Wednesday, 02 February 2005
When Dr. Rice the new Secretary of State for the United States, in her confirmation hearing talked about cooperating with Nigeria to eliminate corruption, I suspect she was apparently referring to the evidence demanded by Nigeria from the Bush administration on Halliburton activities; Evidence about Halliburton’s tax evasion and bribery scandal which is being investigated by Nigeria’s National Assembly, a court in France and some other governments worldwide. Halliburton is being probed everywhere, even by branches of the US government itself, for bribery and corruption.
Halliburton is an American company which is a colossus with all types of cozy dealings with governments, Halliburton is neck deep in corruption everywhere; It is also useful to remember that the current vice president of the United States, Mr. Dick Cheney was the immediate past chief executive officer of Halliburton shortly before becoming the American number two citizen! Halliburton has had unfettered and unbridled access.
Hence the former vice president of the United States, Mr. Al Gore calls the present American federal government, the Halliburton administration! What with all the self-dealings and conflicts of interests and no-bid contracts and inflated contracts for supplies to US Army in Iraq and Iraqi reconstruction contracts that Halliburton have been receiving from the American government without contest or competitive bids, which have been the case since the invasion and occupation of Iraq by the US?
Dr. Rice is a high profile member of the current Bush administration of the United States, she is well known as a prominent member who has helped to shape the war mongering and hawkish efforts of the current American government, she is eminently qualified to talk about corruption, American corruption in particular. Especially under this American government, she is part of this Halliburton administration!
The current American administration of Mr. Bush of which Dr. Rice is a part, has refused to sign anti corruption convention initiated by the United Nations Organization to which Nigeria is one of the first signatory. The UN convention and protocol to eradicating corruption from the world is hailed by other nations, but derided by the USA! And America want to talk about fighting corruption? And Nigerians are crying because of the silly comments by Dr. Rice? Have we not heard this recycled garbage before others? We only have to ask Et tu Dr.Rice?
It is amazing that the Americans want to lecture the rest of us about corruption! Only on Monday, January 31, 2005, the Attorney General of the state of New York, Mr. Elliot Spitzer, in his anti corruption campaign, fined Marsh & McLennan Company, the sum of $850 million dollars to settle charges stemming from its bid-rigging practices that were irregular
In the state of Texas, the Attorney General, Mr. Greg Abbott has indicted scammers and spammers that he has described as the biggest and largest in the world and spam Watchdog group http://www.SpamHaus.org agreed with the Texan chief law officer and these scammers are not Nigerians! http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/technology/tech-tech-spam-lawsuit.html Texas Seeks Million of Dollars from Major Spammers Operations.
In the last twelve months, four governors of four states in America’s 50 states, have been indicted or resigned or facing investigation and or prison terms for corruption, Governor Rowland of Connecticut for corrupt enrichment, Governor Ryan of Illinois for corruption, Governor Edwin Edwards of Louisiana is indicted with some police officers who were accused of corruption, bribery, brutalities and murders, Governor McGreevy of New Jersey hired an Israeli, not an American, for anti terrorism services, the Israeli had no qualification or experience anti terrorism methods, additionally, it is the case that the Israeli was overpaid as much as $100,000.oo per year and it turned out, that Governor McGreevy who was married with children was in a homosexual relationship with the Israeli “anti terrorist expert”! Governor McGreevy hired a non-expert, boyfriend for sexual rendezvous at taxpayers’ expense, while the state of New Jersey was not getting protected against terrorism! What an egregious way to be corrupt?
Meanwhile, Nigeria, the much maligned and lampooned country on earth, has during this same period established the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission or ICPC, under Justice Akanbi and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission or the EFCC under Dr. Nuhu Ribadu, together, these anti corruption organs have pursued corruption, which has led to early retirements of some high profile Nigerian officials, and the indictment of some serving federal Ministers and permanent secretaries. 419ers or e-mail scammers are being pursued, one such scammer died in jail while waiting for trial; So many others are indicted and facing prosecution and prison! Must Nigeria resort to arbitrariness, vigilante justice and draconian practices, just to convince Nigeria’s critics?
What do the critics of Nigeria want? Public execution of anyone accused of corruption? Should Nigeria be pressured and goaded into conducting Public executions without trials? Must Nigeria pursue corruption, without due process and without recourse to the rule of law and without obeisance to democratic tenets and ideals? Nigerians must recall how in the 1980s some Nigerians were publicly executed under some arbitrary legislation, that was retroactive and retrospective, which arose from a combination of factors; Nigeria’s determination to eradicate narcotics, and combined foreign pressure that was mounted on Nigeria as Nigeria was accused of more narcotic trade, more than Afghanistan and Colombia combined or put together, even though the latter countries are the cocaine, heroin and opium exporting countries, countries where these drugs are natives, they are the grower of the raw materials-crops and manufacturers! But more pressure was on Nigeria’s infinitesimal participation in the Narcotic-trade; I hate drugs!
The infamous World Bank has praised Nigeria’s anti corruption efforts and we all ought to give credit to the current government for its efforts, even as we encourage it to do more! For some, who are adept only at condemning Nigeria and any government in Nigeria, there seem to be no efforts on their part, at distinguishing best efforts that are currently being made, as contra-distinction with the past? What does Nigeria need to do to be in the good books of these perennial maligners and lampooners, those who seem to reap immeasurable joy from ridiculing Nigeria, despite Nigeria’s best efforts in all directions?
According to Nigeria’s minister for finance, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria currently spends an inordinate amount of Nigeria annual national income to service foreign debts, with the punishing effects on Nigerian citizens, who are deprived of development resources and the bulk of these debts are just interests and penalties that have accumulated over the years and have become larger than the original debt, spurious debts in the first place.
Nigerians should only pay attention to Dr. Rice when she agrees to talk about trade between America and Nigeria, or if she talks about debt forgiveness or reparations or something useful, more useful than her platitudes with mere nuisance value, as her feigned government cooperation with Nigeria on Halliburton corruption, tax evasion and bribery by Halliburton, all over the place.
How does the United States, given its illegal invasions and occupations of Haiti, Iraq and perhaps Iran soon? How does the US that refuses to be signatory to the anti corruption convention and protocol by the UN, how does the USA with the plethora of abuses of detainees in Afghanistan, Abu Gharib prisons in Iraq and Guantannamo, have the audacity or temerity to always manage to portray itself well, despite its unilateralism? While abusing Nigeria, Nigeria that is always eager to be multilateral in Nigeria’s own dealings with the entire world or in dealings internationally?
Nigeria is currently pursuing all manners of reforms in all sectors, there are deregulation, privatizations and subsidies removals by Nigeria, with crushing effects on Nigerian citizens, this is happening during the same time the USA is being sanctioned left right and center by the Europeans and the World Trade Organization because the US violate international trade rules, regarding its subsidies for agriculture, steel and Boeing Aircraft manufacturers!
This same USA self-righteously told us four years ago, about The Road Map to peace between Palestine and Israel, this current government of America, and this current Secretary of State helped formulate that policy, a policy that was tepidly pursued, then abandoned, a policy that has been a woeful and colossal failure! Dr. Rice as US Secretary of State should tell Israel to stop the abuse of the fundamental rights of Palestinians! Don’t Palestinians have Human Rights?
Only a few days ago, Israeli military murdered a young girl in a United Nations Refugee Camp School, Israeli military frequently murder harmless Palestinians children, as it also arbitrarily demolish Palestinian homes, brutalize and maim them with raw military might, while Dr. Rice and her government during the past four years, have only given a wink and a nod, and every tacit approval to whatever Israel and prime minister Ariel Sharon wants! Dr. Rice is an African American I could not have imagined an American Jew in Dr. Rice’s shoes deriding Israel during such Jew’s confirmation hearings! Could Dr. Rice not keep Nigeria out of her garrulous and gratuitous comments? As if she had nothing usefully beneficial to say about Nigeria? Would she dare say something disparaging of Israel during confirmation hearings or anytime during her tenure? She could consult Dr. Andrew Young, a former US ambassador to the United Nations, whose political career ended because he was perceived to have slighted Israel!
Dr. Rice ought to have devoted her confirmation hearing explaining all the lies and embellishments about WMD in Iraq and the bungled Road Map to peace between Palestine and Israel, instead of the Weapons of Mass Distraction she engaged in, by talking feebly of some unknown help that her government has rendered to Nigeria? Too many people discuss Nigeria based on their preconceived notions rooted in worst case scenarios! And mostly repeated baseless accusations against Nigeria without comparative analyses of such issues as with the rest of the world, Nigeria surely possess virtues and vices like everyone else, why then should Nigeria be isolated or particularized in vacuum?
Dr. Rice is soon to be on tour, her first tour, and none of the countries to be visited include any country in Africa or countries in the Caribbean! Her priority and first order of business with is “old Europe”! I m still waiting for her policies towards continental Africans, and peoples of African descent worldwide, these are my people! Where exactly does she stand on real development concerns for African Americans, Africans on the continent and our brethrens in the Caribbean? Would she talk debt relief, trade and development? Or if past is prologue, as her four years with President Bush administration indicates, we may safely now conclude that “The beautiful ones are not yet born?”