How to curb corruption in Nigeria
Nigeria is in West Africa between longitudes latitude 4-14 north of the equator, and 2-15 East of the meridian. Its landmass is approximately 923,768 square kilometers, whereby 98.59% is land area whereas, 1.41% is water. It has a characteristic tropical climate at the coastal region, sub-tropics in the hinterland and has two visibly defined seasons. These seasons are the rainy season that occurs between April and October, and the dry season that takes place between November and March. Nigeria has three main regions that are divided by the river Niger, and the Benue. The country has plentiful natural resources which include natural gas, petroleum, iron, limestone, tin, as well as abundant arable land. The country has one federal capital province, 36 states, and the highest population in Africa. According to the population census carried out in 2006, the country had a population of 140,003,542 people. In 2008, Nigeria ranked 121out of 178 countries according to the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (TICPI) (Donald 1).
HOW TO CURB CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA
Corruption has attained diverse definitions due to the fact that it continues to receive extensive attention in the community, as well as extensive limelight in the academic arena. Corruption is broadly defined as a falsification or a transformation from good to bad. In particular, corruption entails the violation of recognized rules for the purposes of personal profit or gain. Corruption is also defined as endeavors to secure power or wealth through illegitimate means, private profiteering at the expense of the public; or abuse of public power with an intent for private benefit. Additionally, corruption is a conduct which deviates from the official duties of a public position, as a result of private gains. This definition entails conduct such as bribery, nepotism, as well as misappropriation of public resources for personal uses (Girling 67). Corruption is fundamentally an anti-social conduct conferring unacceptable benefits in contradiction of ethical and legal norms, and which destabilize the authorities to develop the citizens’ living conditions (Victor 6).
Topical development in Nigeria revealed billions of Nigeria naira and US dollars in stolen public resources. In Nigeria, corruption is almost certainly the foremost means to amass quick wealth. Corruption in Nigeria occurs in several forms, and is alleged to contribute immeasurably to the misery and poverty of a large part of the Nigerian populace. The most judicious estimates imply that between four to eight billion U.S dollars are pilfered from Nigeria’s state funds every year. However, no politician has been arrested or serving a jail term for embezzlement or corruption (Girling 67).
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), is mandated to protect the wealth Nigeria. Since its inception in 2003, the EFCC has preferred charges against thirty five prominent politicians, together with nineteen previous state governors. The preceding EFCC chief, Nuhu Ribadu, recorded some progress until he challenged James Ibori, who was alleged to have embezzled $290m. It is noteworthy to mention that Mr. Ibori was a close confidant to Umaru Yar’Adua. Umaru Yar’Adua was the president of Nigeria from 2007 to 2010. In Nigeria, state governors continue to benefit from immunity from trial while in power. Some former state governors, who were recently under arrest for alleged misappropriation of $615m, are yet to be put on trial (Smith 6).
Following the exit of Mr. Ribadu, the pursuit dishonest politicians slowed down leading to fears that the anti-corruption agency was weakening. The agency received derogatory report-cards from overseas and was blamed of being hesitant to collaborate with foreign authorities. America’s secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, on a trip to Nigeria in 2009, alleged the EFCC was falling off. When the present President, Goodluck Jonathan, assumed leadership in 2010, there were hopes that corruption would be dealt with properly. However, Goodluck Jonathan failed to sack the EFCC chief Farida Waziri, who was widely perceived as hesitant in tracking down graft. Farida Waziri once alleged that fighting corruption in Nigeria is like seizing a tiger by its tail, whereby if one is not careful the tiger would devour them.
The removal of Farida Waziri from office was widely celebrated, but analysts allege that it would not make much difference without genuine institutional reforms. The Nigerian justice system is as crooked as the rest of the state apparatus, which is explains why it is practically impossible to put bigwigs on trial. Corruption is an enormous brake on Nigeria’s socio-economic growth. Some officials allege that, since Nigeria became independent in 1960, it has lost in excess of $380 billion to corruption. Foreign investors refer to corruption as the foremost reason to keep away from the country (Rosenau 101).
The corruption menace which has devoured deep into the country’s fabric would require diverse measures to curb it. In Nigeria, corruption has resisted all measures implemented to combat it, apparently because the institutions that are mandated to fight corruption are corrupt. The country has experimented with numerous policies such as the Code of Conduct Bureau, judicial commissions of enquiry, Public Complaints Commission, the National Open Apprenticeship (NOA), as well as the Mass Mobilization for Social Justice and Economic Recovery (MAMSER), but yet corruption blossomed. Other institutions include the War Against Indiscipline Council (WAIC), and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), which appears to exercise its authority only over the fraudulent poor (Smith 10).
It is apparent that Nigeria lacks the capability to effectively curb the corruption menace by simply instituting different probe panels. In its place, it would be prudent to re-orient the general populace to a healthier value system in order to curb corruption. This is because the Nigerian population has for a long time lived on the seize-whatsoever-comes-your-way and the survival of the fittest mentality (Dike 35). Youth re-orientation in Nigeria to a corrupt free value system can help in the battle against graft. The youth needs to understand the practice of virtue as the ultimate answer to behavior change and decline in corruption. The Nigerian government ought to put into practice the prosecution of all known corrupt political big wigs in the society, since they play a great role in making the country’s embryonic laws inoperable (Piot 105).
Significance Question. How can poor leadership culture that contributed to the disintegration of key public utilities and infrastructure in the country be adjusted? In order to win the war on graft, observance of ethical principles in decision-making should be the foundation of the country’s policies. The absence of ethics, in the conduct of the country’s affairs, business and public, the apparent war on graft in Nigeria cannot be fruitful. In other words, in the absence of ethics, any funds budgeted towards fighting graft in Nigeria would be wasted. Nigeria requires creating laws and executing them to the letter. As Aristotle maintains, the intention of ethical philosophy is realistic, to make people better individuals (Suberu 43).
The nation needs to reinforce the institutional balances and checks among the country’s chief social forces and the division of powers inside the government. The country has to ensure that those entrusted to implement the war on graft are people of virtue, individuals who identify and at all times do what is just (Bryce 78). Virtue is principally an attained human quality, the exercise and possession of which enables individuals to realize those goods that are internal to practices. On the other hand, the lack of virtue in effect prevents people from realizing any of these goods. Virtuous leaders, in business and government are individuals of integrity, honesty, as well as trust (Ukiwo 115).
How Can the Nation’s Weak Socio-Economic Status be improved. Armed with virtue and ethics, the nation ought to set out to lessen private gains to corrupt conduct with harsh penalties on the perpetrators. Making tough set of laws with strong enforcement can discourage corrupt conduct. Nigeria should not award excessive discretionary power to officers who may be in position to award favors especially to businessmen. Such officers habitually create simulated scarcity to draw bribes from the hopeless public. It is also evident that there is the enticement to be fraudulent when officials who wield excessive authority are poor. Accountability and transparency are two primary ingredients of public service in every part of the world. In the absence of these cardinal fundamentals, the society would suffer stagnation or in the worst case circumstances, suffer retrogression (Nye 12).
Among the reasons for the increase of fraudulent activities in Nigeria is that a lot of Nigerians have never had the opportunity to exist under the rule law. This is because the society has from the time of independence in 1960, been ruled by the military. In the book Future Positive by Edward De Bono, the author notes that law and order is a fundamental ingredient of the fabric of any society. The society requires giving high priority to this characteristic of life, since poor quality in this regard demotes everything else. The police in Nigeria ought to be upgraded in training, status, equipment and remuneration). The Nigerian police ought to develop into an elite profession that would be accessible only to individuals with excellent moral personality. If the security agents, for instance, the military and the customs officials would learn and realize their limits and adhere to the rules, the situation would improve in the country. However, this does not suggest that officers in upper level may not be corrupt. The top bureaucrats with too much power are liable to abuse them (Mauro 25).
The mass media has a critical role to play in the crusade to educate the populace of their fundamental rights as citizens, and in revealing the corrupt. Nigeria ought to create long-term structures in the social order to constantly deal with corruption, instead of creation of ad-hoc graft-panels. The citizens too have a role to play in fighting corruption since they ought to always resist the enticement to present bribes to dishonest government officials, since it takes two to tango. The general public must ensure that corruption is wiped out from the society, they ought to desist from celebrating people for the reason that they are in public offices. The citizens should realize that they have the right to appraise holders of public office when in office (Banfield 102).
The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) has express grief over the increasingly high rate of unemployment and divestment in the Nigerian economy. The NESG has recommended collective action in the battle against corruption if Nigeria intends to deal with the myriad of economic and social challenges that confront it. In the ‘Changing International landscape in the struggle against corruption,’ seminar prepared by the Siemens Integrity Initiative in Nigeria, the NESG Director-General, asserted that the effects of corrupt trends affect all people in the society both indirectly and directly. This particularly happens when the funds paid out in fraudulent exchanges into personal pockets foil the provision of proper economic and social facilities in particular quality infrastructure (Maduekwe 4).
In Nigeria, corruption ought to be tackled without delay if the country is dedicated to developing the economy and curtailing the high divestment rate by multinationals. The fact that numerous companies are exiting Nigeria on account of the concern of corruption signifies a negative trend for the country’s economic development. This is because business divestment results to reduction of employment opportunities, and stunted economic growth. The fight against graft is a central concern in Nigeria, as it is an imperative step towards the actualization of the nation’s economic and investment transformation program. The enactment of the UK Bribery Act has generated a panic for investors who fear entry into corruption-infected business environments or communities, while the investors already in those places are currently divesting. More significantly, is the realization that persons are currently more legally responsible than they hitherto were, under preceding provisions of several nations’ anti-graft laws. In respect to the UK Bribery Act, a lot of oil companies have already disinvested from the Nigerian economy in order not to be trapped in the web of fraudulent practices (Rosenau 110).
The Basic Strategy for Effective Governance. Methods of Tackling Corruption. For successful control of graft in Nigeria, the society ought to develop a way of life that emphasizes relative openness, contrary to the contemporary bureaucratic environment of secrecy. There ought to be in place a merit system rather than the tribal predisposition, nepotism, preferential treatment, or state of origin which have tinted the landscape. As a basic strategy for effective governance a merit system ought to be adopted in national resources allocation and employment. More significantly, the leadership ought to congregate the political will to deal with the problem confrontationally. Regardless of where it takes place, what causes graft or the form it assumes, the straightforward fact remains that graft is liable to have an increasingly weighty and diverse effects in less developed countries, than in the industrialized world. This is due to a multiplicity of conditions, which cannot diverge significantly from the character of their underdevelopment. Owing to the corrosive consequences of corruption in any country’s national development, and given the poverty or the relatively limited resources in the region, Nigeria, can barely afford to be fraudulent (Lloyd 61).
It is proper to emphasis the value of excellent and enforceable policies in curbing corrupt behavior. Policies ought to be periodically reviewed to secure any loophole as well as to catch-up with experiences in the society. In this regard, for any crusade against corruption to be effective in Nigeria, certain characteristics ought to be universal in the strategy against corruption. This paper suggests some measures that would help curb corruption in Nigeria (Rosenau 110).
Introduce accountability and transparency in government operations particularly in every financial transaction.
Promotion of a free press as well as electronic media to powerfully report to the general public concerning the society’s corrupt practices.
Introduction of independent and powerful government watch-dog institutions, such as anti-corruption bureaus, auditors general, inspectors general, as well as ombudsman which will discern corruption practices and get them to public awareness.
Organization of the civil society to deal with the problems of graft brought to limelight by the transparency process and the activities of the media and independent government watch-dog institutions.
Minimize and make simpler the government regulations, principally those that involve the issuance of permits, licenses, as well as preferential positions, in so doing limiting opportunities for corruption.
Introduction of analogous anti-bribery clauses in contracts regarding privatization of government institutions, as well as the development of natural resources.
Insertion of anti-bribery clauses in every key procurement contract with the backing of international financial institutions as well as bilateral aid agencies insisting that international corporations, that would bid on Nigerian procurement contracts, recognize such clauses as well as the penalties connected with their infringement.
Ensuring that enforcement is expected and powerful. There is also the need to criminalize the bribery acts, proscribe the subtraction of bribes for taxation purposes, and create impediments to relocation to western monetary institutions of monetary gains resulting from corrupt activities.
Declaration of wealth should be a requisite condition whereby the state should call for every high-level Nigerian official to sign a statement that grant authorization to banks, foreign and local, investment house or real estate to divulge any personal assets that they may hold. It is essential to break this blanket of secrecy, if wealth declarations are to be confirmed and liability enforced.
There should be investigations into sources of income in regard to the population. Scrutinizing personal deposits of colossal sums of money, by the local and foreign financial institutions for the origins, would assist in curbing pillaging of national resources by civil servants.
International donors such as the Breton woods institutions should withhold any form of Aid by cutting off totally distribution of support to Nigeria in the event that high-level corruption does not cease.
Several laws are by now on the book to battle corruption in Nigeria, including those produced international organizations. However, what is important at the moment is the political will to battle corruption in the country. Each country must determine its individual priorities on the battle against corruption. But every society ought to focus on tangible actions that are able to yield measurable outcomes, and report publicly whether outcomes are being realized. Above all, Nigeria may not be seen as free and secure until the citizen’s human rights are protected and respected by the government. Nigeria cannot be regard as secure if millions of citizens go hungry, without proper shelter, are jobless and ailing as the economy is drained by corrupt government officials. Through it all, in order to tame corruption, the country needs to utilize words and actions in a versatile approach. However, Nigeria requires to been monitor the effectiveness of her numerous anti-corruption strategies. Finally, the rule of law, transparency, good governance, as well as accountability are the keys to dealing with corruption in Nigeria, as corrupt leaders are incapable of waging an effective battle against corruption.
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