The tallest building in the world is the Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, UAE which was completed in 2010 after 6 years of construction. The building is 829.8 m tall (the length of 8 football fields placed in a long line) and cost $1.5billion (about N300billion) to build. Dubai built the Burj Khalifa as part of its ambitious plans to diversify its economy away from its oil dependency into tourism. The Burj Khalifa building is home to 1,044 luxury apartments and 49 floors of offices. Around 12,000 people live and work in the tower, which is part of a 500-acre development. It’s one of the favorite tourist attractions in the world and its costs over $200 dollars to make a trip to the top of its observation deck.
On the other side of the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is presently building what will upon completion be the tallest building in the world, (taking the crown from the Burj Khalifa), the $1.23billion (N246billion) Kingdom Tower. The development of the building is being driven by Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, who is considered the wealthiest man in the Middle East, as the anchor point for an entire new city being constructed near the port city of Jeddah. These two building that would further transform the economic life of their cities/countries are being built for just over $1billion each.
Meanwhile in Nigeria, a certain Sokoto prince called Sambo Dasuki and a coterie of political bandits in the former ruling party (PDP) stand accused of getting $2.1Billion (N420billion) for purchase of military weapons from the Central Bank of Nigeria in a 9month period in 2014 and simply diverting the monies to private use. This inherently is the difference between Nigeria and a country/state like Dubai.
Dubai with a population of 2.1million produces about 70,000 barrels of oil a day while Nigeria with a population of 170million produces about 1.9million barrels a day. Dubai is a city with an absolute monarch and no real democracy, Nigeria is a democracy that keeps electing incompetent kleptomaniacs when it’s not being raped by military dictators. 15 – 20 years ago, Dubai’s leader Sheikh Maktoum identified 4 factors to build its economy around; Trade, Real Estate & construction, financial services and tourism. And he then spent the next 20 years providing the structure for it; building two world standard sea ports to make Dubai the transshipment port of choice for goods from Asia; building two international class airports to make Dubai the aviation hub for the middle east, building a world class airline to service those airports and then building a tourism industry in the middle of the desert by constructing bigger and bigger tourism focused marvels.
Conversely, in Nigeria, government after government came and introduced different policies, then gave up implementing them and focused on stealing monies meant for development. This is the trend that has now been continued to a ludicrous level by Mr. Dasuki and his fellow brigands. He and a coterie of political jobbers like Mr. Haliru Bello, Mr. Dokpesi and Mr. Bafarawa stole money meant for military operations against Boko Haram directly leading to the death of soldiers and innocent civilians across the North Eastern states.
For a second, let’s consider what the $2.1billion (N420billion) would have done if properly utilized. The Dangote Foundation recently started work on a 1000 capacity hospital in Kano at a cost of $12.3million. Using this as a bench mark, $2.1 billion would have built 170 hospitals with 1000 beds across Nigeria (that’s 17,000 hospital beds) which would have provided healthcare to more than 8million Nigerians per year assuming they each stayed in the hospital for just a week. That’s 8million lives saved or impacted out of a population of 170million.
The money would also have paid for the construction of the long-proposed 4th Mainland bridge in Lagos which would be 8th kilometers long and has a projected cost of N320billion ($1.6billion). The stolen funds would also have covered most of the cost of the Lagos Metro Line, which is projected to cost N456billion ($2.4billion). All the above projects would have dramatically improved the quality of life in Nigeria. Instead the money ended up in the pocket of already rich politicians.
This is the money shared by this miserable, privileged collection of thieves and highway brigands and they were able to do this because their principal (our peace-loving former president), allowed them.
So my solution is this. Once and for all let us deal with the issue of corruption in Nigeria by doing the following. Let’s create a special court to try corruption cases with concurrent jurisdiction with the Federal High court. All cases must be tried and concluded within 1 year, including appeals. Then let us review the punishment for people convicted of corruption.
I would propose that the punishment be based on the value of the stolen monies in the following manner: If you steal between N10m – N500m – you get 20 years imprisonment without the option of paying a fine; between N500m – N1billlion – 30 years imprisonment without the option of paying a fine; between N1billion – N10billion – life imprisonment and above N10billion, you would be executed by firing squad at what is left of Bar Beach in Victoria Island.