Boko Haram Effect: Discordant Tunes in Jonathan’s Government

Bayo Onanuga

Who is presenting the true mirror of Nigeria? The Central Bank Governor or the Finance minister?

In one week, Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala and Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Central Bank governor gave a contradictory impact assessment report of the bombings and general insecurity in northern Nigeria on the economy as a whole.

At Davos, Okonjo Iweala said increased terror attacks in the country have failed to deter foreign investment as Africa’s largest oil producer presses ahead with plans to sell power companies and keep spending under control.

To buttress the investment good health of Nigeria, Okonjo Iweala reported the visit to Nigeria by Jeffrey Immelt, CEO General Electric Co. (GE) . Visiting for the first time, he reportedly pledged to invest in power, health and rail industries, including a locomotive assembly plant. Okonjo also said the San Francisco-based Del Monte Foods Co. is also considering investing.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Okonjo sounded upbeat: “what CEOs were asking was: Do you have a strategy?” Okonjo-Iweala said. Investors “realize that the terrorism is just focused in one part of the country and as long as they feel we have an approach to deal with it, they are more or less comforted,” she said.

But yesterday, the governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi gave a different picture when he warned that bombings and other violent attacks launched by terrorist groups are major threats to the economy.

Sanusi spoke in Abuja on Tuesday at the inauguration of the Business Continuity Institute of Nigeria, a body established in 1994 to promote the highest standards of professional competence and commercial ethics in business. As reported by PUNCH, Sanusi said the economy was becoming increasingly vulnerable to the disruptions caused by terrorists attacks.

“The current spate of bombings across the country by terrorist groups alludes to the fact that our business environment is becoming more and more threatened and therefore the need to urgently develop a framework that will enable us to effectively respond to any crisis and thus safeguarding lives and properties and ensuring stability and growth in our economic system,” the CBN governor said.

Sanusi pointed out that only a sound, stable and robust business environment could lead to economic growth, increased per capita income and enhanced quality of the people.

The governor said the threat from terrorism had made it imperative for the bank to urgently develop a framework that would enable it to respond to any crisis.

This, he noted, would not only help to safeguard lives and properties, but also ensure stability and growth in the country’s economic system.
He said, “While we may be lucky not to have been hit by extreme weather conditions, such as hurricanes, snow and earthquakes, our experience as a nation reveals some vulnerability.

“We are still combating the impact of the global meltdown on our national economy. In our own specific instance in the financial sector, we have had to engage a combination of measures, including injecting millions of naira into some ailing banks to prevent failures, and thereby saving depositors’ funds and restoring confidence in the system.”

So, who is right about the Boko Haram effect on the Nigerian economy? Ngozi Okonjo Iweala or Sanusi?

My view is that Sanusi appears to be more honest about the perspective he has offered.

Only an insane investor will bring his capital to Nigeria at a time of widening terrorist attacks, banditry and kidnapping. While in the past, the Boko Haram militancy could have appeared, insignificant and tolerable, the frequency of the attacks and the expansion of the targets—-schools, police stations, banks, prisons, policemen , army barracks, will create jitters in the minds of a typical investor, looking to put his money in a nation where law and order prevails.

Nigeria no longer enjoys a state of order. Since late last year, the Boko Haram militants have made this impossible, beginning from the attacks in Yobe, where over 60 people died and the Christmas day bombing of St Theresa Catholic Church, Madalla, where over 40 people died. Everyday, a Boko Haram strike is recorded somewhere in Northern Nigeria. It’s either some market men and women are being sprayed with bullets, or banks are being bombed, policemen and soldiers attacked at checkpoints and explosive devices being thrown around like Christmas crackers. The most mind-boggling of the Boko Haram attacks was the January 20 co-ordinated attacks on the city of Kano, leading to the death of close 256 people.

And the attacks continue. They definitely cannot spur investments, even by well-heeled Nigerians. They can only deter such investments and worsen the poverty level in our country. According to official statistics, about 70 per cent of Nigerians live on less than a dollar a day, even though our country is the largest oil producer in Africa.

Despite this endowment, Nigeria imports more than 90 per cent of its refined fuel needs, transferring imported costs to the already financially emasculated people. After many shambolic Turn Around Maintenance contracts for the refineries, Nigeria just woke up to the sense in giving the refineries to the original builders to repair. Nigerians are hoping that this new measure will make the refineries work and perhaps lead to vast reductions in the cost of refined products such as kerosene, diesel and petrol.

Electricity supply also remains a major headache of the Nigerian economy, with demands said to double an output of about 4,000 megawatts daily. Nigeria now wants to sell its six power plants and 70 per cent of shares in the 11 power distribution companies.Nigeria and its people can only hope that this move will ensure 24/7 power supply, already taken for granted in all modern nations.


  1. tokunbo

    both of them are liars especially that ngozi that has a face that looks like purf purf and talking from the corner of her mouth mschew she is really leaving in a fake world i hope she wakes up from her wishful thinking mschew!!!

  2. Femfem

    Nigerians…shuffering and shmiling
    Nigerians are in the phase of Denials and when the Reality set in, the die will be cast.
    No investor will come and invest in an insecure environment like Nigeria. Okonjo Iweala should no better, I believe she is dreaming and like American would say “she wished”

  3. Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan

    Thousands of naive,half-educated and unintelligent Nigerians especially,those Niger Deltans from Jonathan region would continue to deny the truth and refuse to be realistic about the idle-non-performing of the incapable,clueless,incompetent and unknowledgeable Jonathan and his defective in policies, knowledge and ideas ministers.The truth’s that can anything good and prosperous with peace ever emanate from corruptive system represent by PDP-Jonathan except looting of public treasuries with neglect of anti-corruption fight and naked stealing with no commensurate developments in all public sectors?Only fools among foreign investors would ever venture to come to Nigeria Boko Haram terrorists gang to invest their dollars/euros and pound-sternley where the PDP-Jonathan has evidently, loses control of security of lives and properties of citizenry.Jonathan lacks capacity require to move Nigeria forward but waste public funds unnecessarilly on infrivolous foreign trips with huge delegates at all times.Jonathan seems a certified misappropriator,ineptfailed governance attainer in the management of our national resources. Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan,Canada.

  4. KOKO

    Sanusi is part of the Boko Haram network, him his father and mother too for God’s sake, his only aim is for Islamic rights in CBN and the northern rights in Nigeria. So forget the man the south is moving on without the north for once.

  5. Charlie

    It is obvious that Okonjo Iweala does not operate in the real world. She can only speak of the businesses that show interest not of hundreds more that are scared away because of the violence in the country that she didn’t have the opportunity of talking to. Companies like GE are experienced global operators that know how to get better returns on their investments in war-torn countries. Any strategy based on such investors is doomed to failure. What’s bad about her position is that the Government is getting bad advise from her regarding the investment environment.

  6. umar

    D failure nd incapability of mr president will continue to destroy both political n economical system of nig. Both CBN governor n Ngozi can neva lay an impact bcos Dey re preachin theory while cabals wil always be dere to change situatn into deir favor.

  7. Emem udofia

    I beg to disagree with Sanusi’s postulation, in as much as security of lives and properties forms a significant bedrock upon which investors would hinge their decisions to invest in Nigeria, we must accept that its not the only factor which need to be carefully determined. Over the last 12years Nigeria has had several acts of insurgencies, whether its the Niger-Delta insurgents, the Bakassi Boys insurgence, issues of ethnic killings in Jos and parts of the Middle belt, Religious riots and killings within Northern Nigeria. None of these has significantly stopped those who have invested from doing so. I tend to agree with our Finance Minister, that the moment an investor sees that there is a feasible road map towards dealing with the situation and equally factors in the effect of the crises vis-s-vis proposed location and nature of the investment, the investor would still be prepared to forge ahead with his plans. In truth, the Boko haram problem would be more of a deterrent for anyone interested in investing in Northern Nigeria as against the investor interested in projects in Rivers State Nigeria.

  8. G'ment

    Boko Haram, tell me who they are and i will show you…politicians, tel me they dont know who boko haram are and i will slap you.

  9. Samson onyeka

    Maybe they’re seeing the resultant effect of the bombings diffrently. Or perhaps, someone is just not telling the truth.

  10. Seyyi

    Ok. Nigeria is sure passing through challenges. But i don’t think that can deter investors from coming to invest.

  11. Ibaji

    Sanusi sounds straight. I like that.

  12. john ufot

    Bayo don’t waste your time writing on this government because starting from Jonathan, they all not serious. Jonathan is confused so are his ministers and aides.

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