With Nigeria struggling as much as it can to redeem its image in the global community, the nation still finds it difficult to curtail the ravenous ruins caused by the army of quacks in various segments of her national life. KEHINDE OYETIMI reports.
HER situation looked hopeless and precarious. As she slept on the sofa, her mother wondered if miracles still happened. Anna’s health had deteriorated so rapidly that those who saw her a week before immediately beseeched whatever extraterrestrial powers that they knew to come to the ill girl’s aid. Weeks gave birth to months and her condition only worsened. Her father (Chukwudi), a self-proclaimed pharmacist, had dealt over the years in illicit drugs, and had sold same to many unsuspecting buyers. His family was oblivious of his dealings; they had trusted him implicitly. He had met with his friends hoping that they could help. He moved Anna to various medical centres but she was referred from one hospital to another. Anna’s father could no longer afford the bills; he took his daughter home, resorted to spiritual help and resigned to fate.
At some point in his travails, a friend walked up to him and told him it was possible to get spiritual help from a General Overseer of one of the popular Lagos churches. It took weeks to get an appointment with the preacher. When the day eventually came, Chukwudi came in contact with the revered preacher who simply told him to sow a seed of faith. The cleric warned him that the bigger the seed, the quicker God’s power would wade into the sick girl’s situation. Chukwudi met friends, borrowed money, brought it to the church and handed it over during a church service. He was asked to expect the miraculous after a week. Another week passed; two weeks...nothing.
Just as he was drifting into resignation of his predicament over his child, a friend who took a similar trade of selling fake drugs, visited Chukwudi and told him that he found a potent drug that would end the health crisis little Anna was suffering. Chukwudi felt it was impossible for anyone to sell any fake drugs to him. He borrowed another N300, 000 and bought the drug. He felt his years of experience in dealing with counterfeit drugs would suffice. It was two days after he administered he drug to his child that little Anna passed on. The drug quickened her pace to the great beyond; the medication was a sham.
Over the years, the war on counterfeit products has usually been waged at the arena of drugs. But the past few years has witnessed the insurgency of forgery. This forgery transcends the bizarre; it has shifted from the mundane to the spiritual. In Nigeria today, every aspect of the country’s national life is prone to fabrication. Chief among Nigeria’s media daily fare are reported cases of falsifications and imitations. From fake government agencies, to fake universities, fake lecturers, fake financial institutions, fake policemen, etc, the list is endless.
Nigerian Navy alerts public to fake recruitment exercise
Chief among the nation’s security outfits is the Nigerian Navy. The body had to cry out in March this year about the existence of a fake recruitment exercise and warned the public against falling victims of such scam.
This was disclosed in a statement reported signed by the Director of Information, Naval Headquarters, Abuja, Navy Commodore Kabiru Aliyu.
Aliyu stated that the Nigerian Navy has not commissioned any group to carry out recruitment exercise on its behalf, and therefore, should not be patronised.
JAMB warns applicants over fake cybercafés
The carnival of forgery was also extended to the operations of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB with the board warning unsuspecting candidates of registering online for the exam through unaccredited cybercafés.
Many candidates over the years have lost opportunities of gaining admission into universities as a result of registering online through unaccredited cybercafés.
Pastor arrested for stealing Samsung phone inside church
Barely two weeks ago, the police, at the Maroko Division, in Lagos, were reported to have arrested a suspected fake pastor, Prince Kayode Ogbeniola, 43, for allegedly stealing a Samsung handset inside the Redeemed Christian Church of God, situated on Muri Okunola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The cases of fake preachers who establish churches in the country have grown over the years with ignorant worshippers falling preys to this predators.
25% of drugs consumed in Nigeria are fake - WHO
When the World Health Organisation (WHO) stated that over 25 per cent of drugs consumed in Nigeria were fake, many people were not surprised given the fact that the sector of the nation’s economy that is under the sledgehammer of counterfeiting is health. Many have lost their lives to the consumption of fake drugs.
In many parts of the country, untrained pharmacists outnumber those trained. Their makeshift drug stores are scattered all over streets and their numbers swell every day. Many patronise them because of the cheap prices at which these drugs are sold.
University dismisses five lecturers, demotes 10 others
It is no longer news that renaissance of forgery in the country has gradually taken roots among lecturers at the nation’s ivory tower of learning.
Some months ago, the Governing Council of the University of Calabar, was reported to have dismissed five academic staff and demoted 10 others for what it called “academic dishonesty”.
The demoted lecturers chose to publish their works in fake or cloned journals and proceeded to submit same and obtained promotion in the process. One wonders what the state of the nation’s tertiary education would be few years from now when university lecturers are reported to be involved in academic fraud.
NUC lists 36 illegal universities in Nigeria
The nation was roused from a momentary slumber when the Nigeria University Commission came out with a list of about 36 illegal universities that have been in operation over the years in the country.
The list was as shocking as it was irritating. These universities are scattered all over the country and have been providing tertiary education to thousands, if not millions, of students who perhaps could have been privy to the illegality of those institutions.
CBN warns Nigerians to beware of illegal banks
Given the significant place that the banking industry occupies in the country, many illegal financial institutions have arisen, giving worry to the apex bank of the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria.
A while ago, it was reported that the CBN warned Nigerians to beware of some illegal operators in the microfinance market. These fake banks, according to the report, parade themselves as real ones and dupe unsuspecting victims millions of naira.
The CBN gave instances of how those banks have closed down with millions of depositors’ fund trapped in them. In other cases, the operators of these banks absconded with depositors’ money.
Fake NYSC orientation camp surfaces, 62 fake corps members arrested
Even the National Youth Service Corps scheme is not spared in this crusade of falsifications. In March this year, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) was reported to have arrested 62 fake corps members at a fake NYSC orientation camp at Tammah village in Nasarawa.
It was gathered that the fake orientation camp was to operate for just one day, in which all the fake corps members would take their photographs with both the NYSC crested vest and other kits and were likely to be issued fake certificates forthwith for future references.
Police arrest fake medical doctor at UUTH
Another area of Nigeria’s national life bedevilled by forgeries is the health sector. Fake health experts litter the medical profession. The police in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital was reported to have arrested a fake medical doctor who paraded himself as a consultant to the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH) in the state.
The number of quack medical practitioners has remained on the increase. Hospitals with insufficient number of qualified doctors have affected profession, resulting in the loss of lives.
Fake lawyer in court for impersonation
Like other aspects of the country’s national life, the nation’s judiciary is not spared the ravaging onslaught of counterfeits. It was reported that a fake lawyer, Bassey Ekpo, 32, was on arraigned before an Abuja Chief Magistrates’ Court for impersonation.
With the likes of the above accused, one wonders which part of the country is yet to be affected by the rampaging monster of falsehood.
Police arrest fake officer
It is quite absurd when the police are confronted with the challenge of arresting those who impersonate the force’s rank and file. It is now commonplace to find fake police officers brandishing fake identity cards and carrying out arrests or perpetrating crime.
It was reported that the Lagos State Police Command paraded 54-year-old Femi Ajewole for allegedly impersonating a police officer.
The suspect was arrested last week following complaints from a resident of Igando area of the state that Ajewole, who had claimed to be a Deputy Superintendent of Police, had defrauded him.
Fake journalists arrested
At events, many people now brandish identity cards claiming to be journalists. The charadeis carried further when some of these journalists conduct interviews, demand huge amount of money to facilitate publication in a non-existing newspaper outfit.
Two of such errant journalists were reported to have been arrested by the Rivers State Police Command in Port Harcourt, the state capital. The fake journalists, who were identified as Mr. Prince Gbasam and Tony Nzekwe, were said to have been apprehended after they had extorted the sum of N25,000 from an elderly man that visited the state for the 27th convocation ceremony of the University of Port Harcourt.
Presenting themselves as foreign journalists from South Africa, the arrested men had told their victim that the N25,000 given to them would not be enough for them to travel back to their country.
Armed with three identification cards of three different media organisations, Gbasam and Nzekwe entered the Presidential Lounge of the Rivers State Government House.