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#We Are Poor Too: $332m Repatriated Nigeria’s Money



When the headlines screamed that the last batch of repatriated loot from Switzerland will be used as part of the conditional cash transfer social welfare scheme of this administration to 19 states, I have been scrapping my mouth off the floor.

First of all, I think because the monies have a possessive title, “Abacha Money/loot” the handlers of this money look at it from that view and therefore restricted its application to 19 states out of the 36+1 states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Subliminal messaging is real. If the money was referred to simply as repatriated Nigeria money of so-so regime, the messaging would be clear; the commonwealth of Nigeria that has returned. Then the application would be wholistic. I still can’t understand how the 19 states have been singled out as the ones needing the money and not only that; only 302,000 of them. Sounding like a broken record, just last week, we learnt from oyibo quarters that we have about 87m people who live in poverty in the country. Our own Nigeria Bureau of Statistics put that at about a 100m (honestly, I’d rather go with our figures). There must be some method to the decision taken here. In a country that is severely fractured, I don’t see how this decision reflects fairness, equity and justice no matter the argument. Because these funds were the common wealth of Nigeria, it should be divided across the country! The poor will always be with us and are with us.