Nigeria is being punished with global crippling sanctions thanks to its current leadership.
The far reaching military and security infrastructure sanctions which have been in effect since as early as 2012 have caused immense hardship, embarrassment and continuous death in the populous African nation of 170 million.
The current administration is being sanctioned from purchasing military and police hardware. Until the Jonathan administration recently went to shop in eastern European and Asian markets, the equipments in use in Nigeria were purchased in the prior civilian governments like the Obasanjo and Shagari governments and military administrations like the Buhari/Idiagbon and again Obasanjo administrations with the Jonathan government simply barred from buying even simple policing equipment from western markets.
Goodluck Jonathan the democratically elected and now embattled president of Nigeria has been noticeably very bitter about the harsh sanctions which he complained extended to stuff as meager as anti riot tear-gas. Jonathan snorted that if he was reelected he will make sure Nigeria can manufacture the ‘mere’ gas because such sanctions against the nation – courtesy of the character of his government – were not fair.
Barely has Cameroon, Nigeria’s eastern neighbor began its full scale war against Boko Haram than the United states promised the West African nation its full support in procuring military equipment. “My government is working on a logistic pipeline of material that will enhance Cameroon’s ability to defend itself from Boko Haram,” U.S. ambassador to Cameroon, Michael Stephen Hoza said earlier this February.
According to the United States, multiple human right violations by the Jonathan administration had warranted the institution of these crippling sanctions on military and policing equipment.
For the six years of the Jonathan government waging its so-called war against Boko Haram, hundreds of violations came to fore, with the terrorists always acquiring the weapons and technology from the Nigerian army in systematic transfer. Recently questionable standard armed drones purchased from China went down in Dumge in Boko Haram territory, putting the technology in the reach of the terrorists and other global mischievous entities.
Over 32 billion dollars spent on defense could hardly be accounted for except in terms of hardware in the hands of the terrorists. And the security department violations are notable not only on the frontlines but in actions of Nigeria’s military and police across the nation under the current dispensation. Recently the army has been further discredited as a professional and trustworthy department, being caught openly involved in election rigging and pro-ruling party election date manipulation.
Though the proclaimed posture of the Nigerian government, to sacrifice and continue taking the nation through the deadly hardship of the sanctions while promoting manufacturing is the common choice in the event unfair sanctions, Nigerians case is different and rather unfortunate.
Firstly it is unfair for the global powers to have sanctioned the entire nation rather than its culpable corrupt leadership.
Secondly Nigeria was sanctioned not because it erred collectively and in policy but because it has ‘reprehensible’ leaders. These democratically elected rulers should first be replaced to give ease to the people and save lives then manufacturing can be invested in on stable terms. This should have been the target of sanctions. The Nigerian case is not the typical nation-under-military-dictator cases where the nations are sanctioned to punish the people to remove their leadership. In Nigeria’s case, the nation is officially in a democratic dispensation where its leaders can be impeached or alternatively voted out of power; hence the foreign nations should have pushed for better options for Nigerian suffering and dying masses than cripple the people while those in power actually continue to live large and at ease.
Economic sanctions: Either by intention or by proxy, Nigeria is additionally suffering from economic sanctions imposed on Russia in the oil price manipulation war. Again, lack of economic buffers by the Jonathan administration has made the nation’s masses susceptible to and victims of an economic war that perhaps the African nation was not a direct target in.
In conclusion, bad choices have left Nigeria’s people punished and deprived from within and without. Sanctions have depleted the capacity of the nation to protect its people; but the lack of sanctions will encourage the rulers to kill their own people. It’s a lose-lose situation for Nigeria’s commoners.
Sanctions may encourage productivity, but the masses suffer the most while the cabal and leadership are barely touched by typical western imposed sanctions. Are Nigeria’s already suffering masses ready ride and die with its rulers and go down for the crimes of its notably corrupt leadership? Or will they rather let go of both the sanctions and the rulers who earned them? That is definitely a question to be answered on March 128th, elections day.
Dr. Peregrino Brimah.