Service provision is an integral function of government, agencies, public and private institutions. This is the reason they exist in the first place. But in Nigeria, government functions without providing services. Moneys allocated to aid government’s function of service providing ends up in pockets of a few government officials, their families, friends of families, friends and friends of friends. This is no news.
Sadly, this great web of corruption has spread and eaten deep into the private sector. Multinationals come to do business in Nigeria for the sole purpose of exploiting Nigerian resources as well as the Nigerian people. The impunity and frequency with which this occurs has become a constant cause for worry. From construction to oil, production, telecommunications and aviation to mention a few, the brazen disrespect for the people of Nigeria leaves me stupefied and makes me ponder on this new form of slavery – capitalist slavery.
Corruption appears to be the root of all things evil in Nigeria. It is the reason companies that operate in Nigeria give little or no thought to their corporate social responsibility. Even worse is the failure of regulatory arms or agencies of government to ensure compliance with standard and best universally accepted practices in the provision of services of Nigerian citizens and also, in terms of employment. Among the many duties owed citizens, a government must ensure that companies that operate within its territory and make use of its resources or man-power must play a great role in empowering its citizen. Sadly, this is not the case in Nigeria. What we have instead is multinationals who come to do business in our country and oppress us with poor services, pathetic wages and shabby treatment in terms of workers welfare. Some of these foreign nationals prefer sometimes to bring their own students who are paid and treated like qualified expatriates to the detriment of our own qualified professionals. This is particularly true with the companies of Asian extraction and a few of our African brother companies operating in Nigeria.
Why do these foreign companies come to do business in our nation, use our resources, exploit us and get away with it? Its simple. We don’t love ourselves and we have a long history of exploitation from our government that has totally killed our self esteem and voice to speak out against ill-treatment. Our government and even our president doesn’t “give a damn”. Charity they say, begins at home. Our own local companies don’t care about us. Many times, goods and services which we depend on and pay exorbitant prices for are epileptic, fake or heavily unreliable and delivered at the whims of these companies.
Recently, the NCC levied a fine on mobile network operators in the telecommunications industry which ran into billions of naira. The fine I gather was for inefficient delivery of services. I am of the opinion that the NCC being an agency of government has no such right to impose such a fine as it would be tantamount to the case of the pot calling the kettle black. The government has the responsibility of creating a suitable environment for both local and international industries to thrive but as usual, it is either incapable, unwilling or it just doesn’t give a damn. How then can it turn around and levy fines on companies whose inefficiency to deliver efficient service stems from the failure of government to provide the necessary amenities and a conducive atmosphere to allow for excellent delivery of services? Either way, what happens to the billions of naira remitted in taxes to the coffers of government and yet, needs as basic as constant power supply or even good road networks are an uphill task to provide? When these telecommunication companies initially threatened to sue the Federal Government for failure to provide a conducive environment, I had wondered if these foreign companies were taking up the fight on our behalf. However, they gave in and paid the fine. It is much easier to pay up and keep mum on a faulty system that benefits outsiders and a few insiders a lot more than the masses running. Whatever will happen to the billions paid as fine will remain a mystery while NCC that proposes to guard our interests will continue to get fat while the masses continue to suffer the same shabby service. Its the same old story and circle of corruption and injustice.
We have to realize that no one outside is going to rescue this great nation called Nigeria from the evil clutches of tyrants in civilian wears, leeches manning our agencies, the cabal in control of almost every industrial and private sector who rape the nations resources while offering poor services without consequence and the multinationals who want a piece of the action. If the government cannot extend to us the courtesy of accountability, protect our well being from exploitative situations or handle its most basic functions, where lies the hope of the average Nigerian?
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