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ON Monday, September 17, 2012, the President and Commander-in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, conferred national honours of over 150 citizens and non-citizens of Nigeria. A cursory look at the long list would reveal a sizeable crop of names that ought not to have been enlisted for the great honours. Aside from serving and retired lawmakers with doubtful contributions to the growth of this country apart from brawls, wrestling and fisticuffs on the floor of the National Assembly, there are numerous traditional rulers whose traditional role of communal peace-keeping has been subordinated to the acquisition of material wealth with the untoward result that communal peace and tranquility have become scarce commodities everywhere in Nigeria's body politic.

On the list were men of ignoble past, some signatories to the annulment of the beautiful June 12, 1993 election. There were serving civil and public servants the ends of whose tenure are unpredictable.

THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is bent on introducing a N5,000 note as the highest denomination of the Nigerian currency and on converting the existing N5, N10 and N20 notes to coins, at the cost of N40.3bn. The new coins will join the existing ones of 50k, N1 and N2 coins, which Nigerians hardly use, partly by reason of their weight and the cackling noise they make in pockets, and partly because coins are generally regarded as emblems of poverty, which people do not want to be associated with, even if they are poor. Accordingly, Nigerian coins have been used mainly by the local gold- and black-smiths, who fashion them into meretricious ornaments which include, but are not limited to, bangles, earrings and necklaces.

THE shooting of several helpless miners who were merely protesting for higher wages at the Lonmin Platinum Mine, in South Africa, on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012, issued forth in the death of  44 unarmed miners and in serious injuries to about 80 of the miners. Lonmin Platinum Mine is the biggest employer of labour in South Africa and the world's third-largest platinum mining company. The attack was one of the worst in South Africa since the end of the apartheid era. 

THE Nigerian oil sector has been experiencing sabotage in the nature of poaching, piracy, pipeline vandalism, coastal insecurity, illegal bunkering, non-payment of statutory levies and charges, illegal entry of ships into Nigeria territorial waters, illegal importation of arms and hard drugs and kindred crimes which are costing Nigeria billions of dollars annually. It is very embarrassing and shameful that Nigeria is the only country in the world where crude oil is stolen. It is the more shameful that such a crime thrives in the country. It is an indictment on Nigerian security agencies, including the intelligence and information gathering services.

THE performances of most of the 768 Local Government Councils and the 6 Area Councils in Nigeria have not been encouraging despite the heavy allocations from the Federal Government. Its direct effect is the untold suffering of the over 70% of Nigerians who live in abject poverty not being able to access the dividends of democracy.

The Federal Government’s decision to allocate funds directly to Local Government Councils derived from the need to bring the dividends of democracy closer to the greatest number of people.  Unfortunately, the poorest of the poor in Nigeria reside in rural areas, which hardly ever experience development by government, local, state or federal.

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