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Nigeria’s uphill battle to spread the country’s wealth

April 16th, 2013
09:17 PM ET

By Samuel Burke & Claire Calzonetti

Africa's most populous nation, Nigeria, is full of promise. But fulfilling that promise is often a struggle.

Plagued by corruption and mismanagement, the resource-rich country has a poverty rate of over 50%.

Maternal mortality is shockingly high and more than half of Nigerians don't have access to electricity, according to the World Bank.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the country’s finance minister and the former World Bank official has been lauded as the reformer Nigeria needs.

But she too isn't immune from Nigeria's problems – her own mother was kidnapped for a terrifying five days before being released.

President Goodluck Jonathan promised to address corruption in the country. Nevertheless, a former governor – an ally of Jonathan – has been convicted of embezzling million in public funds and has since been pardoned.

“Nigeria does have a problem with corruption and so do many other countries,” Okonjo-Iweala told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview that aired Tuesday. “I don’t like the fact that when people mention the name Nigeria the next thing they mention is corruption.” 

Technology could be the answer the problem, Okonjo-Iweala believes.

“We must build electronic platforms. We must distance people from the money. These things were recommended by the world bank and IMF,” she told Amanpour. “We are doing them.”

President Jonathan is calling for the judiciary, the legislative and the executive arm to meet together about this issue all together for the time first Okonjo-Iweala said.

“Because even if you catch somebody, if they go to courts and they are let off lightly the president can’t do anything about that. The judicial system also has to be strengthened,” she said.

“This is a country of 170 million people; 99.9 percent of them are honest, hard-working citizens who just want to get on with their lives,” Okonjo-Iweala said, proudly. “And they want a government that delivers for them.”

Oil should be Nigeria’s saving grace, but oil leakage causes a significant drain on the economy.

“We are still a poor country,” she admitted. “We can’t afford any leakage.”

On tap of that, there is immense oil theft, which Okonjo-Iweala puts at 150,000 barrels stolen a day. She compared the situation to Mexico, which sees tens of thousands of barrels stolen each day.

“We need them to treat this oil like stolen diamonds. The blood diamonds,” she said – calling on the international community for assistance. “Make it blood oil. Help us so those people don’t have a market to sell this stuff.”

Nigeria is also plagued by problems with its electrical grid.

When the country’s president last appeared on CNN, he told Amanpour, “That is one area that Nigerians are quite pleased with the government, that's a commitment to improve power. It's working. So if you are saying something different, I'm really surprised.”

That interview caused an uproar in Nigeria, with many of the county’s very active social media citizens taking to Twitter and Facebook to voice their frustrations with the power grid and President Jonathan’s comments.

Okonjo-Iweala said the power problems all come down to previous government’s lack of investment.

“If you've neglected a sector for that long, you've not invested, you've not even maintained your basic facilities, it's not going to happen that fast. It takes time,” she said.

While Nigerians often complain of power outages – telling CNN they often have to use generators to watch the news channel –  Okonjo-Iweala maintained there has been improvement.

“That month, when you interviewed the president," she said, referring to Amanpour's previous interview of Jonathan, "the polls showed, independently, scientifically that they are in technical partnership with dialogue. That 54 percent of Nigerians felt there was some improvement,” she told Amanpour.

“Nigeria is not the only country. Almost every developing country has a problem with power, as you know. India has it. South Africa has it. South Africa is far better off because they've invested much more.
But many developing countries, even China, they are struggling with keeping up with infrastructure,” she said.

Okonjo-Iweala said that the administration has accepted that the government is not the best place to run the power sector.

“If we want this country and this economy to do better, we just have to get out. And Nigeria is pursuing one of the most sweeping privatization programs in any country in the world,” she said. “We are selling off everything.”

That said, the lights even went out on President Jonathan during a speech he gave a speech in front of cameras just this past Easter day.

READ MORE: Nigeria battles to stop spread of al Qaeda chaos in Africa

Filed under:  Latest Episode • Nigeria
soundoff (134 Responses)
  1. george o.m

    this is ridiculous. okonjo-iweala may have a few valid points regarding the struggle in other developing countries , but nothing else she said holds any kind of about the short comings of the previous regimes, one could argue that its been the same regime, PDP has held on to power since democracy, blaming past regimes is a nil point. it is totally imposible for 54% of the country to think that the power troubles have improved. she and the president live in lavish mansions and are blinded to the difficulty that the "99.9%" are faced with.

    April 16, 2013 at 9:37 pm | Reply
    • george o.m

      in fact i'd love to know how they took this poll she talked about. this sort of thing is almost impossible to be polarized in the areas where it's most needed. they haven't quite figured out how to handle a successful census yet and they most likely have no idea how many people live in the ghettos and what their power supply is like. there is no form of social security or any kind of computerized record of how the power holding administers electricity. if at all they took any poll, i'll bet they just spoke with a controlled group of about 100 people from the same neighborhood, there is just no way a properly carried out poll would give the results they claim

      April 16, 2013 at 9:58 pm | Reply
    • Adenike Adebayo

      What valid points? She was part of the past administration and herself has not been free of corruption so what valid points are you referring to? Not only is she overated, she's a liar. Only foreigners and their press can believe her garbage.

      April 17, 2013 at 4:12 am | Reply
      • george o.m

        you didnt read my whole post, i said she made some valid points regarding the struggle in other developing countries. they are struggling as well aren't they? but i went on to say that its the only point she made and of course its been the same regime all through

        April 17, 2013 at 8:13 am |
      • Emmanuel

        Firstly, i really wonder what Okonjo-Iweala learnt while at world bank as it is obvious that she is not in any way impacting on the system. Sorry, she actually is impacting, but most definately not positively. Its a shame that she could come on air and say that the power problems are perculiar to developing countries. What has that got to do with the fact that her government granted state pardon to a former governor who stole public funds and jumped bail in the uk. Noticed she never answered the "real" question.....she only succeded in chasing her tail...running round in circles. Finance minister, it is a SHAME that at your level you can let your self be counted amongst bandits.

        April 17, 2013 at 8:41 am |
    • abdulrasaq kazeem

      thanks for your comments, you see in my area MUSHIN,LAGOS. We have not have electricity for the past three weeks and the staff PHCN Still have the gut to ask us to contribute money for repair and at the end of the day they still bill us for power we do not use. may God help us.

      April 21, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Reply
  2. Tony

    "Selling of everything" including the police and the presidency to foreign private investor. Wish you all the best.

    April 16, 2013 at 10:34 pm | Reply
    • Dee

      They are selling to powerful individuals and creating cabals. We have invented a new form of capitalism. It is the extreme one called cabalism. NOI is trying to defend the indefensible. I really pity her.

      April 17, 2013 at 6:19 am | Reply
  3. afam23

    On the power sector,Gej regime has perform far more better than 8 years put together Obasanjo served.Obasanjo was quoted to have spent over$16billion USD on power sector without adding 1MW.Obasanjo regime spent 8 years playing to the gallery on power sector privatization without success.The decades of Nigerian problems can not be wipe out in just 2 years.Nevertheless am not given this regime credit but we must admit we had these problems and more newly created once before this regime.International communities should stop buying stolen crude oil because those crude oil are not sold in the ghost market but the same people who are calling Nigeria a corrupt country.

    April 16, 2013 at 11:03 pm | Reply
    • Mandin

      The basis of comparison with the previous administrations is not even relevant. The previous administrations failed as regards the power sector, that is an incontestable fact. This present administration is no different from them. How can they possibly fix the power situation when the biggest supplier of Diesel to the nation (Femi Otedola) is best friends with the President and his corrupt and greedy wife. The World should know that the Jonathans are reincarnation of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos of Philippines

      April 17, 2013 at 6:41 am | Reply
    • Blog popplonogis

      I hate to bust your bubble. It is the other way round. Jonathan has not added a single MW since he started gallivanting around aso rock. All the power stations he is going around commissioning were paid for by OBJ. So get at fact straight and do away with those beer palor gossips.also the cost was $6 billion not the $16 billion rumour peddlers, are bandying about.
      In fact, jonathan has not added any value to the nigerian society since at attaining power. You know how bad Abacha was;nigeria earned more money from oil last year than was earned in the entire 8 years of IBB or the 6yrs of Abacha .despite this, GEJ is on a borrowing binge with this so called world bank expert at the helms. The woman at the core is one big empty suit.
      She sends a big shiver own my spine whenever she speaks. Always regurgitating the conservative textbook rubbish of the Chicago school of economic destruction.a big neo liberal plant eager to sell off what is remaining of the children's inheritance. I will take the more practical and grassroot real economist ;late professor Sam aluko of over this so-called expert .

      April 17, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Reply
      • mgates

        What a wicked comment from you. Please be careful what you say or write it could backfire on you.

        April 18, 2013 at 11:32 am |
  4. Adeola

    I cannot believe this. This guy just lied so confidently to the international community. I am not aware of any Nigerian "pleased with the government's commitment to improve power." One cannot begin to lament on the injustice of the Nigerian government, most especially the current administration. Goodluck continues to show total lack of concern towards the sufferings of the common Nigerian. It is evident we need help from the international community but the lies of this man continually imprison us in our home. One cannot argue that he is unaware of the direct pains and sufferings his administration inflicts upon Nigerians on a constant basis. When are we going to wholly stand up to these 'democratic dictators', political nuisances, 'legal thieves & murderers'?!

    April 16, 2013 at 11:50 pm | Reply
  5. Okey

    The President, as well as the minister, were right about improvements in the power sector. however, more has to be done. I can testify to improved power to my neighbourhood. New power plants are being commissioned. Nigerians are just too critical of government, whereas in their little domains, they do nothing to help improve the country's situation.

    April 17, 2013 at 12:26 am | Reply
  6. Okey

    I am one Nigerian. Now you are aware. You don't have to allow politics blind your judgement. The government is working hard on power reforms. Are you not aware of the privatization of the entlire power plants? Are you not aware of newly commissioned power plants? are you not aware of the gas-power master plan? if you are in the niger delta, you will see ongoing pipeline projects routing gas to locations earmarked as industrial hubs. Please, it will get to you, if it hasn't. The president has his weaknesses, as do any man, he needs our support irrespective of regional affiliations.

    April 17, 2013 at 12:38 am | Reply
    • luda

      privatization my ass,the one been bought by there cronies. guy you dey learn work

      April 17, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Reply
    • george o.m

      okey abeg stop that behavior, what has your neighborhood got to do with the 54% that she blatantly lied about in this mystery poll that they took? we all know that they lack the know how or commitment to carry out such a poll

      April 17, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Reply

    Decades of corruption and zero investment cannot be wiped out in 2yrs, its a long journey. I think the presidency is doing its best

    April 17, 2013 at 1:26 am | Reply
  8. Abidemi Oluyemi

    There is no need to beat around the bush, a country of 170 million people, and Ngozi says 999.9% are honest, that's a BIG lie from the pit of hell.
    All we hear everyday from situations that occur in Nigeria is: 'we re on top of the situation', or a committee would be set up to look into it. Don't let us deceive ourselves, Nigeria is full of corrupt people, insensitive leaders, who don't care about the masses. Why go on CNN, BBC to lie about the Nation.
    Since GEJ assumed office as President, his former, convicted boss has been in almost all events in Aso Rock, at least we see him on TV. The hard question to answer now is, Why the pardon? A thief, rogue, impersonator. The judiciary has not helped matters because they are being controlled from the top. In NigeriaN crime that is committed by top government officials can go free, but let a poverty impoverished person commits a crime he goes to jail. Why?. Someone steals billions of tax payers money and he/she parades self around at functions, let alone he who steals a mobile phone, he is sent to jail. That's what works in Nigeria.
    Where are all the funding by world bank, IMF to develop Nigeria, to execute and achieve the Millennium goals; it has been used to buy cars for people, build houses at the expense of the citizenry. There's more to be said, but let me stop here. Judgment cometh soon on all corrupt leader.

    April 17, 2013 at 2:22 am | Reply
    • george o.m

      and it's funny because when they see Christiane amanpour they will sit down there and blatantly lie, almost like they don't expect any nigerians to have CNN access

      April 17, 2013 at 8:16 am | Reply
  9. Taoheed

    We have to be sincere to ourself as a nation, we have a very long way to go and worst of it is that we are not even in right direction to save this great country called Nigeria, the only problem we have is our leaders they were too corrupt and this corruption affect we citizen greatly you can imagine at 21st century we don't have stable elctricity, good road, health care system, shelter even our education is in total collapsed. ask Ngozi if any member of her family go to school in nigeria or hospital and all our leaders the answer is no , if any member of their family have a sligth headache they fly them abroad for medical treatment because they know that the hospital they provide for the citizen are death trap. i know we don't have to watch our dirty linen outside but they have move us beyond the wall , we can't bear it anymore there is so much poverty in land i mean abject poverty may God save us form this our so called leaders amin

    April 17, 2013 at 2:37 am | Reply
  10. Lance Chambers

    Shouldn't corruption that impedes a countries economy be considered as a type of Treason against the country in question? If laws could be changed to include this as a form of Treason the penalties for treason could stem the time maybe?

    April 17, 2013 at 2:38 am | Reply
  11. DanEtete

    How I wish she responded to the corruption question. There is no justification pardoning treasury looter! What legacy are you leaving behind? I'm sorry to say nothing has improved in my country.I believe she isn't among the 99.9% she talked about....... We need to address our structural problems, reduce the power at the center, restore regional governments...etc

    April 17, 2013 at 2:45 am | Reply
  12. akinmusi

    Please, let's be realistic. Power could be available in some areas of the country. But I must tell you sincerely that my posting on this blog is made possible with the use of a power generator. Imagine!

    Politics or no politics, let the truth be told, I am a Nigerian but I am not happy the way and trend corruption is going. Though GEJ regime is quite better than OBJ regime.

    The stolen oil is also a challenge. The people from the Int'l Community attribute the word "corruption" to Nigeria, any time that names ring a bell. But how an ironical shape it has taken when it's obvious members of this group are also the ones buying this stolen oil.

    Boko Haram and Amnesty, I don't even want to go there.

    In conclusion, the economy is being impoverished by money/funds stolen by the people in the government. All hands must be on deck to curb this insanity.

    April 17, 2013 at 2:54 am | Reply
  13. Anthony Omokha

    Generally, I thought Iweala did a good job, but she did not address the corruption question and she kept comparing Nigeria to other country, rather than talking about how we should address our problem. Not to mention some of those other countries she used in her analogous statements are not as oil rich as Nigeria is ... get rid of corruption and you fix the problem. No corruption = greater investments across the board from the public and private sectors. Done.

    April 17, 2013 at 3:09 am | Reply
  14. Seun Kuti

    I believe that she can only sell those stories to those who forget too quickly. Wasnt she a part of the previous administration? She was Finance minister when OBJ spent $16bn on NIPP(National independent power program) and we still didnt see a single improvement. SO how can she say previous governments have not invested enough. The question here is what did she do with her own hare of that 16billion?............

    April 17, 2013 at 3:34 am | Reply
    • Chineme

      You are dead wrong. stop being tribal sir. She actually mentioned OBJ's administration as having invested in power, so stop lying and twisting her words.

      April 17, 2013 at 8:39 am | Reply
  15. Adedamola Adesina

    Well,as for me Nigerian Government LOVE DARKNESS that why POWER will not be stable in Nigeria, all because most of People in Government deals in oil business, for example go to Victoria Island in Lagos, all the Big High Rise Building are using diesel to run Business or Home.Go to Computer Village in Ikeja,Lagos, all the small scale business are using Generator to Power the small equipment to keep the business moving. Corruption in Judiciary all over the Federation. Nigerian Youth will keep Travelling Out of this Corrupt Nation for Greener Pasture, that why you see Nigerian Youth all over the World. WE NEED CHANGE IN NIGERIA.

    April 17, 2013 at 4:29 am | Reply
  16. okpara Okonjo

    Government is not the best person to run anything. Government just have to get out and focus on providing Security, Justice, Civil and Property Rights.

    April 17, 2013 at 4:46 am | Reply
    • Ade

      Government is getting out of everything am becoming increasingly irresponsible and yet go home with fat salaries and bonuses. What have they provided/? Security? Electricity? Good Roads? Water? We make $$billions of dollars per day and yet cant build a single refinary and concession it (take the lead). They are ruining the economy in the name of foreign investment, not protecting our local industries. weak legislation makes these foreigners cart away with all the profits! Where is the enabling environment for business they claim? They are very disconnected with the people. They are so disconnected, even their words! What a government.! No planning, no plan for modern fast trains with population growth of about 4million a year! Where there is no Vision, the people perish. But i think its a reverse in my country: Where the people have Vision, the leaders perish!

      April 17, 2013 at 7:33 am | Reply
  17. Bola

    Honestly speaking without prejudice to any one,nothing has improved in Nigeria. In fact,things are getting worse by the day. Take it from Power, infrastructure,unemployment,poverty,corruption to mention but few. empirical fact are here to show. We all know that is an abomination for any government official to say the truth in Nigeria.

    April 17, 2013 at 5:13 am | Reply
  18. Wahala-419

    She did not really answer any question of Amanpour.....may be what you mean is 99.99% of nigerians are corrupt?
    In Nigeria, if a person is not corrupt it is because he or she is not in the position to corrupt anyone.

    April 17, 2013 at 5:28 am | Reply
  19. Olalekan

    I dont want to say much but she did admit that we have a problem, these issues took decades to get us in this pitiable situation and ALL Nigerians including other countries want it solved in 2 years,it'll take Miracle for it to happen in 2yrs.

    April 17, 2013 at 5:46 am | Reply
    • Chineme

      Thanks my brother. People actually expect Jonathan to solve years of bad leadership under 2 years? what nonsense.

      April 17, 2013 at 8:37 am | Reply
  20. Fola King

    I'm surprised that Ngozi did not answer the question on the pardon given to the former crook governor. She rather went on to talk about some funny 99% blah blah blah and that corruption is not peculiar to Nigeria (too bad). Truth is – without a REVOLUTION in Nigeria, the political elite will continue to punish the masses. Electricity in my area has been the worst ever and corruption continues to triumph over good governance. Where is the Judiciary? What has been done to the fuel thieves? Nothing. What has been done about the Farouk Vs Otedola case? Nothing. When everyone in Nigeria is knowledgeable enough about the lies our leaders are telling us, then we can come out to fight for our rights. Till then, let Nigerians continue the suffering and smiling.

    Check out this link produced by a true Nigerian –

    April 17, 2013 at 7:03 am | Reply
    • sammy long

      she does well as an economic adviser and that can not be taken away from her. As a minister, I bet you she has good prospects. She has learnt their(politician) way of talking and same time been politicaly correct. Perhaps President Goodluck should learn from her in addressing the media. Her facts are "correct". 54% said their is SOME KIND of IMPROVEMENT. To put it in context, most of those 54% would have thought Tstatistically we used to get 3 hours electricity supply daily and now it is about 4 hours daily. Statistically thats about 33% improvement to the previous supply.
      Why was Ex Governor pardoned? Ngozi's answer: even if u catch somebody and take them to court and they are let off lightly, the President can't do nothing about that. So you see she answered.
      President goodluck would not have had this strong criticism from CNN if he could answer like this 🙂

      April 18, 2013 at 4:51 am | Reply
  21. Mandin

    Poverty has turned most Nigerians into sycophants, hence, we tend to lick the foots of some of this leaders. Some folks here say their power has improved, the point is not for your power to improve just because you reside on same street with a government official. Most Nigerian infrastructures are broken beyond repairs, government officials steal so much money, it is ridiculous. No one fears the charade called EFCC set up by the government to prosecute financial crimes. The worst EFCC does is to arrest you, embarrass you on national television and release you after a few weeks once you give them bribes from the loot. It is a shameless country, we labour in vain, and the Finance minister, with her extensive experience at the World bank, continues her comparison with other failed states. SHAME

    April 17, 2013 at 7:05 am | Reply
  22. Adeballer

    Folks who have commented have said it all. Dear Amanpour, please stop inviting these folks to your show. They have no conscience. They LIE without flinching. They insult the populace intellectual capability.

    Ask NOI anything bothering on her responsibilities, her regular slogan is that " I do not know, or not aware. It is either she is incompetent or hiding something clandestine.

    April 17, 2013 at 8:04 am | Reply
  23. Alade

    Anyone that cannot openly condemn the pardon granted to a confirm thief and looter of public funds (and instead start yelling about the need to strengthen the roles of the judiaciary and legislative arm of government) is an enemy of the state. I think we should empower Amanpour to slap such government officials on behalf of Nigerians as every word from their lips is equivalent to a lie.

    April 17, 2013 at 8:57 am | Reply
  24. Frank

    Realization of uninterrupted power supply in Nigeria is still a mirage. Granted, that FG, is working hard at it, more still has to be done in areas of distribution and tariff. My city has been out of power for 3 days now, but i believe that if all that is in the power master plan is implementation and executed to %100 completion, we will be close to that dream.

    April 17, 2013 at 9:36 am | Reply
  25. dream team

    good talk Okonjo, for once we are not saying we are top,but that we have accepted our struggles. Backing up your points with facts is commendable. You also did well to separate the politics of our corruption from the politics of solving the issue.

    April 17, 2013 at 10:04 am | Reply
  26. Yemi

    I wonder if Okonjo-iweala is also compromised. Then I think to myself, why should she be, after all she is well accomplished and already established as a global force to reckon with in the knowledge of world economics. However, her continued existence in governments has not impacted on the common man so I am forced to align with Mr Seun Kuti and desire her answer to the question...what did she do with her own share of that 16billion?............

    April 17, 2013 at 10:17 am | Reply
  27. Kanmi Iyanda

    "Do the right thing before water pass garri, before gun turn to wetin every man dey wan carry"

    – Dat N*gga Raw

    April 17, 2013 at 11:15 am | Reply
  28. Henry

    Dear Christiane,
    I want to say a big thank you to you and CNN for the great work you are doing on your program "Amanpour". In response to your yesterday's interview with my country's Minister of Finance, the respected Ngozi Okonjoh – Iweala. I am sincerely disappointed and greatly pained in my heart that a woman I, and I believe a good number of Nigerian, respect a lot can come to a platform like your program and make statements that are obvious fallacies.

    I must sound clearly that I have nothing, personal, against the honourable minister. When she was given that appointment, I was happy because of her perdiggree, moreso, we happen to be from the same town where her very respected father is the current king.
    She should endeavour to be honest and remain the Ngozi some of us believe she has been. I like to say that I considered most of her responses to your questions evasive. How could you ask a finance minister about the corruption we all know is the bane of this potentially great and blessed country Nigeria and she’s telling you there’s corruption everywhere? Is Nigeria’s corruption problem and it’s magnitude an outcome of the corruption in other places? This is why I think she is evading your question.
    Let me use one point to show you that this Nigerian Icon was not being sincere. She claims that over 90% of Nigerians are honest and incorrupt. WOW!
    Is it 90% of our politicians, or 90% of our teachers and lecturers, or 90% of the police force, or 90% of the members of the president’s cabinet, or 90% of leaders and operators of the judicial system, or 90% of the legislature, or 90% of the clergy, (please note I am a clergy man) or even 90% of the general populace? Christian, please help me ask the honourable minister, how possible is it for over 90% of the population of a country to be incorrupt and yet every facet of our national life is marred with corruption daily.
    If over 90% were clean why is our corruption index so truthfully high? Christian what did the respected Icon tell you was the reason for the presidential pardon of persons wanted in other parts of the world because I couldn’t make out anything of all she said on that issue. May be it is because 90% of us or more are so clean that’s why the likes of James Ibori was acquitted in our country and convicted in another country over our money he stole (please note I and Dr Ngozi are from Delta state that Ibori ruled and looted for 8 yrs)
    Because I respect Dr Okonjo Iweala a lot, I suggest she is given another platform on CNN to make amends please christiane. I pray and believe that God will help my country Nigeria. I hope you are praying for us too.

    April 17, 2013 at 11:18 am | Reply
  29. Charles

    Henry, you have been paid by politicians to write up this long ceremonial letter. You are confusing Nigerians and the world. Be very careful of your comments.

    April 17, 2013 at 11:38 am | Reply
  30. Charles


    April 17, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Reply
  31. Uka

    I was happy when Christiane asked Ngozi what she thinks about President Goodluck absolving ex-Bayelsa state Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha because he had been "remorseful". But to my utter shock and dismay, she blatantly justified the unthinkable act with a series of off-track hypothetical examples of the achievements of the Nigerian goverment. If Ngozi can see no wrong in this, then she is not in any position to fight corruption.

    April 17, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Reply
    • sammy long

      Dear Uka, Mrs Ngozi answered Ex Governor pardon's question. "If you catch somebody and you take them to court and the court decides to let them off lightly what can the president do". In democracy the president can not overturn the decisions of the court. Even president Obama could not overtun the recent decision that blocks extensive nackground check on US gun owners. Although he and 90% of his party members wanted a different outcome.

      April 18, 2013 at 5:15 am | Reply
  32. Jonny Dest

    i keep wondering why Okonjo-Iweala compares Nigeria with other developing Nations, her comparism is so off point. Just because South Africa, Chine and other developing nations struggles with Electricity an infrastructure doesn't mean Nigeria should Struggle. her other Argument was the problems were inherited by the present Govt... my take is, the Jonathan govt should FIX the problems Nigerians are facing and STOP complaining, They have all the resources at there disposal to perform. Okonjo-iweala is just a cog in the Govt blowing her masters trumpet.

    April 17, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Reply
  33. Kingsbare

    All our intellectuals has failed us,

    April 17, 2013 at 1:21 pm | Reply
    • Olutayo Durodola

      they are scarcely intellectuals otherwise we would have seen results by now.

      April 17, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Reply
  34. ikenna

    what else do you want to hear you ingrates, nothing ever pleases you people that why you never get anything from your leaders because you don't know it is wrong for you to insult the leader of a people. if outsiders say Nigeria if an empire of evil is that what you want her to affirm to? she has correctly attended to all the questions and on corruption. Technology and that the people should be separated from the rough cash. May God bless Nigeria.

    April 17, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Reply
  35. Evelyn

    Christie,you are one journalist I respect for your professionalism and note for details but this interview with mrs Ngozi Iweala, you came short. Please note that you have been lied to and deceived. We have pathological liars at the helm of affairs here. Your lack of background and in depth investigation, left you short of words or intimidated. Wishing you all the best

    April 17, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Reply
    • Olutayo Durodola

      True, Amanpour should not let these lying vampires off so lightly at least show them the error of their ways, I mean tell them they are liars and they should be ashamed of it.

      April 17, 2013 at 7:14 pm | Reply
      • sammy long

        I think she was able to tell President Goodluck that his facts were not correct. But Technically Ngozi answered the questions very well apart from saying 99.9% Nigerians are honest.
        She has run for international political office at a high level, she knows how to get her facts straight and avoid direct answers. The press does not want to be lied to but they do not demand direct answers and compulsory answers either.

        April 18, 2013 at 5:09 am |
  36. Bright

    I see My father's Land Nigeria as a land with prosperity and proggress.I know the Gorvernment of Gej is doing his best to bring Nigeria back to her feet, we Nigerian's have to encourage him when we see good things not only saying the bad side, though it is good to critizise when a leader is not doing well, just like the pardon he gave to his formal boss, this is good critisizm, if you obseve the Honourable minister jumped that because she is not in possition to answer that question. This was done by her boss the President and he is liable to answer why that Pardon to such a corrupt person that is on the run in london. I believe her and I know she is doing all her best in spreading the wealth over Nigeria.Those corrupt leaders are there to slow her down, but with God in our side Nigeria will stand up on her feet again.

    April 17, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Reply
  37. Walter

    I am honestly proud to be a Nigerian.
    With the state of things in the country Nigeria to my opinion is a failed state, all forms of security are appalling.
    Corruption has plagued the Nation like an influenza without cure.
    Having said that, greediness is destroying my country.

    April 17, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Reply
  38. dare moses

    this is a country that GOD loves very much with all the abundant infracstructures and fertile land for agric production etc they are eating this country wealth as they exchange batting on a relay race from one govt to another GOD will surely judge them Madam finance is also big fish among those thiefs

    April 17, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Reply
  39. debores50

    I was shocked to hear from Mrs. Ngozi Eweala, a top member of Federal Executive Council, that 99.9% of Nigerians are honest. This simply indicates that she and the government she represents are completely ignorant of the level of corruption in Nigeria. It is obvious from this that she and her group lack the ability to fight corruption. I make bold to say that if just only 60% of Nigerians are honest Nigeria will not be labeled as a corrupt country which she truly is.

    April 17, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Reply
    • sammy long

      Yeah 99.9% honest people is not true and it will be cool if 60% are honest. But that will mean about 40% are corrupt which evaluates to 64 million corrupt people assuming a 160 million population. Wow! thats a lot of corrupt people in one country

      April 18, 2013 at 5:03 am | Reply
  40. Moses Buchi

    FG uncovers fresh N3.2tr Abacha loot

    Billions of dollars stashed away in foreign bank accounts by the late military dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha, may far exceed the already established $5 billion, as a Special Investigation Panel (SIP), tracing what has now become ‘Abacha loot,’ has stumbled on fresh clues indicating that the stolen funds still trapped in offshore accounts stand at over N3.2 trillion.

    A competent source close to the panel, whose office is in the presidency told Saturday Sun that about four different meetings between the SIP team headed by a retired senior military officer and a Switzerland-based lawyer, Enrico Monfrini, hired by the Federal Government to assist in the recovery of the Abacha loot in foreign jurisdictions, had taken place outside the country in the last eight months.

    Monfrini is an Attorney-at-Law, Monfrini Grettol & Associés, Geneva, Switzerland. The source, who preferred to be anonymous because of the sensitive nature of the subject, said: “In the course of the recent meetings between the Nigerian team and authorities in about four other jurisdictions as well as the team from the foreign legal firm, it was discovered that a lot of underhand dealings must have taken place in the recovery of the Abacha loot.

    “This was largely responsible for the under-declaration of what has been recovered so far by three successive governments and worse still what is still trapped in offshore accounts, which, in our estimation, in our last meeting with our foreign team, stands at $210 billion.” Some of the foreign jurisdictions, where the stolen funds had been traced to include Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. One of the latest discoveries includes a $550 million in a coded account in France.

    “It has been very difficult to get details out into the public domain so far because the latest process is being secretly coordinated by the retired senior military officer heading the SIP in the presidency and the Attorney General of the federation, who provides legal advice for the team,” the source added. The Federal Government was said to have been encouraged to dig deeper into the Abacha loot because of a recent statement credited to the Swiss lawyer, Monfrini, handling the case.

    While giving further insight into previous efforts to recover the stolen money, the lawyer was quoted to have said: “Civil action was initiated by the Federal Republic of Nigeria before the High Court of London in May 1999. It resulted in the seizing of only USD 60 million in the United Kingdom. The ‘full account’ given by the members of Abacha family was notoriously incomplete, notably in respect of their Swiss, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg assets, totaling USD 1.5 billion, which were entirely omitted.

    Less than USD 10 million of frozen assets been forfeited and recovered in the United Kingdom, none of which was through civil proceedings.” Only the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo has been able to record the highest amount of $1.25 billion from the Abacha loot. The preceding regime of General Abdulsalami Abubakar and the succeeding government of the late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua could not do much in this regard notwithstanding the efforts also made. Obasanjo recently gave an indication that much could still be trapped outside the country when he declared, at a function in Delta State: “When I was president, I called the World Bank.

    I said, please, give me the list of the amount that has been stolen, where it is kept and who the beneficiaries are. I never got anything from the World Bank thereafter. We have on our own decided that we will investigate and get from one family, Abacha family alone. “From the Abacha family alone, we recovered millions of dollars.

    I got 1.25 billion dollars and the lawyer in Switzerland (he is still there), who was doing it for us, said, when I was leaving, that if we worked harder, there was still, at least, one billion dollars that we can get from that family alone.” General Sani Abacha had ruled Nigeria as a military Head of State between November 17, 1993 and June 8, 1998, when he died suddenly of a heart attack. As a result, General Abdulsalami Abubakar became the head of state and within a short time, he re-established democracy in Nigeria, arranging for general elections that resulted in the emergence of Obasanjo assuming the presidency as the democratically elected leader of the country in 1999.

    Before Obasanjo took office, Abubakar’s government had delivered a clear message that Abacha had looted huge sums, and they had to be restored. Members of the Abacha family and some of their accomplice then ‘voluntarily’ returned approximately $1 billion to the Federal Government. In 2002, the Obasanjo administration tentatively came to an agreement with the Abacha family to return another $1 billion out of the $1.1 billion that had been identified, traced and frozen, with the quid pro quo that the Abachas would be allowed to keep balance that had been assessed not to be of criminal origin.

    The arrangement was not well received by the masses. Although the proposal caused a massive outcry for seeming to reward the theft of public funds, it was subsequently rejected by the late dictator’s son, Mohammed Abacha, who continued to maintain that all the assets in question were legitimately acquired. The highest sum that had in the past been traced to the family ranged from $3 billion to $5 billion, which includes money allegedly derived from misappropriation of funds from the Central Bank of Nigeria, bribes received from multi-nationals, among others.

    The Swiss government last December said that it has so far returned to Nigeria the sum of $700 million stolen by the late dictator and deposited in several Swiss banks. The Swiss ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Hans-Rudolf Hodel, had announced the figure at a media briefing in Abuja. In addition to freezing about $640 million, the Swiss judicial authorities handling the case have also indicted Mohammed Abacha and Atiku Bagudu under Swiss legislation regarding money laundering, fraud and taking part in a criminal organisation.

    While the latest discovery of the volume of stolen funds still trapped outside the country may appear as an indication of a breakthrough in the renewed effort to recover the looted funds, the sad news is, however, that Nigeria may never get the money back through the legal means it has been following since 1999.

    “In one of the last meetings before the SIP team stopped foreign trips on the case, the Nigerian government was told in plain terms that it will be too hard to get the money repatriated to the country through any court case or legal battles except through diplomatic negotiations with the foreign jurisdictions where these funds have been servicing their economies,” our source added.

    It was further gathered that the Jonathan administration is already contemplating the idea of checking the record of recoveries made under the coordination of a former National Security Adviser (NSA).

    As a result, the SIP was said to have recently interacted with a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, DIG Peter Gana who worked with the ex-security adviser on the recovery of the Abacha loot with a view to getting certain clues needed for further probe.

    April 17, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Reply
  41. Dr R

    She is a disagree to the entire naija. Diverting answers

    April 17, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Reply
  42. Richy ome

    Is dearly painful to see how we are sleeping while others are fast Busy building their tomorrow, the time remain watching but not waiting , we are only creating a punishment for our next coming generations , as we are having today. Our ancestors refused to embraced the grace of their time , so we lost the dreamed glories, if we remain blind and refuse to take the moment, the time will be the judge and it will place our future where it deserved. Pointing the finger at one another have never helped and will never help,is time we realized that each and everyone are part of the problem, let stop blaming the government alone and stop buying the cheap saying " if you can't beat them joint them" which is normally used to defend their corrupt art. The fact is that we have refused to realized that we have mistaken corruption for tradition, the notion is we have made corruption the way of lives ,that a lot people don't even know they are doing wrong when they are doing it or don't even know what they doing is illegal .
    The solution is Acknowledging the problem in all aspect, although embracing the technology as the lady says" will be part of the solution, social and total awareness making people to know what and how they are doing it, and the problem they are causing to the well being of the societies , starting from the grassroots making it a social subject in the school, a debate in the societies , in tv, radio , news paper , Internet and in all the social media. Let reach people in all the way we can, inform, teach and make them a participate to eradicate corruption . Is what we can do if we want to wake this great nation Nigeria up from this corrupt snubbing God Bless Nigeria

    April 17, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Reply
  43. Olutayo Durodola

    Oh my God! I can't look at these government people, they defend the lie with all four corners of their mouth. Why would a "democratic" government pardon a confirmed criminal like Alayeimeshia especially when it is glaring that this president has a vested interest in the pardoned person, then Iweala will not even answer the questions put to her but instead blame other countries for being corrupt too, Nigeria, menn I give up!!! Mind you Mrs Economist corruption has little to do with cash or people being close to cash It is a matter of personal choice.

    April 17, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Reply
  44. up nigeria

    I am a procurement professional and one thing I have come to realise that is lacking in Nigeria is separation of functions or authorities. If there are no good structures in place, corruption is almost inevitable and I strongly agree with the minister that technology may be the answer to the problem of corruption in Nigeria. IT systems should be introduce to reduce environment that supports corruption. If most transactions are carried out electronically, abuse of power could be check and stopped easily compared to environments where most transactions are done face to face. We should focus our energy on setting up these control measure that can increase transparency to government activities and you will find out that corrupt will drop drastically. Take for example, when police officers in most developed countries are engaged in any activity, that activity is monitored by a third party which puts the office on check as he or she knows that someone is on the other side monitoring them. This is what we need most in Nigeria now. We can focus on the prosecutions later but let get this one right first.

    April 17, 2013 at 7:39 pm | Reply
  45. felix ogugbuaja

    Figting corruption is the least on govt. agnder because the govt. officials are the people benefiting from corruption.While they speak of anti grat war they continue to amass wealth, they are just been pretentious on the issue of tackling corruption, A govt, that wastes 1 trillion naira on security every year ends up with the worst state of e insecurity, a country that earn above 5 trillion naira in a yr. cannot improve on the life of her citizens, and they are not happy for people to say that they are corrupt. What a shame.

    April 18, 2013 at 12:12 am | Reply
  46. Opeolu Awolesi

    Im quite dissappointed in her response to the questions. It shows her depth in understanding the problems at hand. She is a good economist and her understanding of macro economics is without any doubt. But she just does not understand that there are basic issues that need to be in place before her theories can thrive. This confirms again that Technocracy does not always equates Governance.
    Ngozi would make a good economic adviser rather than a minister.

    April 18, 2013 at 4:29 am | Reply
    • sammy long

      she does well as an economic adviser and that can not be taken away from her. As a minister, I bet you she has good prospects. She has learnt their(politician) way of talking and same time been politicaly correct. Perhaps President Goodluck should learn from her in addressing the media. Her facts are "correct". 54% said their is SOME KIND of IMPROVEMENT. To put it in context, most of those 54% would have thought Tstatistically we used to get 3 hours electricity supply daily and now it is about 4 hours daily. Statistically thats about 33% improvement to the previous supply.
      Why was Ex Governor pardoned? Ngozi's answer: even if u catch somebody and take them to court and they are let off lightly, the President can't do nothing about that. So you see she answered.
      President goodluck would not have had this strong criticism from CNN if he could answer like this 🙂

      April 18, 2013 at 4:53 am | Reply
  47. czar

    for some of us Ma,you represent what journalism should be;BOLD and IN YOUR FACE but please enough of these Nigerian Shenanigans.She was part of a corrupt Obasonjo regime,and an inept Goodluck fiasco.She is a rogue by all standards,after all she she swore that the fuel subsidy will start in April 2012 only for us to wake up on the 1st of January to this anomaly.This is one of her various SINS.Tell her to go back to her puppet masters,IMF WORLD BANK et al

    April 18, 2013 at 6:34 am | Reply
  48. Onyeoma

    Ngozi please answer the question on DSP Alams presidential pardon. "Run round the pepper tree no climbing" Mtchewwwwwwwwwwww

    April 18, 2013 at 7:28 am | Reply
  49. Henri

    Goes to show how fast it is for "good hearted people" to be easily corrupted.
    What a waste of a brilliant career...

    April 18, 2013 at 8:20 am | Reply
  50. issa

    Shame on you Ngozi for not answering the query about the questionable pardon of a rogue.

    April 18, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Reply
  51. Mayowa

    Dr. Okonjo Iweala has proven to understand the issue and doing something about it. I am highly impressed with this interview. She is a pride to the African continent and the country of Nigeria.

    April 18, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Reply
  52. Nosa

    She was my Favourite Technocrat or Politician, but after that Interview I ERASE her from my cannot imagine, 99% of Nigerians are Honest....? I,m a Nigerian! Perhaps she ist the 1%... Dishonesty in my country is a Generational SPELL. Even the sole called men of God cannot cast it OUT...They are parttakers.. "Truth is Bitter in Nigeria". GOD!!! BLESS MY BELOVED COUNTRY WITH TRUE AND HUMBLE LEADERS! Amen

    April 18, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Reply
  53. C. Jones

    Amanpour pls read this: Thanks for always highlighting Nigeria.Mrs Iweala is intelligent and knows her job but I must say she was being diplomatic.why the artful dodging of the pardon given to Ex-Gov? Why say 99.9% of Nigerians are honest? Why say the power supply has improved? Why compare Nigeria to China, SAfrica etc.we all know corruption is in all countries but Nigeria has a MAJOR problem. China, SAfrica even Ghana and Ivorycoast have excellent infrastructures compared to Nigeria.I think its in bad taste to defend a country blindly though she admitted the country is still poor. We talk too much in dis country for 52yrs. America and the west had no country to take cues from and the are a success. The middle east and asia has improved exponentially. And Africa especially Nigeria with 170m we often like to boast and oil can't make considerable head way in this present day. We should be smart like the middle east that hv taken cues frm the west. I wondered why u let on a leash this time but she handled the interview better than our president. Pls why don't u profile Gov Fashola of Lagos State. He's working quite well. Thanks.

    April 18, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Reply
  54. tunslori

    Every country have their challenges, inclusive of the so-called developed world.

    NOI did not justify the pardon given to the Ex-Gov neither did she say there is power everywhere in Nigeria. She might have exaggerated that 99.9% of Nigerians are honest.
    However, if anyone accuses NOI of lying to the international community, then listen to this:

    1. You are part of the greater problem if you don't stop at zebra crossing for pedestrians to cross. This is corruption.
    2. You are part of the greater problem if you jump cues. This is corruption.
    3. You are part of the greater problem if you get to your office at 8:01am and register 7:59am. This is corruption.
    4. You are part of the greater problem if PHCN cuts your power supply and you call an electrician to reconnect without settling your bill. This is corruption.
    5. You are part of the greater problem if you copy and paste your final year project from an already finished work rather than doing the research yourself. This is corruption.
    6. You are part of the greater problem if you buy pirated CDs and DVDs from computer village as well buy pirated films (100 in 1). This is corruption.
    7. You are part of the greater problem if you tip policemen and other law enforcement agents. This is corruption.
    8. You are part of the greater problem if you don't report an unsolicited credit in your bank account. This is corruption.
    9. You are part of the greater problem if you impregnate and lady and encourage her to abort. This is corruption.
    10. You are part of the greater problem if you still discriminate against women. This is corruption.

    These societal ills are innumerable and they exist in every country. The Nigeria of today may not be the Nigeria of our dream but let's remember that Rome was not built in a day neither can the rot that have existed for decades be wiped out overnight. We are yet to have visionary leaders who are driven by passion for positive change and really know what they ought to do but we'll get there someday.

    My submission is that Mrs Iweala has done well.

    April 18, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Reply
  55. Tola

    Reblogged this on In My Mind It Makes Sense.

    April 18, 2013 at 9:47 pm | Reply
  56. Name*Mrs Mary Y. Yahaya

    Yes there has been very little inprovement in the power sector but not good enough. We need electricity that is uninterrupted plsssss.

    April 19, 2013 at 1:26 am | Reply
  57. Angel Stanley

    Its amazing how she couldn't answer any of Amanpour's questions.instead she chose to cover up each questions by comparing Nigerian problems with other progressive countries. Always same excuse from each government.:"well we didn't create the problems,the past government did","well we are not the only country that are corrupt","well we ask the international community to help us". "ohh we cant fix Nigeria problems in one day".its always same rhetoric and lies.God please help us.

    April 19, 2013 at 1:53 am | Reply
  58. Angel Stanley

    Always same excuse from each government.:"well we didn't create the problems,the past government did","well we are not the only country that are corrupt","well we ask the international community to help us". "ohh we cant fix Nigeria problems in one day".its always same rhetoric and lies.God please help us.

    April 19, 2013 at 1:55 am | Reply
  59. Claudia

    hmm Dr. Ngozi Iweala!!! dat was a cute and smartly answered interview...I love her soo much cos she is intelligent and has good rep in Nigeria, in fact i see her as my role model but so sorry she can't do it all alone cos she's got thieves and liars all around her.

    April 19, 2013 at 6:45 am | Reply
  60. Tope

    Truly, Nigeria is yet to start. If the world wants to hear the truth about Us, they should invite someone from the ghetto, someone who feeds from hand to mouth. Maddam Iweala could go on and on with whatever quetions she could have been asked. We don't expect her to bite the fingers that fed and most likely still feeds her.
    However, all we have to say really doesn't matter to her. She is living in affluence. I can assure you she has no time for our comments, just like our other leaders.
    I think it's just sufficient as a true Nigerian to wake up, feed on whatever you find, be healthy and retire to sleep peacefully at night.
    Where would one start from if you are to talk about the deplorable state of Nigeria? Iweala has no Idea. Maybe subsequently, Amanpour will ask those that know.

    April 19, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Reply
  61. Cynthia Y

    #Amanpour , Okonjoooooo you didn't answer the question? True or False question Alams pardon a set back on corruption?

    Stop speaking big grammar,we all went to school , Christine has facts mehn thumbs up , if Nigerians won't keep their government accountable ...let Amanpour do.....

    April 20, 2013 at 8:18 am | Reply
  62. Cynthia Y

    Okey please keep your altruism to your self , is your neighborhood the whole of Nigeria? It's people like you that do and say things only for your benefit and not for the common man, I am sure that if you were in Boston today, you are one of the many that would have defied the curfew / lockdown for your own selfish gains and gone about business as usual,

    April 20, 2013 at 8:25 am | Reply
  63. Lizard

    Well, of course the country is poor! Virtually the entire wealth of the nation is locked in foreign bank accounts that can only be accessed with the help of a partner in America!

    April 20, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Reply
  64. lolu

    Thank God Nigerians and the international community are not idiots that Iwela tried to portray us. Her interview showed that she accepted to come on it to tell lies; and lies she told. I am not surprised though, because who can be close to Mr Jonathan, the president of the unfortunate country called Nigeria, and be clean? Nigeria will be free one day, and Jonathan and his gang will be put where they rightfully belong.

    April 21, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Reply
  65. Opara Michael Modestus Obinna

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    However 3 to 4 weeks ago, I received a shocking message on my Mobile that my account has been entered and my password changed in the night time around 7pm or so. It was not on working hours, but I severally tried calling the customer service number on the pretext that it could be a 24hour service, but no one answered my calls. I had a lot to do the following days and I was not able to contact the customer service of Sky Pearl Team and all attempts I made to go into your website was not successful.
    The next few days, I received another cellphone messages that my mileage has been used on flight from a certain city called Korla to Urumqi in Economy Class. The Transaction ID is SP3538007. This message came to me in the evening also, so I could not reach the customer service.
    The following during office hours, I quickly called the customer service number and lodged this complaint. I was indeed angry, and offended as since my frequent flying career, I have not encountered such kind of experience. I am a frequent Flier with both Lufthansa German Airlines of which I am a Gold Member (SENATOR) and British Airways BA of which I hold a Silver Executive Card.
    I handle my Mileage myself. I never experience such a criminal act as I indeed received with China Southern Airlines. It is a breach of my privacy and robbery.
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    I did not authorise anyone to go into my Mileage account neither was I consulted. I was only informed by phone message when my mileage has been used.
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    I do not care what happened later. I only care that you return well earned Miles. My used Miles was measured at 6,000KM. It is almost my award from more than 7flights or so. I will not want not accept further delay.

    April 22, 2013 at 2:00 am | Reply
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  67. Ben Spiff

    Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala should not be surprised that Nigeria has become synonymous with corruption. Political office holders, ministry workers, even the average Nigerian are corrupt. Only recently 22 Nigerians were caught in the US for credit card scams. Even though we shouln't wash our dirty linen in public, we should tell ourselves the truth. We condone corruption and make it too easy for perpetrators to escape justice.

    On the issue infrastructure, it is sad that after 52+ years of self rule we are still struggling with steady power supply. How can any serious country hope to develop with such a challenging still plaging it?Just as it is with oil theft and vandalization, vested interests will always make resolving these challenges a dream than reality. Nigerians will continue to suffer because highly placed people benefit from the status quo.

    It is sad that a sense of true pariotism is lacking in our society. The pride of being Nigerian is non-existent. We need to get our acts together. The potential is there. Lets make it a reality

    April 22, 2013 at 10:38 am | Reply
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