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COMBACTING CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA (A CASE STUDY OF EFCC)
The issue of corruption has led to loss of confidence in Nigeria by its citizens at home and abroad due to the activities of fraudsters, corrupt public officials and mis-governance by our leaders. On the international scene, Nigeria has been blacklisted as a slate in which integrity and transparency are alien and where no transactions occur without greasing palms. Others are over concentration of resource at the centre and a culture of unregulated informal economy, inefficient contract awards, inadequate enforcement of existing law, absence of the rule of law and a culture of preferential treatment in the conduct of government business. The Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Corruption Commission (EFCC) were established by the present administration to combat corruption at various levels. It is lamentable to observe that in spite of these strategies in place, little or no success has been achieved in that direction. The main objectives of the study are to identify the causes of corruption and their effects on Nigerian society; to analyse the role of the various Strategic Agencies on Anti-corruption and the impact of their existence. The method adopted for the study is the historical and observational method. Related literatures on corruption and government strategies are also utilized for the study. The findings of the study are that the existing Anti-Corruption Agencies are trying their best to curb corruption in Nigeria but that greediness and political instability are some of the primary causes of corruption. Government’s lack of will to indict some past and present public office holders, inadequate and ineffective legislation on corruption are responsible for the high level of corruption in Nigeria today It is recommended that in fighting corruption, Nigeria requires good and virtuous leaders who are honest with integrity, discipline and trustworthy, creation of employment, upgrading of Nigeria police amongst others. Writing on a project topic like ‘combating corruption in Nigeria; case study of the EFCC has presented numerous challenges, bearing in mind that not very many people are aware of the scope of responsibility being handled by the ant -graft body. The journey takes one through in the first instance the creating of an overview of the fact that corruption really has Nigerian in its stragle hold, the recognition of the harm the corruption endemie has wrought on the Nigerian psyche and the need for fighting this human created cancer. The need for the creation of an anti-graft body becomes very apparent when one look at the presidents set by other matters of corruption (huge as it were) swept under the carpet for lack of gats to deal with same. The response of Nigerian as to whether the aims, objectives for the setting up of the EFCC have been met is also dealt with therein How much can the EFCC achieve, and the question of whether Nigeria can in the end say ‘Uhuru is tackled therein. Corruption is a persistent cancerous phenomenon which bedevils Nigeria. Misappropriation, bribery, embezzlement, nepotism, and money laundering by public officials have permeated the fabric of the society. The office seekers of major political parties top the list of unfit or corrupt officials. Elected officials in high echelons of power and public officers use their positions to engage in corrupt activities. It is estimated that corruption accounts for 20 percent of the GDP of Nigeria. For several years, Nigeria has been at the bottom of Transparency International’s (TI) Corrupt Perception Index (CPI) ranking. In 2002, the Nigerian government created the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate and prosecute cases of corruption and financial crimes. This paper reviews the scope of corruption and the efforts by the Nigerian government to combat it by examining the various perspectives for understanding the causes of corruption. The study while recognizing the importance of the various perspectives, notes that both the rent-seeking and institutional theories offer deeper insights into the systemic nature of Nigerian corruption. Finally, the article examines the activities of the EFCC and notes that it faces serious challenges as the configurations of the Nigerian political landscape are uncertain.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Some of the things that cause poverty in Nigeria are the Nigerian ruling and business elite. The ruling elite lack the kind of philosophical and ideological vision and orientation that is committed to developing “a dream society.” They have no dream beyond the satisfaction of desires. This paper examines the nature of corruption in Nigeria. Corruption is a social problem that has interested many scholars. Ruzindana (1999) asserts that corruption in Africa is a problem of routine deviation from established standards and norms by public officials and parties with whom they interact. He also identifisd the types of corruption in Africa as bribery, private gain, and other benefits to non-existent workers and pensioners (called ghost workers). The dishonest and illegal behavior exhibited especially by people in authority for their personal gain is corruption. According to the ICPC Act (section 2), corruption includes vices like bribery, fraud, and other related offences. Corruption is the abuse or misuse of power or position of trust for personal or group benefit (monetary or otherwise).
Corruption is a symptom of numerous difficulties within contemporary societies. It usually involves more than one party. It takes a form of an organized crime. At times, an organization can be established on corruption to beget corruption. Gbenga (2008) asserts that corruption is contagious. According to thfe perception index of Transparency International, Nigeria was ranked 144th out of the 146 countries, beating Bangladesh and Haiti to last position. An analysis of the anti-graft/anti-corruption laws in Nigeria shows that corruption will continue in spite of the laws because the perpetrators do not fear any consequences. It is now dawning on the Nigerian public that the so-called private enterprise and legislators are free from scrutiny, and governors claim to be immune. Corruption is found in the award of contracts, promotion of staff, dispensation of justice, and misuse of public offices, positions, and privileges, embezzlement of public funds, public books, publications, documents, valuable security, and accounts. Corruption can be systematic in nature and affect the whole life of an organization or society.
Corruption in Nigeria
John Locke outlined the doctrine of the separation of powers, indicating the danger of oppressive and arbitrary rule when all functions of government are exercised by a single person or institution. The growing corruption in Nigeria can be traced to people holding power at the federal, state, and local government levels. Corruption does not involve just people in government, but also to people in both private and public positions and even traditional rulers .
President Olusegun Obasanjo presented a bill to the national assembly on “the prohibition and punishment of bribery, corruption, and other related offences bill of 1999”. Obasanjo’s regime has certainly fired the most critical shot at corruption in Nigeria in recent times. At the federal level, it cannot be business as usual in Nigeria. Corruption has also spread to both the state and local government levels, as well as some decentralized centers of power and authority. Thomson (2004) reports on the then National Electric Power Authority (NEPA):
There were powerful views on the problems of corruption. … You need tip them to get them to rectify a problem, said one, while some people in the focus group thought transformer were being vandalized by NEPA officials to warrant either replacement or repair of the transformer. Within the educational sector in Nigeria, especially from secondary to university levels, corruption is very pervasive, and most of which is not in the public eye. Corruption in education includes:
Corrupt Practices by Parents of Students
Parents are known to have used unorthodox means to influence their children’s or wards’ admission to federal government secondary schools, commonly referred to as unity schools. A high JAMB score is critical for admission in to the university in Nigeria, and this has led to cheating by some students and parents. There are expensive coaching centers that charge exorbitant fees to guarantee a minimum score of 300 in the JAMB score, which is been orchestrated by coaching centers through aiding and abetting cheating in the JAMB examination with the connivance of JAMB officials.
Corrupt Practices by Lecturers
Within the university system, some students resort to “sorting” (finding ways of purchasing of high and unmerited mark from a lecturer in order to enhance the grade in their final examination.) Such students will then say they have gone into the university and having what they not work for. Lecturers and students print fake receipts, which they use in collecting school fees, and some unsuspecting students are usually discovered by the audit department.
Corrupt Practice by Police
It has been alleged that some unscruplous officers rent firearms to criminals who use them to harass the public and engage in highway robberies. The police are also alleged to be collecting an unauthorized fee before granting bail to anyone who is arrested. Some police in traffic control collect a graduated illegal charge on all operators of inter- and intra-city. Some tax officials are alleged to be using two types of receipts to collect revenue. Once receipt is the original, and hence genuine, while the second is usually a false one for the collector.s private use, thus depriving government of its legitimate revenue (Bello Iman 2005). Nigeria became an independent nation on the 1st of October 1960.
A country richly endowed with monumental geographical and diverse natural resources ranging from crude oil to gas (natural), coal al, et.
Nigeria possesses potential market ability for rapid economic development.
However, inspite of these obvious resources and its advantage, Nigeria remains a poor and underdeveloped country.
Scholars have achieved and advanced several reasons to explain this parlous and depleting state.
One of the major and prominent factors advanced is corruption
Corruption has been a major problem in Nigeria since independence.
Perhaps, it may be that we even inherited ‘the problem’ from our colonial masters.
Numerous state institutions have become dysfunctional because of large-scale corrupt practices.
Projects are routinely abandoned, and no one is brought to book, public goods and resources are diverted to private ends.
Corruption endangers the good governance and the democracy we see today.
Corruption was cited as one of the more prominent reasons for Nigeria’s first military coup by the coupists of January 15, 1966 military putsch.
Massive corruption and resource brigandage also were sited as reasons for the military takes over by the regime of Buharil Tunde Idiagbon on December 31st 1983.
This is in-spite of the fact that even the military elite cannot be called saints on the one side.
Due to the pervasive nature of corruption in Nigeria, Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo in his inaugural speech on May 29 1999 affirmed that corruption, the single greatest bane of our society today would be tackled head- on, at all levels.
No society can achieve its full potentials if it allows corruption to become a full blown cancer as its has become in our nation.
According to the World Bank (1997:5), “corruption thrives when economic policies are poorly designed, education levels or standards are low, civil society participation is weak, public sector management is poor, and accountability of public institutions are weak”.
Corruption has become the order of the day in our public institution, and because Government business is nobody’s business, the country continues to suffer (Nzemeke and Erhagbe: 2002:131).
Corruption has been cited as the major reason why developmental prescription, aids and policies imposed on Nigeria by international financial organizations have inexplicably failed.
Thus, corruption is indeed, to the society and the polity what HW/AIDS is to the human body
While manifestation of the “acquired immune deficiency syndrome” caused by a bio-virus, corruption is an expression of the “Deficiency of integrity syndrome” caused by a socio-virus (corruption).
‘As HW/AIDS breaks down our immune system thereby making it susceptible to ills and sicknesses, so also corruption breaks down the law and order, structure of the economy, thereby making it easy for the nation to be infested with all sorts of deficiencies and crimes.
Sam Adesua (1987: 8-9) noted that “in Nigeria, …corruption is a well – organized and well entrenched social malady bestriding the nation, but which tends to have the tacit approval of almost every Nigerian in the social ladders”.
This is an opposite description of the corruption status in the Nigerian nation.
Corruption is no doubt pervasive in the country.
It permeates all strata of both public and private life.
It is not peculiar to any regime or government, in the country.
Honesty seems to have taken flight, and corruption has in the meanwhile tremendously gained ground and become very rampant.
According to Familoni (2005:51), becoming corrupt in Nigeria is almost avoidable, as morality is lax because to survive, people have to make money.
The 1996 study of corruption by Transparency International (TI) and Goettingen University ranked Nigeria as the most corrupt nation, among the fifty-four (54) counties listed in the study with Pakistan as the second most corrupt country.
Also in the 1998 transparency international corruption perception index (CPI), the image of Nigeria dipped further as she was ranked ninety (90) out of the ninety one (91) countries pooled – Bangladesh came first in the ranking.
The country remained or rather retained its position in 2003.
In 2006, the transparency international perception index ranked Nigeria one hundred and forty-two (142) out of one hundred and sixty-three (163) countries pooled, with Haiti as the most corrupt country in the world.
1.2 PROBLEM OF THE STUDY
One of the pertinent issues in Nigeria today is the focus on one of the greatest impediment to good governance and sustainable development corruption.
In recent times, corruption has as an issue taken the front burner in development discourse worldwide.
Since 1996, the World Bank has supported more than six hundred (600) anti–corruption programmes and governance initiative developed by its member countries.
Especially in 1999, the World Bank institute budgeted a whopping $7.5million to fight corruption (Polzer, 200:2; Tesh, 1991:1).
Ironically, the global financial body was embroiled in scandalous dealings that led to the removal of its chairman.
This goes to show the obvious relevance corruption has to sustainable growth and development.
The world’s major religions in their holy books are concerned with the evil of corruption amongst the rich and powerful, and prescribed rules for punishing perpetrators and the wiping out of corrupt acts.
The Qu’ran chapter 83, warmed believers against the fraudulent and corrupt practices of the Arabian society in the pre-Islamic era (Olurode, 2003:3).
The Holy Bible in proverbs (22:8, 11:20 and 13:11) (Olurode 2005:3) admonished the people about corruption and its consequences, promising perpetrators that they would be losers on judgment day.
Accountability is typically weak in Nigeria because the county is ripe for corruption and rife with it.
The motivation to earn extra income is extremely strong, worsened by poverty and low and declining civil services salaries.
Thus, corruption has become a cankerworm in the political system, stifling it of its potential sustainable growth.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The aim of the research is to appraise Nigeria’s anti-corruption crusade with special focus on the EFCC
– To identify the inherent nature of corruption in Nigerian since independence.
– To assess the effect of corruption on Nigeria’s development.
– To appraise the activities of the EFCC.
– To ascertain if the EFCC has succeeded or failed in its quest to wipe out corruption in Nigeria.
The strategy (2011-2020) promotes a three phased approach with an initial focus on (1) strengthening the capacities of the dedicated anti-corruption and public accountability bodies, followed by (2) mainstreaming of anti-corruption and governance principles into the work of the MDAs and finally by (3) strengthening accountability, integrity and transparency at the State and local government levels, the private sector and the society at large.
The implementation of the strategy is to be in three overlapping phases with some of the interventions at the three phases running concurrently.
A strong monitoring and evaluation system is to be put into place with a view to ensuring that individual MDAs prioritise and fulfil their obligations under the strategy and that the public, the private sector and the international community are informed of and involved in the assessment of progress.
The strategy galvanises and reaffirms the unwavering commitment of the Federal Government of Nigeria in the fight against corruption by creating a single vision and a shared sense of purpose by those tasked to prevent and combat corruption on behalf of all Nigerians.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION
How is it possible to appraise the activities of the EFCC?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0: The level of corruption in the Nigerian polity is not caused by a function of bad governance and corrupt individuals.
H1: The level of corruption in the Nigerian polity is a function of bad governance and corrupt individuals
H0: The administration (1999 till date) has no political will to fight corruption.
H1: The administration (1999 till date) has political will to fight corruption.
H0: The economic and financial crimes commission (EFCC) is not capable of fighting corruption.
H1: The economic and financial crimes commission (EFCC) is capable of fighting corruption.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY.
Corruption in Nigeria is an endemic, pervasive and systemic problem, which over time has been perceived as capable of threatening the very existence of the nation.
Combating corruption is about rebuilding Nigeria’s Sovereign National Wealth. Her Natural Capital made up in particular of non-renewable energy resources and minerals have been severely depleted and sold off, with most of the proceeds either looted or wasted through mismanagement and ineffective use.
Experts believe the overdependence on natural capital has led to the neglect of her produced capital consisting of infrastructure and Value-Added Goods.
Many studies have shown that the primary reason for Nigeria’s lack of progress since 1960 has been the failure to combat corruption effectively. It is the primary objective of the strategy to enhance the effectiveness of the nation’s resources by reducing the vulnerability of the Nigerian public institutions, private sector and society at large to corruption.
The need to combat corruption and improve governance has been acknowledged by successive governments and the people of Nigeria. As a result, since independence, there have been a vast number of institutions, laws and other initiatives to combat diverse manifestations of corruption.
One of the critical gaps and peculiarity in the national anti-corruption agenda is the location of the accountability and anti-corruption functions within multiple and operationally diverse institutions, which despite their closely related and even overlapping mandates have hardly coordinated their policies, strategies or operations.
This limited synergy results in the overall ineffective, inefficient and occasionally even counterproductive use of the institutional, legal, human and financial resources dedicated by the government and people to preventing and combating corruption.
In terms of the inhibiting weaknesses that are currently hampering the effective reliable and effective law enforcement in cases of corruption, the problem analysis identified various key contributing factors.
These include lack of effective investigations due to weak skill sets, limited resources, and weaknesses in case selection and management; lack of capacity for efficient prosecution, due to limited numbers of prosecutors, lack of sufficient training, and difficulties to attract the required numbers of competent and committed candidates to join the legal departments of the ACAs.
Others include weaknesses in the Legal Framework, including shortcomings in the Evidence Act and the Criminal and Penal Procedure Acts, as well as absence of specific laws on Plea bargaining, Whistleblower and Witness Protection and Non-Conviction Based Asset Forfeiture.
There are also weaknesses as concerns organisation, procedure, human resource management, motivation and incentives in the operational departments of anti-corruption law enforcement bodies; and limitations in the independence of the leadership of ACAs, including issues such as a perceived self-censorship, and insufficient security of tenure.
In order to address these multiple challenges, the retreat, and subsequent expert consultations identified a host of short, medium and long term measures.
This study is centered on combacting corruption in nigeria (a case study of EFCC)
.1.9 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Despite the limited scope of this study certain constraints were encountered during the research of this project. Some of the constraints experienced by the researcher were given below:
iii. INFORMATION CONSTRAINTS: Nigerian researchers have never had it easy when it comes to obtaining necessary information relevant to their area of study from private business organization and even government agencies. The staff of EFCC find it difficult to reveal their internal operations. The primary information was collected through face-to-face interview getting the published materials on this topic meant going from one library to other which was not easy.
Although these problems placed limitations on the study, but it did not prevent the researcher from carrying out a detailed and comprehensive research work on the subject matter.
1.10 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Corruption is a social problem that has interested many scholars. Ruzindana (1999) asserts that corruption in Africa is a problem of routine deviation from established standards and norms by public officials and parties with whom they interact. He also identifisd the types of corruption in Africa as bribery, private gain, and other benefits to non-existent workers and pensioners (called ghost workers).
Crime; Is simply defined as offence for which there is severe punishment by law.
B & C; Corruption and mismanagement
WAIC War Against Indiscipline & Corr
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