“As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become victims of the darkness.”
-Justice William O. Douglas
Every time our attorney general of the federation speaks I almost always have my heart in my mouth. Sometimes he speaks as if he bought his license to practice law at a pawn shop. He has little or no understanding to the underpinnings of the law and constitution, he sworn to protect and defend. He takes liberty with the constitution, depending on the clients he is trying to defend. His obedience to court orders is dependent on the vagaries of his moods and his paid clients, who unfortunately as we are gradually finding out is not the people of Nigeria.
As I write this article, I cringe at what is happening at our Federal Ministry of Justice. It is an open fact that Mr. Michael Aondoakaa SAN, was formerly representing some of the most corrupt state governors before his elevation as attorney general. It seems he carried that representation to his new office and he will stop at nothing to exonerate those clients no matter how ridiculous his defense might sound. We might as well forget he is our attorney general as his zealous advocacy for his corrupt clients trumps his job as the chief enforcer of the law.
And now, today we read about his new diagnosis for corruption in Nigeria. According to news report, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Michael Aondoakaa (SAN), has challenged the Body of Attorney Generals of Nigeria to initiate laws in their respective states to criminalize the payment of advance rent usually sought by landlords.
In a keynote address at the opening of the second Body of Attorney Generals in Makurdi yesterday, Aondoakaa said the demand of over one year advance rent from tenants by Nigerian landlords was one of the root causes of corruption in the country.
There you have it folks, the “loot-ocracy” going on in Abuja, is down to you poor masses. It is down to landlords who paid through their nose for building materials. It is down to those same landlords who took bank loans to buy or build their houses. In our attorney general obtuse logic, one of the root causes of corruption in Nigeria is one year rent in advance and not the greedy politicians he represents and defends.
Maybe, we need to remind him that the demand of one year rent in advance is rooted in the bad economic policies foisted on Nigeria by this government for which he is part and parcel. Our comatose economy is down to the lethargic “do-nothing” policies of the Yardua’s administration. A policy that is gradually taking apart our Stock exchange ruining many Nigerian investors in the process. A government that is spending over 2 years on vendetta and pay back in the power sector whilst the entire nation plummets into a habitual darkness.
Need we remind him that a 50kg bag of cement currently sells between N1,500 and N2,000 depending on the market location. The current price level of cement in Nigeria is said to be four times the price of the product in Egypt and South Africa, and ten times the price in the United States of America (USA).
Perhaps, he needs to know that as a result of the prohibitive one year rent advance payment; many Nigerians are now building their own house, without any help from the government. Maybe we need to ask him how many houses have been built by this “go-slow” regime since their inauguration. Apart from their much publicized probe into Abuja FCT where they ended up justifying the retroactive “ballooned” payment they made to an ex- Chairman of PDP, what has his administration done to assist Nigerian masses in owning affordable houses?
We need to collectively let Mr. Attorney General know that the subterfuge of his attempt to deflect focus from his numerous corrupt clients will not work, lest we become the victims of darkness stalking our land. We need to expose his pretense for what it is! Nigeria is a free enterprise economy. Nigerians have right to determine what rents to charge on the houses they built from their sweats and labor. Government, particularly the present one in power, has no moral basis to pass any law that address the root causes of corruption, whilst the government itself buried its own head in the sand of corruption protecting the powerful on the back of the poor.