Tag Archives: Nigeria


African Buffalo

Image by Lukas Vermeer via Flickr

Some institutions are redefining poverty to increase their middle class.

It is simple, assuming the poor spend US $2 to $4 per day to sustain a life at the border of disaster then an analyst comes and make the wise judgment that with these US $2 to $4 dollars they are no longer poor but middle class.

Not high middle class but the low middle class or “floating class”.  The high middle class makes US $3,900 per year according to the African Development Bank (AfDB) and creators of the floating class.

Well, it is what AfDB says. Do not take the bank too serious considering it was once clogged with fraud, corruption and politic. I don’t think too much has changed.

Without knowing, people leading the same miserable lives have suddenly been catapulted in the enviable position of middle class. Nothing has changed except the label.

This change of label has not made much ruckus in Africa. In India it did when the India Planning Commission set the urban poverty lines at $12.75 per person a month and at $9.93 for rural India. Indian activists, with good reasons, went on a rampage of actions against these changes.

African activists have not budged at AfDB new poverty threshold but they still die in protest in the streets due the high cost of food and fuel.
I don’t understand why they are using the poor to fight the battle of the new middle class.

Income, consumption, calorie index and others are some of the values used to calculate poverty line. Of course, poverty line is not the same in all countries and may even be tabulated on different criteria. However, according to the World Bank the global poverty line is US $1.25 per day. Make anything under and you fall into the National Geographic category.

Imagine a global poverty line of US $3 per day or US $90 per month and devise how to apportion it to buy food, clothing, shelter, water, transport, education and health.
Notice, I do not mention electricity, entertainment or even rest. Yes, poor cannot afford to take time off; they need to make money to survive.

In the USA or Europe it is unthinkable to sustain life with an income of US $90 per month. The Vatican should consider anyone living on such little money a Saint routinely performing miracles. You need faith when you are poor.

The ten poorest countries in the world are in Africa but AfDB with innovative statistic has changed the status of a lot from poor to floating middle class. They are floating on a busted canoe, scooping out the water in order not to sink.  The canoe is the asset.

The Nigerian High commissioner to Kenya has allegedly beaten up his wife to a pulp.  He said that her bloody bruises are ketchup. You see, in Africa it is the way people in power treat bad situation to their benefit,same as AfDB.

I am so impressed with this Nigerian that I have decided to give you his full name and title:
Chief Dr. Chijioke Wilcox Wigwe, Nigeria High Commissioner to Kenya and the Seychelles. Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations Environmental Programme and the UN Habitat in Nairobi.
I want to mention that in 2008 he received, in Kenya, the title of Ambassador for Peace and in 2010 Best Ambassador of the Year 2010 by the Vision Africa Magazine.
I cannot help but Wigwe makes me think of a small version of Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

Somehow, I do find a parallel among the actions of the Nigerian High commissioner in Kenya and the AfDB.
Both twist realities to their convenience.

These two deserve the Buffalo Dung Award.




President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle...

President Obama with president Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo. Obama taller but Nguesso richer.

Would you like to hear about small African news! Are you sure? Well, I am feeling dandy so let me oblige.

I see two articles in the African section of Yahoo. The first one titled ‘Prominent Nigerian bank CEO sentenced over loan crisis” and the other one is about “Banks in Britain handled millions of pounds for two Nigerian ex-governors accused of corruption

It is a coincidence if both articles are about Nigeria. The reading is small but the amounts are staggering. I am not taking about small change but millions of dollars. The Nigerian Bank CEO sentence is a 6 months jail term.

Bernard Madoff for his panzy scheme received a 150 years sentence and an asset forfeiture of US $170 billions. The guy is 70 years old, so you exactly know where he will die.
Madoff should have embezzled his friend’s money in Nigeria or any African country, there it’s safe and he would be out by now.

In Africa, if you are part of the government or well connected, the harshest sentence is a slap on the wrist. During scolding time, the same business goes on since the whole family is involved.

Justice is only for the poor, try blowing a kiss at a rich person’s goat and you may get the fiercest kick you ever got.
Don’t argue, take the kick. You want to protest in the name of being an animal lover!
Fine, wait a bit; let me predict your future…Here you are …”Latest news … A person guilty of carnal knowledge with a goat ends up in jail. The warden provided a small pillow for comfort and hopes the prisoner does not commit suicide with it… latest news, read all bout it, latest news!”
More or less that what African justice is!

When president Bongo of Gabon died he owned together with his family 39 flats, 70 bank accounts and nine cars in France. This “small” fortune was acquired in France only. So think what the little chap owned in other places. Probably the whole country belongs to him while his people starve.

These guys with their entourage live large. The UN General Assembly is over and I guarantee you that among all the world delegation at least one African country, or one of its member, was among the biggest spender while in NY.
President Denis Sassou Nguesso, of Congo Brazzaville, paid US $200,000 for a short stay in 2006 at the Waldorf Astoria. That’s US $40,000 more than the US $160,000 which Britain gave as humanitarian aid to his country the same year.   Also, he ordered two bottles of champagne at $630 a pop.
I don’t know what they celebrated. I was not invited. Were you?

African culture is communal. It conforms to the meaning of “Republic” attached to most of the name of African countries. In Latin the word Republic means “res publica” or public affair. What belongs to you, belongs to everyone.
African governments live by the same principle but they add in tiny letter at the bottom of the form; private. The tax payer money is the government’s private property.
Oops! You feel gracious and want to list me some exceptions. Sorry, it is the same all over the continent, even in South Africa.
Why do you think Zuma wants to muzzle the media?
Oh! Good! I see a light bulb on top of your head.

You rarely see an African statesman or members of the family on the official list of the richest people in the world.
Well, have you ever heard about the son of Teodoro Nguema Obiang?
His daddy, president of Equatorial Guinea, gave him a job as Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, making $60,000 per year. Not much money but acceptable for an oil rich country with inhabitants under, I mean way under,  the poverty line. Anyway, I am sure daddy added lost of freebies to the salary.
However, I wonder how he stretched that little money to buy in California, through one of his company,  a mansion in Malibu worth $38 millions and a luxury jet for $33 millions. That’s only tokens; I understand the brat is a gadget-lover-play-boy.
The poor block is not even among the “Who and Who” on the millionaires list.
That’s shameful. Aren’t we sad!

I take a walk and buy the Daily Nation, in Kenya, from an aggressive newspaper hawker.
I rarely buy local newspapers, I feel for the excellent journalists, but they all practice self-censorship for survival and to make a living.
Unless certain to get away with a story, they all write tame honky dory tales of “I love you and kiss kiss” for the glorification of the government policies.
The front page of the Daily Nation reads: “Revealed: Fraud and waste of tax billions.” The Kenyan government has an US $860,000 hole which they cannot account for and that’s not including the stolen money meant for the Internally Displaced People (IDP) during the chaos of the last elections.
Thats nothing new, but I will keep the newspapers for the crosswords. I love crosswords.

Elections are another problem in Africa; it is dangerous, volatile, colorful and provides another dimension to the word democracy.
Good and bad politicians, to avoid more death from political chaos, form ugly alliances to make the international community happy.
I call the alliances Multi Alliance Looting (MAL). MAL is a good acronym; it translates to BAD in French.

Anyway, Kenyan government has an US $860,000 hole. The story will make lots of noise, an inquiry will be made, the issue may resurface again then the story will join its twins in the silent twilight zone.

I have a strange feeling that I will get in trouble when I pin point what everyone knows but his afraid to voice.
I live in Africa and the only thing democratic is the word which they put in front of some country’s name.

Going back to Yahoo, I now read “Alarming’ numbers go hungry in 25 countries: report”. I know, you do too, that the poorest country in the world are on the African continent.
Soon you will hear campaigns about giving to Africa; Help Africa, Stop looting Africa, Stop plundering African resources, Africa is sovereign, Stop meddling in Africa, Give to the hungry, No rain no crop, …
That’s enough!
Your philanthropic heart squeezes, you feel for your wallet, take it out and open it …
You hesitate, look at me.
“Good heart, I have a question for you”. How much more money African looters deserve?”