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Are they true?  

In these days of fake-news and its twin brother, hate-speech, it is wise for one to take precautions because as our people would say, nkwucha abuhu ujo (taking precaution is not a sign of cowardice). There are some stories I have been reading in recent times and to be on the safe side, I just want to ask everybody and nobody in particular whether there is any truth in them. I am particularly expecting the confirmation of the minister of information, who is the author and finisher of fake news and allied matters. Here we go.

In the past one week, the story has been making the rounds about how the new $22.7 billion loan recently approved for the government (not for we the people) would be utilised. The sharing formula as reported is: North Central, $6.5 billion; North West, $6.4 billion; SouthSouth, $4.3 billion; General (which one be dat?), $5.9 billion; North East, $300 million; South West, $200 million; South East, $000000000!

Is it true that the money borrowed on our behalf and which all of us will repay is to be shared like this?  Is it possible? How can North Central, North West and “General” take 70% of the money? When did South-South join the list of the “oppressors”?  And, particularly, is it true that the South East will not get anything out of it; a loan borrowed by the federation and which the federation would repay? What exactly is happening?

The other day, I heard about the National Agency for the Education, Rehabilitation, De-radicalisation and Integration of Repentant Insurgents in Nigeria’ sponsored by Senator Ibrahim Geideam representing Yobe East. The proposed agency will be funded from the Universal Basic Education Commission and the Tertiary Education Trust Fund and the repentant Bokos will among other things be entitled to foreign education. The Chibok community, Bring Back Our Girls movement, and the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, have spoken against all or some aspects of the proposed law. But I have other concerns. How can we give foreign education for people who so loathed western education that it is a fundamental part of their ideology (western education is evil)? Foreign education for people who never attended even nursery school before? How can this foreign education be imparted and acquired? However, my question is… Is this true?

Sometimes ago, I heard that our magnanimous government awarded contract for a rail line to Maradi in Niger Republic. In a situation where there are no rail-lines to Onitsha and Nnewi or even to Igbo-Ukwu, my place of birth, I wondered why the rail to Mararadi should be a priority. Just the other day, I also heard that N30 billion has been approved for roads to (or in) Niger Republic. I have read and re-read the story and the latest version is that the roads would just stop at the border of Niger republic. I hope it stops just at the border but as in other cases here, I ask: is it true?  Are the roads in Niger or just at the Niger border? Why this interest in Niger republic? And by the way, is this true?

I also heard that a former presidential aspirant (of which party), Alhaji Adamu Garba had proudly declared that the Almajiri system is the culture, pride and honour of the north. I do not want to mutilate his views and as such I represent verbatim “Almajiranci is our pride and our honour. Yes! we agreed that the program should be reformed but it should not be condemned. No sane society will destroy its culture but seek to reform,” All advanced countries value their heritage, why not us? “It’s God’s destiny that children are birthed to their specific parents & it’s their responsibility to shape the vision of who their child might grow to be. “They chose Almajiranci. The want their children to profess Quran, how is that a crime? “They’re also Nigerians with choice.” Did he actually say this? Is he aware that the Kano State government has just banned street begging, which has become synonymous with the almajiri system? And by the way, where are his children… NOW?  On the streets or in some exclusive schools in Nigeria or abroad?

I also heard that a Nigerian pastor David Kingleo Elijah, General Overseer of Mount of Possibility Church, Ojo, Lagos, has vowed to go to China to destroy the deadly Coronavirus. He boisterously declared that “I am going to China to go and deal with Coronavirus. I am going to prophetically destroy Corona Virus. The fact that he still calls it Corona Virus, instead of COVID-19, shows the extent to which he has grasp of current affairs and events. But did he actually say so? And does he need to go to China when we now have some cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria. However, like the other issues above, I ask; is it true?

I have not commented on these issues. I just wat to confirm if they bare TRUE before making my comments because I don’t want anybody to accuse me of spreading fake news or hate speech, both of which have been declared the greatest danger to the Nigerian nation. Please, are they true?

Other Matters: Quick-quick loans; caveat emptor!

On 24/1/2020, I received a rather strange message from my bankers at Access Bank: “Need quick cash? Payday loan is here for you. No collateral; no paper work. Dial *901*11#”. Few days later, they improved the message and added “no wahala”.

On 5/2/2020, they upped the ante and offered a “lightening deal” of 2 percent cash-back if I took the payday loan, urging me and a thousand and one others, to hurry up while the offer lasted. I am still planning to hit *901*11# to get started. Before then, there have been these enticing advertisements and announcements from RenMoney, Page Financials and others, urging us to borrow as much as N5 million, within minutes, by mere phone calls, without collaterals, without any headache and indeed just for the asking and just like that! I have been wondering whether this is happening in this same Nigeria where banks would ask for your great-grand-father’s guarantee, a testimonial from your primary school headmaster and probably a resolution of your village witches before granting any type and any amount of facility.

 I have not commented on these issues. I just wat to confirm if they bare TRUE before making my comments because I don’t want anybody to accuse me of spreading fake news or hate speech, both of which have been declared the greatest danger to the Nigerian nation

I need to try one of them, to confirm that these are indeed real-life offers but before then, let’s take a trip into the history of Nigerian moviedom. In the first Nollywood Movie, “Living in Bondage”, Andy (Kenneth Okonkwo) was lured into sacrificing his wife as a precondition for joining a secret society, in his quest to become a “big boy”. When the chips were down and he started seeing the other side of the coin, he regretted, rather late in the day, that “Paulo akowasilolu M ifea ofuma” (Paulo did not fully explain this thing to me). Why are these financial operators adopting Paulo’s tactics in these amazing quick-loan offers? What is the T&Cs that will surely apply and why would they not make it explicitly clear to everybody?

Some of these loans are to be serviced from the borrower’s salary or other sure sources of income.  How feasible is this in our environment, in which an employer (from whom repayment will surely come) can close shop overnight due to one ill-conceived government policy? How many trailers are lined with goods along Nigeria borders due to the border closure policy and how many have lost their jobs due to the ban on e-hailing executive okada by the Lagos State government. How will those who offered quick loan to those involved recoup their money? For the lenders, our elders say that giving water to the monkey is not a problem; the main problem is how to retrieve your cup from him, as he jumps from one tree to another!

For the borrower, the BOOK warns that the borrower will always be a servant of the lender (Proverbs, 22;7), who will go as far as seizing his bed if and when he defaults (Proverbs, 22:27). Debts also become addictive; it becomes an opium to which the borrower becomes hooked and cannot escape. To both parties, the advice of Shakespeare (Hamlet,1:3) is germane; neither a borrower nor a lender be. When a cock starts running after you first thing in the morning, the first thing is to FLEE because you do not know if it had developed some biting capabilities the night before. When people who did everything to frustrate your loan-requests, suddenly start laying red carpet for you to come and borrow, the wisest thing to do is to flee. If you will not flee, then stop and THINK.

My final word to the borrowers is Caveat emptor; as for the lenders, I hope they know what they are doing.

 

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