A human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, has said the suffering being experienced by Nigerians is a result of massive looting of the nation’s resources and the poverty of ideas on the part of the leaders.
Falana said this in a pre-convocation lecture he delivered at the Oduduwa University, Ipetumodu in Osun State on Friday.
The human rights lawyer said, unfortunately, the youths had been celebrating criminals and those plundering the nation because of the crumbs being given to them.
According to him, Nigeria is not poor, saying there will be abundance if the nation’s wealth is invested wisely in youth development.
The lawyer, said in the lecture titled, “The blessings of natural resource endowments and the curse of corrupt leadership: critical perspectives on Nigeria’s state of underdevelopment,” that it was sad that Nigerian leaders siphoned the nation’s wealth to other countries.
He said, “We are not poor in Nigeria. What we have is poverty of ideas of our leaders.”
He lamented the level of profligacy among leaders despite recession, saying the hardship might not end soon contrary to the hope being expressed by the government.
Falana said Nigeria’s future might be bleak if those in power refused to invest in human resources development, saying Nigeria needed to move to a knowledge-based economy rather than depending on natural resources.
He said, “Human capital development is fundamental. We have two laws in Nigeria that have made education free, the UBE Act and the Child’s Rights Act which have been domesticated by about 24 states.
“The court has said that every Nigerian child shall be educated by the Nigerian state. Also, in the case of Femi Falana vs Attorney General of the Federation, the court held that the government should establish the Nigerian Education Bank but that has not been done.
“In those days, if NANS or NUNS got that copy of judgment, they would have made the country ungovernable but these days NANS is busy conferring awards on corrupt governors. Somebody who rigged an election was also honoured.”
The Vice-Chancellor of the Oduduwa University, Ipetumodu, Prof. Chibuzo Nwoke, said during the convocation that 29 out of 293 graduands of the university graduated with first class.
He said 175 graduating students also bagged Second Class Upper while 85 others graduated made Second Class Lower Division. The remaining four graduands, he said, bagged Third Class Division.