imo State has found his Waterloo, courtesy of the bravery of some men of Nigerian police operatives who trailed him to an evil forest in Rivers State and terminated his life, during what was said to be an exchange of gunfire. There’s much more to worry about since a lot of political vampires are masquerading about as political office-holders, and are busy stealing from the people. 

As acting president, Vice-President Yemi Osinbanjo, who is also a professor of law, had only recently identified corrupt politicians as the bane of our development as a nation and the creators of the economic adversities facing Nigerians. Ironically, he made this statement on the day the news filtered in that the crook called ‘Vampire’ was gunned down by the Police. 

On the same day, the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, was quoted as saying that politicians loot public treasuries because they are administered the oath of office as Moslems or Christians with the holy books of both religions; but that they couldn't have the courage to steal if they are to be sworn-in using the symbols of African traditional religions. His excuse is that the organised religion has a provision for repentance, if a looter confesses, but that under the African traditional religions, it is an “eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” 

So, Nigerians who are rejoicing over the killing of an insignificant vampire must realise that so many of those they elected into offices in politics are worst predators than the notorious armed robber and kidnapper known as ‘Vampire’, who has just been taken care of by the Police.

How do you explain that, for instance, in each yearly budget, the money budgeted for the feeding of the first family in the State House, Abuja, can be used to feed nearly one hundred families each from the 36 states of the federation and Abuja. Yet, only the privileged political class in Abuja benefits from the statutory appropriation yearly. Other Nigerians simply die from usually curable ailments like water-borne diseases, because public healthcare is non-existent, whereas the President travels to the best Western hospitals in Europe to consult doctors. 

Dear Nigerians, as you clap hands for the policemen that did the unthinkable by destroying the notorious armed robber, ‘Vampire’ who  killed over 200 people, but remember that millions of Nigerians die from road accidents and criminal violence brought caused by lack of functional roads network and an effective security architecture in Nigeria.

 So, until these political vampires in Nigeria, some of who steal from internally displaced persons, are destroyed and Nigeria made great, we have no reason to be happy that one vampire is down and buried, when we still have hundreds of political vampires busy looting our resources even as I write

Onwubiko is National Coordinator of Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA). He blogs;

Source News Express

Posted 20/03/2017 08:39:24 AM


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