S C O O P (1)

There appears to be a conspiracy between the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Research Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). They keep churning out statistics, data and projections that are deeply troubling.

Let us first debunk the conspiracy theory which, according to Dean Haglund, deserves a decent burial: “The beauty of any conspiracy theory is that because it can’t be proved, that just makes it more “real.” It’s not a question of believing or not believing, really; it’s more a question of just accepting a series of probabilities that lead to an undeniable conclusion.”

The Nigerian government has published a long list of conspirators. Twitter (Treason!!)

· BBC and CNN (over End#SARS) and Lekki Toll Gate and more recently

· Wall Street Journal

· and The Economist.

The unbiased and the more discerning prefer courage to conspiracy or cowardice. Adam Schiff the author of “Midnight In Washington” summed it all up: “Courage is contagious, so also is cowardice (and conspiracy).”

While we are united in grief over what has become of our nation, we can take solace in Abstractions, Sequencing, Logic, and, Argument

Nevertheless, it was the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), which really stirred the hornet’s nest with the publication of a report on its front page, on 17th October, 2021, which alleged that the Nigerian Air Force had paid bandits the equivalent of $50,000 in exchange for weapons (anti-aircraft gun) that had been seized from the Nigerian military.

Apparently, the bandits had conspired and hatched a plan to gun down the aircraft of the President of Nigeria who was scheduled to travel to his country home/farm (in Katsina State) to celebrate Eid el Maulud. The specifications were provided in graphic details with a 12.7 calibre anti-aircraft gun. The money was hand delivered not by DHL or UPS but by “unknown soldiers” while “the leader of the terrorists sipped tea and his boys dismantled the seized weapons for onward return.”

Apart from slagging off the Nigerian army as “mighty on paper” but weak on the ground with an army!! of ghost workers, it accused the Nigerian military of selling arms and ammunition to the same terrorists it is supposed to be fighting

What followed in rapid succession was “The Economist” magazine special edition that was massively advertised before publication on October 23, 2021 with the attention grabbing title: “Nigeria: The crime scene capital of Africa”

The magazine, which has been around for almost one hundred and twenty years, took Nigeria to the cleaners. It did not pull any punches.

Apart from slagging off the Nigerian army as “mighty on paper” but weak on the ground with an army!! of ghost workers, it accused the Nigerian military of selling arms and ammunition to the same terrorists it is supposed to be fighting. Conspiracy and treachery!!.

The Nigerian Police was given an extra dose of the same medicine: “… poorly trained, understaffed, under-paid and involved in the robbery of innocent Nigerians to augment salaries.”

Perhaps Nigerians need to be reminded of a Swahili proverb: “Brothers love each other when they are equally rich”

Instead of creating wealth, all we are sharing are grim statistics. Here is a report from the front page of “ThisDay” newspaper of May 30, 2021: “The travails of our present times are daunting. Very daunting indeed. The truth is that our country is at war. We have been fighting enemies, seen and unseen. We began with the seen. They could be fought with tanks and bullets. Then the unseen crept up on us. It crept in cladded in the camouflage of some deadly mutating virus (poverty, ignorance and impunity). Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos State.

On the same day, the front page of Sunday Punch newspaper carried the following report: “My wives ran away after one governor infected me with Covid-19 – el-Rufai”

Read also: Is Nasir el-Rufai among the prophets?

“Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State on Saturday recalled how he contracted the dreaded Covid-19 from a fellow governor in 2020.

El-Rufai, while speaking at the seventh Ahmadu Bello Foundation lecture in Kaduna on Saturday, also said no fewer than 50,000 people would have been killed by the virus last year if a lockdown had not been imposed.

The governor had, on March 26, 2020, imposed a lockdown on Kaduna, following the outbreak of the disease and partially lifted it on June 9, 2020, after 75 days.

According to him, he spent 26 days in isolation, adding that even his wives ran away from him.

The lecture tagged ‘Covid-19: Way forward for Northern Nigeria economy,’ was organised by the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation.

El-Rufai said, “A governor infected me with Covid-19 virus and I brought it to Kaduna. I was locked up for 26 days. My wives ran away from me. Fifty thousand people in Kaduna would have died of Covid-19 last year, but for the fact that Kaduna State was the first to lock down.

“I am happy to say because of Covid-19, we have been able to put in place infectious disease wards in our hospitals. People travel around the world so there may be ‘Covid-25’ or 30. With what is happening in India, the situation is scary. But God has been very kind to us.”

Emphasising the need for the North to improve on the quality of its leaders, the governor argued that 60 years after the demise of the late Sarduana of Sokoto and premier of the defunct Northern region, Sir Ahmadu Bello, the region had yet to have a leader like him (Sarduana).

According to the governor, the late premier of the North remained the best leader the region had ever produced.

He noted that the North must produce leaders that cared for the people, adding that there was the need to provide jobs for the North before the 500 million estimated population of Nigeria by the year 2050.”

The same newspaper carried another report about Kaduna on its front page: “We sold properties to raise N180m ransom, bought motorbikes for our children’s kidnappers” – Parents of newly freed Kaduna students

Also competing for space was another headline: “Illegal oil deals: FG to expose officials behind $69bn loot in American banks”

· Anti-graft agencies to trace bank details of suspected government officials.

The front page of “The Guardian” newspaper of May 30, 2021 was devoted to a big bold headline: “Concerns over alleged re-looting of over $1.5bn Abacha booty”

What awaited readers of “Daily Trust” newspapers on May 30, 2021 was the following piece of shock therapy.

Headline: “Master’s degree holder-turned scavenger gets support

“Following a Daily Trust interview with Yazid Surajo, a young Nigerian who opted to go into scavenging despite having a master’s degree, an Instagram group with more than 200 followers is set to support him to improve his business.

The leader of the Instagram group known as ‘Hausa Room’ told Daily Trust that the group was raising funds to assist the young man to stand on his feet and at the same time create more opportunities for other young Nigerians.

The platform, Hausa Room on Instagram, it was gathered, was purposely opened to discuss contemporary issues and problems facing people most especially, females in Northern Nigeria.

“We want more people to participate in donating so that we will raise at least one million because we only have four hundred thousand at hand”, the platform leader said.

Daily Trust had earlier published the story of Yazid Surajo a young Nigerian with a master’s degree who chose to do menial jobs rather than stay idle, waiting for a white-collar job.”

On November 15, 2021, “The Punch” newspaper delivered yet another scoop on its front page.

Headline: “Edo junior wife stabs husband to death, aids lover’s escape during six romp”

“A man simply identified as Abdulateef has been allegedly stabbed to death by his wife after the deceased caught her with a man on their matrimonial bed.

The incident was said to have occurred at 3am on Sunday in Jattu, Etsako West Local Government of Edo State.

The PUNCH gathered that the woman stabbed the deceased to death when he came home at about 3am and met a man with her in their bedroom.

A source said, “The deceased had two wives who used to live with him but he had to rent an apartment for his first wife in a different location to allow peace to reign while staying with the junior one in his house.

“The deceased used to visit the first wife and spend the night there. But the junior wife was said to have been bringing another man to her matrimonial home anytime the husband spends the night in the first wife’s apartment.”

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