Monday, October 15, 2007

Corruption: Comparing America To Nigeria

Thursday, 06 January 2005
I abhor corruption in America and in Nigeria; I equally abhor corruption in wherever else it takes place. But corruption in America and Nigeria bear the element of personal deprivations as a consequence to me, directly; Corruption scourge possess debilitating effects and dire consequences. Corruption deprives the world of resources needed to make human life on earth, better than, as we currently know it.

Incidence of corruption, wherever, and whenever it appears, interferes with human development and advancement, corruption should be fought, relentlessly and zealously, it should be decimated and eliminated completely. The ill-effects of corruption is probably more glaringly stark, in developing countries, countries, which are in the first place, in dire need of resources for development and advancement, we must nevertheless point to corruptions everywhere, at home and abroad, even though Nigeria is the center of our universe.

It must be stated that corruption is an equal opportunity offense, committed by persons of multiple variables of different classes, races, religions or nationalities. Corruption is therefore better examined as a scourge and phenomenon of universal proportions and clearly with global ramifications and repercussions to all human developmental efforts. The United Nations recognizes the universality of corruption, hence the UN declared an international war on corruption and established a day for annual observance of the battle to tackle, defeat and remove corruption from the world.

Nigeria is a signatory to the United Nations International Convention and declaration against corruption, America, unlike Nigeria have refused to become part of the global war against corruption, America has neglected and refused to be a signatory to this lofty UN convention, America has not ratified this UN obligation. Does America have reservation about fighting corruption? Can anyone imagine Nigeria refusing to sign on, this anti corruption campaign by the United Nations?

On the contrary, to fight corruption in Nigeria, the government enacted statutes, established several commissions and panels, as a direct consequence of government’s realization of the impact and magnitude posed by corrupt practices and how corrupt practices sap resources for Nigeria’s needed development and advancement.

Despite these laudable efforts by the federal government of Nigeria, efforts, which have culminated in the enactments of new statutes, and more vigorous implementations of old statutes, including the statute with the now famous section 419, made famous by its use in the pursuit of scam artists or scammers of the wire fraud genre, particularly those with a bent on e-mail and letter scams. And despite the establishment of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission or ICPC and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission or EFCC, among others, by the Nigerian federal government, outrageous and outlandish criticism of Nigeria continues!

There are many efforts geared towards the elimination and eradication of corruption in Nigeria, but scandalous criticisms continues to be piled at the doorsteps of Nigeria and the Nigerian federal government, regarding an effective war on corruption, especially the letter and e-mail scams; This, even in the face of, multiple pronged efforts, which have resulted in countless arrests and prosecutions of scammers and others, engaged in corrupt practices, there are those who have been indicted and or tried, include serving federal ministers and a state governor! Regardless of these valiant efforts, Nigeria continues to be the butt of every dinner jokes in many places. This unyielding attitude on the part of critics of Nigeria leaves bad taste in any decent mouth. Could and should Nigeria do more to eradicate corruption? Sure!

Nigeria, certainly cannot be expected to pursue criminals without recourse to due process and the rule of law, just in order to please or impress the critics, critics who appear to lack interests in the corruption fighting efforts of Nigerian government, critics who seem to lack interest in the facts and evidence of corruption outside of Nigeria, or the particular refusal by the United States participate in the UN global war on corruption. Must Nigeria prescribe the death penalty or prison without trials for scammers, before Nigeria’s efforts are recognized?

Nigeria punished drug dealers, of cocaine, opium etc in the 1980s with public executions through a retroactive legislation, part because Nigeria needed to stop the connection by some Nigerians with global narcotics trade, part because Nigerian government wanted to impress the world, particularly, those who had accused Nigeria of being “the” harbor and refuge of narcotics-traffickers, and all sorts of sanctions were imposed on Nigeria even thereafter, even though, Afghanistan and Colombia, two countries whose farmers plant and harvest coca pulps, the main ingredients for cocaine, were never so sanctioned, instead, Afghanistan and Colombia were given great amounts of monies, military hardware and supported by US Intelligence and military training and equipments.

Afghanistan and Colombia farmers grow coca as main cash-crops, Nigeria was labeled, castigated and punished endlessly, Nigeria that does not grow coca or produce the supporting ancillaries or admixtures of refining chemicals for narcotics! I begin to see similarities between the drug trade and corruption, and the disparities visited upon Nigeria. This is, surely not a defense of corruption, crime and criminals, but why was Nigeria punished so severely regarding narcotics trade, while Afghanistan and Colombia were receiving cooperation from countries whose citizens demand and consume cocaine?

After September 11, 2001, America and Europe were quick to freeze and embargo monies and resources in their banks, that belonged to anyone suspected of terrorism or anyone or even charities with Muslim names, these freezing of accounts and placements of embargoes were carried out so swiftly and perhaps, arguably, so arbitrarily, however, America and Europe have not been similarly quick to assist Nigeria in Nigeria’s efforts to recover public or taxpayer monies and resources stolen, looted and kept in American and European banks and institutions, Transparency International, or TI, the most vociferously strident critic of Nigeria, should concentrate the bulk of its efforts in helping Nigeria retrieve looted funds from American and European banks or institutions, besides, TI should desist from using the loosely defined “perception index” as perception is a subjective standard of measuring data, TI instead should embrace modern empirical data gathering and analyses as preferred methodology!

Criticisms directed at Nigeria by individuals, institutions and foreign governments, are often supported with the so-called “corruption perception index”! Which is produced yearly by Transparency International, two issues arise, the first is, what exactly is this phantom perception and how is perception measured in the clear absence of empirical data? Secondly, what is the quantum or magnitude of corruption in Nigeria, in total dollar amount measurements? What is the per capita of Nigeria’s GNP or GNI involved, engaged in and affected by corrupt, in a population of more than 130 million in Nigeria?

Comparatively, what is what is the quantum or magnitude of corruption in America, in total dollar amount measurements? What is the per capita of America’s GNP or GNI involved, engaged in and affected by corrupt, in a population of more than 300 million in America? How is it then, that there is always a corruption story in America, by American individuals or corporations, involving humongous amount of dollars, and yet, America not the most corrupt country judging by Transparency International parochial perception index? Some people just seem to have irrational exuberant and confident belief in the absence of corruption in America, while they pessimistically assume the pervasiveness of corruption in Nigeria! How much is the actual loss due to corruption in America and Nigeria yearly?

American political and corporate avarice are simply legendary, in frequency of occurrence, size and numbers, there is exceeding greed in corporate America, see bigger than Enron America corporate greed have been topical issue in the recent past, especially in 2004. The world is by now familiar with the no-bid contract sweet-deals in Iraq for Halliburton, KBR, rife with conflict-of-interests and self-dealings, engaged in, by persons in the Bush administration of the United States for Halliburton, a company infamous for flouting laws and rules in Nigeria and in America, whether such laws and rules relate to the establishment of, off-shore sham offices, in order to evade American taxes or the commission of over-billing for “services” to the US occupation army in Iraq or Halliburton tax evasion and bribery schemes in Nigeria.

Apart from Halliburton, there are multitudes of other American companies, caught in web of numerous scandals and horrible corruptions, such as WorldCom, Global Crossing, Enron, Imclone Systems, Arthur Andersen, the Martha Stewart insider-trading related trials, there have been a plethora of corporate failures and bankruptcies exemplified and epitomized by the Enron debacle.

As for pop-ups, spammers and e-mail scams? It was not invented by Nigerian 419ers! I frequently receive e-mails and spasm inviting me to receive lottery awards, to enlarge my body parts or to buy prescription medicines without prescription, some e-mails inform me that I may already have won $10million dollars, other e-mails invite me to buy Viagra or Cialis or to visit a porn website and so, I keep setting and updating firewalls in my internet service, I keep deleting the inconvenience of the electronic superhighway of the world wide web, and 99.9% of the annoying solicitation and fraudulent invitations that I receive daily are not generated by Nigerian from Nigeria by 419ers or scammers!

Too many American companies have in the recent times, been found to have engaged in fraudulent corporate accounting and deliberate falsehoods for profiteering executives, all these are all fresh acts of corruptions of the highest magnitude, and if corrupt acts were earthquakes causing tidal waves? These America corporate greed and corrupt practices will be best described as earthquakes and tsunamis of 9.9 on the Richter scale!

Just last month, several American pharmaceuticals companies, were being pursued by the federal agencies in the US for putting unsafe drugs into the stream of commerce, these pharmaceutical companies are having to withdraw medicines from the market, because of the fatal side-effects of such medicines, fatal side effects, well within the knowledge, fore knowledge of these drug companies, prior to mass marketing same drugs for profit, regardless of the known dangers of sudden heart attack, cardiac arrest and deaths! This is corruption that has direct and immediate consequences, which is the hundreds of death already reported as a result, American drug manufacturers pushed drugs to the market and to consumers, despite knowing that it was a matter of life and death to consumers? These companies sold dangerous medicines, in complete disregard for public safety and the health of consumers of such products, public health and safety, the lives of the users were would not interfere in the corrupt desire for profits at the expense of hundreds of human lives!

And yet, Transparency International and the rest of the world, including some Nigerians critics of our government war on corruption, all manage to ignore or gloss over, the massive corruption in America, that keep the Attorney General of the state of New York, Elliot Spitzer esquire, the indefatigable corruption fighting Godzilla of corporate avarice, greed and corruption!

Transparency International and others, including those Nigerians who are happy to allow other negatively define Nigeria and Nigerians have completely ignored rampant corruptions frequently in the news in America? In 2004 alone, governors of four states in America were forced to resign, indicted or jailed, for corruption and corrupt practices, and corrupt enrichments, they are, namely, Governor The governors of Connecticut, John Rowland, the Governor of New Jersey, James McGreevy, the Governor of Illinois George Ryan and the Governor of Louisiana Edwin Edwards, at least two of these gubernatorial crooks, are already scheduled to spend time in prison because of their corrupt practices and abuse of office, for personal gains and benefits, or selfish interests.

Governor McGreevy, resigned after admitting a homosexual affair with a man, the governor who is married, cheated on his wife, the governor was married with children, but what is worse for the public? The governor actually hired his man/boyfriend, with who he broke his oath of marriage and betrayed his wife he hired the Israeli man, as a special adviser in charge of anti terrorism for the state of New Jersey, even though the man did not possess a scintilla of qualification to make him an expert on terrorism or an expert-anything, who the governor however paid $100,000.00 per year!

In my opinion, the governor’s gay relationship which betrayed his wife is one thing, but, exposing the state of New Jersey to harm by hiring his unqualified lover-man boyfriend as an expert of terrorism prevention, is surely an egregious crime of corruption, it should be clear, that the governor in his nepotism, hired his lover, paid so much money, while all the governor really wanted, was the nearness and constant companionship his lover or love-toy, at the expense of New Jersey taxpayers!

Why is Transparency uninterested in the major anti corruption campaign being undertaken by Mr. Elliot Spitzer, the Attorney General of the state of New York? Why is Transparency International their Nigerian cohorts, unwilling to examine or even mention corruption that exist elsewhere, that is actually of higher impact and magnitude in quantity and size, compared with Nigeria? It makes you wonder, whether people just enjoy denigrating and lampooning Nigerians for their enjoyments! Are they simply tickled by pretending that they are better than Nigerians?

Where are the empirical evidence and scientific methodologies, used in determining that incidents of corruptions are more in Nigeria than say, America? What is really the basis of these castigations of Nigeria? Corruption must be measured with hard evidence and comparative analyses between countries, the guesswork based on subjective perception must stop!

References provided:
This web links to the corruption of Governor of Illinois, George Ryan

This web links to the corruption of Governor of New Jersey, James McGreevy

This web links to the corruption of Governor of Connecticut, John Rowland

This web links to the corruption of Governor of Louisiana, Edwin Edwards

This web links to the corruption of major American corporations

This web links to the corruption campaign by state of New York Attorney General

America refuses to join United Nations Convention Against, Corruption

No comments: