Posted by News Express | 26 March 2020 | 1,901 times
Many of Nigeria’s 17,500 public officers and their families may be living with Coronavirus, the International Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law (Intersociety) has said. The group in a statement issued on Wednesday in Onitsha, Eastern Nigeria, based its submission on the propensity for foreign travel by Nigeria’s ruling class and their family members.
“It is widely believed that the true state of the Coronavirus particularly among the returnee ruling class and their families and associates in Nigeria is not being reported as it is. The country’s public institutions including its Center for Disease Control are hardly independent and lack capacity to operate without Government interference or political influence.
“These are in addition to the present Government censorship and gagging of the civil space. If 35 federal legislators in the country who recently returned from their foreign trip jamboree in some highly vulnerable or highly Coronavirus infected or exposed countries could refuse to submit themselves for proper tests, what else is needed to prove the vulnerability of the country’s ruling class to the dreaded and deadly virus? This is not to talk of their children, wives and other close relatives or associates who have been living permanently in the Coronavirus highly infected countries,” Intersociety said in the statement signed by its five principal officers: Emeka Umeagbalasi, Head of the Organization, Chinwe Umeche, Esq., Head of Democracy & Good Governance, Obianuju Igboeli, Esq., Head of Civil Liberties & Rule of Law, Ndidiamaka Bernard, Esq., Head of Int’l Justice & Human Rights and Comrade Sam Kamanyaoku, Head of Field Data Collection & Documentation.
According to the rights group, “The case of Gov Bala Muhammed of Bauchi and Atiku Abubakar’s son and President Buhari’s Chief of Staff and three of his staff, etc, is just the tip of the iceberg. That is to say that if proper checks and tests are conducted in Nigeria, the number of the infected persons is not only most likely to be in thousands, but will be dominant among the country’s ruling class or 17,500 top public office holders and their families. Further breakdown may most likely indicate that the key federal executives (ministers, permanent secretaries, heads of departments and agencies and top military, police, paramilitary and other security officers) and their state counterparts and federal and state elected officers including lawmakers, presidency and governors, deputy governors and their families will take the lion’s share of the infected persons. It is therefore likely correct to say that members of the Nigerian ruling or political class are now the ‘major depositors and distributors’ of the Coronavirus in Nigeria.”
Below are parts of the statement:
“For the first time since 1998 or past 22 years, most, if not all the key public office holders in Nigeria have been forced by the pandemic to stay at home. By the provisions of the Remunerations or Salaries & Allowances of certain top Public Office Holders Act of 2002, as amended, Nigeria and its three tiers of federal, state and local government is governed by 17,500 elected and appointed key public office holders; comprising 11,788 local government councilors, chairmen and deputy chairmen, 469 federal and 1,152 state lawmakers, a president and a vice president.
“There are also 72 governors and their deputies, 172 federal top judicial officers and about 372 top state judicial officers, 43 federal ministers and heads of 469 federal ministries, departments and agencies, senior military, police, paramilitary and other security officers and over 2,700 top state executives including special advisers, commissioners and permanent secretaries, etc.
“It is on record that 1998 was the year Nigeria was removed from regional and international isolationism following the commitment of the Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar led military Government to return Nigeria to civil rule. During the regional and international isolation, Nigerian military leaders and their civilian appointees were bared and isolated regionally and internationally particularly by the ‘west’ and South Africa.
“But following the return to civil rule in late May 1999, Nigerian leaders let loose, abandoned the country and its governance including fixing the country’s key infrastructures and social services and relocated to the developed and other fast developing countries which became ‘their second homes’ and ‘paradises’ on earth. The country’s non debt resources got so grossly mismanaged, lavished, wasted and siphoned since 1999 that its leaders till date have resorted to deepening the country into ‘borrowing economy’ whereby loans of alarming proportions with malicious interest rates and other criminal conditions are secured yearly and squandered on profligacy and frivolities; thereby leaving the country in tatters and quandary.
“In the past 22 years till date, none of the 17,500 key public office holders including those who served before them is locatable or met in office for one month without having him or she traveled abroad for leisure and pleasure. Some have gone to the extent of relocating and operating from ‘their abroad residences or hotels’; flying in and out to work. Electioneering is the only time some of them particularly the elected are seen around after which they disappear or retire to same ‘paradises’ across borders. When barely seen in the country, they would ring themselves and their family members with thousands of armed public security personnel so as to ward off citizens’ anger and resentment over their colossal failure in office.
“They also prepare ‘paradises’ for their wives, children and other relatives and associates in Europe, USA, Canada, the Gulf and China where they enjoy luxury including best education, healthcare and social facilities; all maintained with the country’s taxpayers funds. These they have been doing in the past 20 years till date-thereby leaving their country and states in tatters. Today, thanks to ‘CONVID-19’, for the first time since 1998, most, if not all Nigerian leaders or political actors or members of the ruling class have been chased back home. They have been forced to return to the hell they created or built back home; all thanks to Coronavirus.
“No signs of government remedial packages to contain Coronavirus
“Other than verbal directives for partial shutdown of schools and Government institutions and restriction of movements, there are no signs of Government provision of remedial packages or interventions. Government both federal and state is so insensitive that preventive and precautionary therapies and kits sold at open markets have recoded gallop increases with same Government turning a blind eye. For instance, a carton of facemasks sold at N10,000 to N14,000 in January 2020 is now sold at N80,000 and above. The prices of sanitizers and chloroquine have also increased by 400% and upwards. The investigation into the above was carried out by Intersociety on 23rd and 24th March 2020 at the Onitsha Tools & Allied and Drug Markets. This is just to cite but few.
“Has Coronavirus quarantined the Birnin Gwari ‘bandits’, Boko Haram and Herdsmen Jihadists?
“Average of six Christians was hacked to death daily between Jan and Feb 2020. The killings, with high casualty rates continued into the first week of March but got drastically scaled down from the second week of March; making the month of March in the end likely to record the lowest death rate in the area of killing of Christians; all thanks to ‘CONVID-19’. In all, the month of March 2020 will be ending with maximum of 40 Christian deaths mostly recorded in its first week as against average of 175 Christian deaths for Jan and Feb 2020.
“In the words of the then Brig Gen Paul Kagame during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide “the massacre has scaled down not because of changing of heart but because there are few people left to be killed”. Indeed, ‘Coronavirus’ has proved to be defensively deadlier than the combined forces and death machines of Boko Haram/ISWAP, Jihadist Herdsmen and ‘Birnin Gwari Bandits’ and their religo-political sponsors. Today, the Kaduna-Birnin Gwari Road and others have been deserted with no citizens on sight to be abducted; likewise BH/ISWAP and Jihadist Herdsmen who have also been ‘quarantined’ or cocooned by ‘the pandemic weapon of mass destruction’-called “Coronavirus”, nicknamed CONVID-19.”
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