COMBATING CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA: A CASE STUDY OF THE ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIMES COMMISSION (EFCC)
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.
1.1 Background of the Study
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).
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) 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.
STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM
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, 2002; Tesh, 1991). 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). The Holy Bible in proverbs (22:8, 11:20 and 13:11) (Olurode 2005) 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.
The aim of the research is to appraise Nigeria’s anti-corruption crusade with special focus on the EFCC.
1. Identify the inherent nature of corruption in Nigerian since independence.
2. Assess the effect of corruption on Nigeria’s development.
3. Appraise the activities of the EFCC.
4. To ascertain if the EFCC has succeeded or failed in its quest to wipe out corruption in Nigeria.
i. The level of corruption in the Nigerian polity is a function of bad governance and corrupt individuals
ii. The administration (1999 till date) has the political will to fight corruption.
iii. The economic and financial crimes commission (EFCC) is capable of fighting corruption.
SCOPE OF STUDY SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
This research therefore focuses on the two term tenure of President Olusegun Obasanjo, and former president Yar’Adua’s short tenure, from 1999 till date with a view to the appraisal of the efforts of the EFCC at fighting corruption in Nigerian during the already mentioned time frame. The administration of Obasanjo was the first to show the commitment of fight corruption with the appropriate mechanisms and where obvious (even if sometimes selected results have been seen towards the fight against corruption.
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