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The country Nigeria and indeed Africa is on the brink of collapse. This is because the country and the continent are based on loot riches. Loot of riches is not the same as wealth. Therefore, it cannot last beyond one generation. It doesn’t just vanish; it sweeps away the people who did it and their immediate posterity. It doesn’t matter how many years it lasts. It does not go beyond one generation. No matter how big it is, as always it would be lost. The looting of riches leads to the waste of resources and lives. When you loot public resources or funds, you waste your life and the resources you have stolen. In addition, you place a scourge and, in fact, a curse on your posterity – children and relatives who depend on you.

The sacred scriptures and philosophies are clear about the law of sowing and reaping. You cannot plant corn and expect to harvest apples. It has to be corn. You cannot sow hate and expect to reap love. “Because everything that man sows, that will reap.” This law is immutable. There is nothing any man can do to change this law. Even the appearance of change in this law as a consequence of the tide of the times when everyone, including highly respected and dignified-looking men and women, steal public funds with impunity, build castles and houses of 1000 rooms furnished with the best and most expensive chandeliers and Arabic decorations like that of the state of Minna Niger, does not change or affect this law in any way. There are countless examples in Nigeria, in Africa and, indeed, around the world that show that the looting of wealth is an evil that benefits no one.

When those in charge of public money, the company, the organization or the community steal it, they prevent the people served by the resources from the social, infrastructure and economic impact of the stolen money. The thief, whether he or she is a pastor, governor, minister, president, commissioner, traditional ruler, or company president or CEO, unknowingly meddles in trends that he or she has no moral power to control. Money has a life of its own. Rightly purchased or created as wealth, it changes the man or woman who made it for the better. Most of the time this wealth creator becomes a social, moral and development entrepreneur. His influence produces a lot of goodness in society and among people. His life becomes a source of good inspiration for the people around him, especially for the young people and emerging leaders of tomorrow.

Money stolen from public coffers or business partners also has a life of its own. But instead of producing good, stolen money or looted wealth produces more evil from where it originated. The man or woman who stole the money becomes an antisocial, immoral, and ruinous businessman. His influence produces more evil, rottenness, decadence and a multiplicity of other vices that challenge the peace of the earth. As the proverb says, “the bird that perches on a clothesline and swears that the clothesline will never rest will never have its own rest either.” As the people lose their peace, so would the thief, even if he is a governor, senator, president, minister, or whatever title he may have.

To sustain the riches of the loot, the robber-minister/governor/commissioner/chairman/managing director/senator/president or whatever title gave him access to public funds would have to build a security apparatus that would require more and more money to maintain. As people become more restless as a result of the decline and degradation of their opportunities for self-fulfilment, more and more people turn to crime. As the crime market becomes more and more competitive, criminals learn and improve their sophistication. The growth in the crime zone lessens the effectiveness of the security apparatus in place, so the thieving senator or whatever office he holds would have to steal more money to improve the security infrastructure he already has. This is a vicious circle. No one, no matter how smart or stupid, can win.

It’s like the proverb “one sin leads to another.” This is the reality of life for looters. That it takes a minimum of five lies to cover up a lie and, in multiples, become the life story of the smartest looters. As he or she grapples with the dilemma of managing looted funds, the looter becomes antisocial, a harbinger of more evil. And like the proverbial sheep who soils her own tail thinking that she is soiling the barn for the owner to clean, this evil looter man or woman defrauds himself as he defrauds society. Looters are like people who carry a gun and point the gun at their toe and shoot. As stupid as it is to shoot yourself in the leg trying to be happy or live a better life, so is every man or woman who loots to get rich.

A look at the lives of the corrupt people from the early republic to this time and the businessmen who have ripped off their associates or the professional advanced fee scammers or 419ners clearly shows that these people are a bunch of idiots and morons. A friend of mine said that if you are given a looter’s life with an extra million naira, you still shouldn’t take it. The implication: it’s all nonsense. In Pitman’s shorthand text of those days, we learn that “a fool and his money are easily parted.” The way and manner in which these thieving politicians and other con artists lose the rich they stole is evidence that they can only be fools and morons.

This has led me to conclude that looters are nothing more than fools and imbeciles. Real men and women cannot loot. Wise men and women would not loot after all the examples from the lives of those who have looted public funds in the past. Wise people often learn from what happened to others. The fact that looting remains prevalent is an ominous sign pointing to a dangerous fact: Nigerians are being led by fools and imbeciles. Are you wondering again that there is no positive development in Nigeria and that crime and all other inglorious things are happening in an oil-rich country?

The IMF president was quoted as saying that all the money stolen from Nigeria by politicians since independence when it was converted to current dollars and deposited one piece at a time in the ground, would stretch all the way to Mars and back, not once, but seven times. Juxtapose that with the misery, poverty and crime in Nigeria and you would have an El Dorado on this earth if they stole and left us ordinary one tenth of what they stole. Now, given the kidnappings, banditry, bank robberies, poverty, prostitution and deteriorating infrastructure in Nigeria today, isn’t all the looting of public funds since then tantamount to shooting yourself in the toe, a proven act of imbecility? In fact, looters are actually the poorest people out there. They have a poverty-stricken mind.

Most raiders see themselves as smart. Years ago, when I couldn’t even afford to eat twice a day after finishing high school, a man who left the same school with me at the same time without even a grading paper had built himself a house, got married, bought a CD-195 and also a Volkswagen Beatle car. This was in the early 1980s, when the CD-195 was a symbol of success. When I asked him what he did, he told me that he had to be smart. When I sought out how I could be smart, he suggested that he steal money from my employers, which he called an act of intelligence. Today, while I govern in the professional and social world, he fights to become the secretary of a local union of auto parks, in fact, an agbero. Who’s smart now, him or me?

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