Convicted and sentenced to 61 years imprisonment, but actually 8 years(running concurrently), when there was always the option of it running consecutively – an apparently unremorseful, unperturbed and bubbly Abdulrasheed Maina – infamous fugitive and now confirmed pension lootist, ably assisted in walking out of court by nauseatingly fawning Nigeria Correctional Service personnel – cheerfully walked out of court waving and greeting well-wishers and anyone in sight while grinning from ear to ear.
This is Nigeria, and Maina, might as well be dancing! If we know anything at all, we know – from the slap on the wrist sentence, through to the optics of air-conditioned conveyance (Black Maria is for the poor and #endsars protesters) – you can bet Maina’s correctional experience is of the deluxe kind, only available to “big men”.
More significant to the grinning Maina, is that he knows, as sure as night turns into day – that he can tap into the “dark arts” of practicing Nigerian illusionist kleptocrats.
He knows that down the line, a compromised judiciary(like every other facet of Nigerian society), might procure a lighter punishment or “technical” reversal of the conviction. Serving out whatever portion of the sentence he will actually do in well appointed confines and an executive pardon is also within reach.
He knows, even from the 8 years sentence – a laughable sentence for a crime that is directly responsible for the deaths and incapacitation of countless numbers of pensioners – that ultimately, as is the norm, he will “never” receive sanctions equitable to his crime.
He is of the virulent Nigerian elitist kind and knows he is a special breed. He knew he was not Olowookere Segun or Morakinyo Sunday – two poor buggers sentenced to death in 2014 by an Osun State High Court for stealing fowls!
He knew his lot was not that of a staff of the popular eatery, Sweet Sensation – Oluremi Olayinka , who in April 2015 was sentenced to 266 years imprisonment by an Ogun state High Court for stealing N8 million from her employers.
He knew he was of a special Nigerian caste of “magicians”, and no matter how many times he walked naked in broad daylight into the community barn to steal the yams – he will never get just recompense for his actions.
To be sure, he knew this is Nigeria – where an Abuja High Court sentenced John Yakubu Yesufu(convicted pension lootist), who stood trial on charges of stealing N32.8 billion in the Police pension scam – to two years on each of three charges. Yakubu Yesufu was then offered a go-home option of a fine of N750,000 , which he promptly paid and strolled into freedom.
That the application of law and sanctions in Nigeria is applied in an “Orwellian” fashion – where some animals are more equal than others – is an existential reality. Kleptocratic Nigerian political office holders, civil and public servants will continue to mindlessly pillage the country, safe in the knowledge that they can get away with it or at worst, ala Maina, just bear a little discomfort for awhile.
Maina, surely, must grin on, emboldened by the knowledge that his kind will never suffer the indignities and suffering that pensioners are plagued with in this country to access meager but just entitlements.
Maina knows, as do we all, that we live in a society as encapsulated by French economist, writer and former member of the French National Assembly, Frederic Bastiat, who said, and he could well have been depicting Nigeria : “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it”.
Diezani Alison-Madueke certainly must be grinning wherever she is – even as her golden bra’s and other assets are exhibited publicly for sale! She knows, like any discerning person will know – that golden bra’s and all – will most certainly be re-looted and swallowed up in the odious, slimy cesspool inhabited by fellow thieving kleptocrats.
Yes, they all grin on! Today’s kleptocrats and yesterday’s – bound together, like dope fiends – by the “addictive highs” derived from manic conspicuous consumption and avariciousness.
They grin on – sure in the prowess of their “dark arts” – unabashedly naked thieves charmingly assured their plunder of the communal “yam barn” will never be deservedly punished. They know – that this is Nigeria!
Human Rights Defender and Good Governance Advocate