When a sinner suffers, the righteous also partake in it. This particular word from the Holy Book alludes to Nigerians. Many Nigerians are seen as criminals just because some of our citizens have been involved in crimes such as fraud, drug trafficking, human trafficking, embezzlement, and so on. The few bad eggs have given us a bad image globally.
Nigeria, ranked the 7th most populated nation, has what it takes to be among the greatest nations of the world but bad leadership has hindered our growth as a nation. Upon gaining independence in 1960, we have had it tough as people with diverse tribes and culture. The discovery of oil in our region a few years before independence was a ‘pain in disguise’ for the masses. All our attention, which was formerly on Agriculture, shifted to the ‘black gold’, thinking it will make our lives better.
We experienced the oil boom which generates a lot of income for us but the aftermath of this is falling oil output and prices in the ‘80s. This is when the Nigerian dream started to crumble. The masses suffered and there was hardship in the land as the rate of unemployment increased, food prices have gone up, and fees were imposed for education and health care services. By the time our economy will rise again as a result of a rise in oil prices in the ‘90s, our leaders had found a way of embezzling the funds from the oil sales. It has never been better since then as the rate of unemployment increased and the standard of living also decreased.
We’ve been recycling the same leaders who are bent on enriching themselves. They are the number one bad eggs which led to our terrible situation. Funds meant to cater to the people are possessed by an individual called a leader who had promised heaven and earth before the assumption of public office. The country is so messed up such that nearly 80% of Nigeria’s over 190 million population live on less than $2 a day. This rate of poverty and insecurity, as well as other problems, has made many Nigerians seek for greener pastures while some Nigerians back at home have devised several means of leveling up with our bad leaders, leading some to become criminals.
The state of our nation has made many to relocate to foreign lands. In fact, Nigerians can be found anywhere in the world and we have shown that we can survive anywhere we find ourselves. Nigerians are talented and hardworking people and have made giant strides in their endeavors worldwide. Many of us are on the run because of the opportunities that abound outside the shores of our country. It is therefore heartbreaking that the few who have committed crimes home and abroad have tarnished our image.
83 Nigerians have been made scapegoats by the FBI in America for cases of fraud; 23 others in the oil-rich Saudi Arabia are also awaiting execution for cases of drug trafficking. Nigerians are in the heat of cultist attacks in Malaysia and several other criminal activities overseas. Boko Haram, bandits, kidnappers, and so on have claimed the lives of many back at home, while the government has failed to find a solution to the issues of insecurity in our land. This crime and evil perpetrated by some Nigerians as well as the root cause, which is our bad government, are the bad eggs giving us a bad name.
The few Nigerians involved in these crimes have overshadowed the several good ones who are making us proud all over the world. Many Nigerians in South Africa have been involved in a series of attacks by the locals. This xenophobic attack, which began in 2008, has seen many innocent Nigerians become casualties due to the fact that we are labelled ‘criminals.’ The hardworking Nigerians has made the South Africans inferior in their own land. The influx of Nigerians in South Africa has also made the nationals fear they would soon be overtaken by foreigners. The few who have also been involved in crime have increased xenophobia in South Africa, thereby leading to attack by the South Africans.
What has the Nigerian government done to effect change?
The Nigerian government has done nothing to effect a change in the situation they have led us into. The recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa is a pointer to the fact that our government doesn’t care about her citizens. We hide under diplomacy which is not effective. Many Nigerians have been deported from South Africa making what they’ve worked for useless. They have to start all over again as a result of our government’s nonchalant attitude. Getting into foreign lands such as the US has been made difficult as an increase in visa fee has been imposed by their government. Many have also been banned from entering other countries as a result of our bad government who made seeking refuge in foreign lands a priority. The unwillingness or inability to rise to their responsibility is one of our greatest challenges. Our government can shed tears on the Saudi Arabian oil well blown by terrorist but move on with the series of killing and mass murder in the country.
Nigerians are really good people
It is a pity the few Nigerians who have been involved in criminal activities have enhanced the negative image we have all over the world. Many Nigerians are quite responsible, hardworking, successful and are great people. We have been at the top in every culture we’ve found ourselves. In a comment section of a social media post, I found exciting comments on Nigerians by some foreigners which shows that Nigerians are doing well everywhere they go. Here are some excerpts:
I worked closely with a few Nigerians years ago. The happiest, nicest and HARDEST working people in our company. They requested overtime, worked through scheduled breaks, worked weekends, etc., just great people who worked for their futures!@helgithorleja
My doctor is a Nigerian woman. I wish I had half the strength she does.@Regunrestrained
My son in-law is from Nigeria and he is the most goal driven man in his age group I have ever met. He is a super positive influence on my daughter and I love him dearly for who he is and how he loves her.@micheledomes
They work their asses off, just like ALL the legal immigrants from third world countries do. You’ll never see one of the folks from Nigeria or any Asian country begging on a shout corner or camped on the streets. They WORK hard to advance.@davidkemppp
Which way forward Nigeria?
As Nigerians, we must learn to shame criminals rather than celebrate them. Those who have been charged with criminal offenses must face the wrath of the law rather than be freed even when the evidence was well seen.
The Nigerian government should find a way to support the victims of xenophobic attacks in South Africa rather than leaving them to square one. They should find a way to prevent future occurrences if our lives really matter to them.
Nigeria’s good brand also depend on a totally different mindset of our leaders who need to utilize the abundance of human and natural resources available in the country to radically transform the current pitiable economic, political and social deprivations that are making our people to be on the run.
Nigerians should also learn to have patience as a virtue and believe their hard work will pay off rather than giving us bad names with crimes committed all over the world.
Do well to share your opinion on this topic in the comment section. Thanks for taking the time to read this piece.