Nigeria: Forgery and Perjury Incorporated!

by SOC Okenwa

Nigeria is known the world over as a rich land in natural resources. She is equally reputed as producing small minds as leaders and experts in fraud and forgery. With huge deposits of oil and gas in the Niger Delta region Nigeria ought to be competing with the Asian Tigers or even America in societal developmental trends but the truth is that she is still lagging centuries behind with poverty decimating majority of its population. The funds stolen by public officials (from governors to ministers to the former presidents/dictators) had it been channeled towards infrastructural development would have turned the landscape into African America.

In Nigeria God blessed us with huge mineral resources deposits and arable land that multiplies fruits and foodstuffs (when planted) in harvest time. Yet hunger stalks the land with millions of our people going to bed hungry and others dying from curable diseases for lack of money to buy drugs. The tragedy of our nation lies in our disorganization and individualism of those in positions to cause a definite change. They cause change only in their wealth profile leaving the people pauperized and worse off than they met them! That indeed is tragic enough. That is the crux of the matter. How do we effectively police those who toy with our patrimony? How do we arrest the drift towards degeneration?

Late 90’s my sister was sponsored to go to Greece for greener pastures. I cannot remember how many times we travelled to Lagos from Benin City to keep a date with visa appointments. On each occasion either the visa was not ready or the “agent” would tell us to come back in a week’s time as if we were based in Lagos or had no other thing doing. When eventually the much-awaited visa came out our joy knew no bound as sister, elder brother and I jubilated the prospects of a sister abroad and the economic gains that would bring to our family. We both saw her off at MMA Lagos as she boarded an aircraft bound for Athens en route to Thessalonika.

Few days later we were filled with terror when she called to announce, crying, that she had been deported. The visa we had suffered to obtain at an exorbitant price was judged by the Greek immigration officials to be fake! We went to see the man who arranged for the visa but he had changed base, nowhere to be found! We consoled her leaking our financial wounds. Sister Lovina cried and cried and refused to eat or drink anything for days asking no one in particular why she could be so cruelly treated. Then as a young activist in the Ivory Tower I never knew much about ‘Oluwole’.

The ‘Oluwole’ forgery factory in Lagos has empowered many with fake ID’s, degrees, passports and visas. It has made victims out of millions but daily they are being patronised and the criminals are getting richer! Why? Because Nigeria, as a nation, thrives on fraud, forgery and perjury. We celebrate mediocrity and honour perversion! That is why merit and quality has since taken flight out of our space. Remember Barkin Zuwo? Salisu Buhari?

‘Engineer’ Nathaniel Ilube was an easy-going unassuming man whose gait betrayed no desperation in life or any dangerous ambition. For years he was the Director-General of then Bendel Broadcasting Service (BBS) in Benin City Edo State. On more than one occasion I had seen and observed ‘Eng’ Ilube at close quarters in BBS headquarters performing his official functions either playing executive host to Executive Governors or Military Administrators (including Senator Tunde Ogbeha who militarily administered ex-Bendel State). By Ilube’s appearance one had thought he was a true follower of Christ who haboured no immoral hangover of any sort.

For years fake ‘Eng’ Ilube issued commands, gave orders and delegated responsibilities to seasoned and unseasoned broadcasters in BBS, some of whom were more educated and experienced than he was! Then suddenly his world crumbled as the bubble got burst one fateful day. It was 8pm headline news on the BBS TV and I was home tuned in. Nathaniel Ilube had been finally exposed: he was never any Engineer but his peers and friends gave him the title for his natural ‘engineering’ prowess. Whatever that meant! And the sobriquet stuck with time and he cleverly affixed it to his name. Ilube was remorseful for having betrayed those who trusted him and had lobbied hard for him to be so employed undeservedly.

Nathaniel Ilube was and is not alone. Today in Nigeria like yesterday and yester-years a lot of ‘Oluwole’ degree holders used same to gain employment and earn salaries far beyond their competence and qualification. We have had even a Toronto University fake degree possessor leading our Lower House of Parliament! Salisu Buhari was former number four in Nigeria‘s power hierarchy until the lies of an impostor could no longer be sustained. Even the INEC Chairman Maurice Iwu had had an academic scandal and perjury swirling over his credentials and he had made no effort to join issues with his accusers who charged him of lying over his Camerounian University claims.

The worst case happens to be one Uga man named Andy Nnamdi Uba. Former President Obasanjo’s ‘house boy’ has been proven to use loads of fake degrees to bamboozle the unwary into according him the scholarly respect he deserved not. It has taken detective Sowore of Sahara Reports and Prof. Okey Ndibe to challenge Andy Uba to prove his chains of degrees but the former imposed governor of Anambra State rather than tender his degrees for public verification hides under some cover engaging some hack writers to engage those accusing him. In the end Uba has shown himself to be an impostor, a study in fraud and greed.

During the month of Ramadan a member of House of Reps was reportedly deported from Saudi Arabia where he had gone to perform the lesser hajj. Reason? His visa was discovered in the Holy muslim land to be a product of forgery. Upon deportation the lawmaker was unhappy with the development threatening to sue the travel agency that arranged for the visa. The baffling thing was that like my sister’s fake visa with which she had travelled to Greece the lawmaker from the north’s visa was not detected as fake in Aminu Kano International Airport prior to his departure to Arabia.

The get-rich-quick sy

ndrome and the quest for success are driving Nigerians crazy making them desperadoes. In examination halls we cheat, in our daily lives we corrupt everything and everybody, before Reverend Fathers we tell lies of love, shouting ‘I Do’ even when we do not understand the true meaning of true love. Quite contrary to what late General Abacha had tried to tell the world in one of his international image-laundering programmes while in power “Not In Our Character” I think it is in our character to do reprehensible things and do the wrong things. Even Abacha the messenger was the very irony of what he was propagating!

The problem of forgery and perjury is a huge one confronting our nation-state. Unless we all resolve to embrace the core values hitherto held dear then no solution can ever be in sight. For a start Andy Uba should step forward and shame the likes of Okey Ndibe throwing mud at his image by making public his CV. By so doing we will take on Prof Ndibe and attack him until he tenders an unreserved apology. Otherwise the American-based lecturer will be vindicated and those attacking him presently should go take a jump at the Atlantic.

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Suleiman Oji November 15, 2011 - 7:34 am

This article contain sweeping generalizations and thus lacking in objectivity. It is true that corruption is perversive in Nigerian society but that cannot be a ground to classify all Nigerians as corrupt or as forgers. The article was also too personal as it relates to one Nnamdi Uba named in the article. This Uba is now a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. No court to the best of the knowledge of this writer has pronounced Uba guilty for corruption or for forgery. I think a medium such as this should not be used for settling personal scores or for name calling. This article is written is bad faith and as a Nigerian I take serious exception to the tune of the of the artilce which is a reckless way in freedom of expression. The writer is reminded that while he is free to express his views affected persons are also entitled to have recourse censure.

Uzoma November 10, 2007 - 12:45 am

This over-characterization of Nigerian should stop. Corruption is not Nigerian specific. Bribery is not a Nigerian word. Forgery did not erupt or stem from Nigeria. The world over, each individual nation-state has her own endemic and less dramatized social decay and denigration. The way we talk about Nigeria issues strikes unpatriotism.

I understand that the truth must be told. But how many countries of the world are true believers in truth, equity and justice? None. How many justify their arrogance and power intoxication with diplomacy? All. Yet we have not learned enough lessons.

For us to be players in this unparrallel playing field, we have to beat our own drums, sound our own gong and sing our own chorus. We have to back up what we do, good or bad, with pride.

Crimes of monumental proportions are foreclosed and buried without fanfare in most developed nations. Have you asked yourself why we, back home in Nigeria, do not receive local foreign channels? Even some of the international news we get are sieved and selected. Have you asked yourself why these international media outlets only broadcast the worst of news from Nigeria, as an individual entity and Africa in totality? Does it mean that there have never been any kind of scientific or literary breakthrough in Africa as a whole?

My people used to say, "no matter how pickin ugly reach, im mama go still claim am." Let us claim our origin for once. Let us write about the good that come out from Nigeria. Let us project and promote ourselves. By so doing, we will command some respect in the comity of nations.

I beg una!


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