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Title page                                                                                           ii

Approval Page                                                                                              iii

Dedication                                                                                          iv

Acknowledgements                                                                             v

Table of Contents                                                                               vi

List of Tables

Abstract                                                                                              ix



1.1    Background of the study                                                                       1

1.2    Statement of the problems                                                           6

1.3    Objectives of the study                                                                         7

1.4    Significance of the study                                                             7

1.5    Research Questions                                                                    8

1.6   Research Hypotheses                                                                             8

1.7   Theoretical Framework                                                                         9

1.8   Scope of the study                                                                       11

1.9    Limitation of the study                                                                         11

1.10    Definition of Terms                                                                            12




2.1    Sources of Literature                                                                               14

2.2    Review of Relevant Literature                                                                 14

2.2.1Origin of the EFCC as a crime Fighting Agency in Nigeria                        14

2.2.2 The Media and EFCC in the Fight Against Oil Fraudsters                         15

2.2.3 The Media Coverage of EFCC Activities in the Fight Against Money                17

2.2.4 The Analysis of Agenda Setting Theory of Media                                    19

2.2.5 The Pole of Print Media in Portraying the EFCC                                     21

2.2.6 Empirical Review                                                                         22

2.2.7 Gap in the Literature                                                                     23

2.3    Summary of Literature                                                                            24




3.0     Research Method                                                                       27

3.1     Research Design                                                                                 27

3.2     Area of the Study                                                                      27

3.3     Research Population                                                                            28

3.4      Sample Sample                                                                                  28

3.5      Sample Technique                                                                     29

3.6      Instrument of Data Collection                                                             29

3.7      Method of Data Collection                                                                 29

3.8      Method of Data Analysis                                                           29

3.9     Expected Results                                                                       30



4.1    Data Presentation and Analysis                                                             32

4.2    Analysis / Testing of Research Hypothesis                                            37

4.3    Discussion of Results                                                                           40




5.1     Summary                                                                         42

5.2     Conclusion                                                                      43

5.3     Recommendations                                                           44


Appendix 1

Appendix 11






















Table 4.1:             Presentation and Analysis of data based on the period of



Table 4.2:             What are the natures of stories Daily Sun and the guardian newspapers portray about the EFCC as        a crime fighting Agency?


Table 4.3:             Do Daily Sun and The Guardian Newspapers provide enough placements to issues of the EFCC in Nigeria?


Table 4.4:             Do the papers portray enough depth to stories about the anti-graft agency as a crime fighting commission in Nigeria?












Economic and financial crimes commission (EFCC) established in the year 2003 has the mandate to investigate financial crimes such as advanced fee fraud (419 frauds) and money laundering.  The commission’s act empowers it to investigate people in all sectors of Nigerian economy who appear to be living above their means. However, corruption in Nigeria is on the increase day-to-day with many cases of government officials siphoning public funds.  The anti-corruption organization, transparency International reports that Nigeria remains highly corrupt just as the organization rated Nigeria the 35th most corrupt country in the world.  As a result, the EFCC is seen by many Nigerians as ineffective; as toothless bulldog that can neither bark nor bite.  This research study intends to find out how the anti-graft agency is projected by Nigerian newspapers, using Daily Sun and the Guardian Newspapers as case studies. Three hypothesis will be formulated for this study.  And the work will be anchored on Agenda Setting Theory 0f meadia.  Also the researcher will adopt content analysis method in the study.











One of the greatest challenges facing Nigeria as a political entity is corruption.  Corruption is one of the colonial legacies bequeathed to the post independent indigenous bureaucrats.  The pre-independence scam in the African continental Bank (ACB) which involved top politicians was one of the grand corruptions recorded before independence in 1960.  The post independence Nigeria witnessed that the political elites of the era were so much center on individual and ethic interest.  The firs Nigerian republic was ousted in 1966 by the military on alleged corruption.  The leader of the coup de tat, major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu state that:

Our enemies are political profiteers, swindler, the men in the high and low places that seek bribe and demand ten percent, those that seek to keep the country divided permanently so that they can remain in office as ministers, VIPs of waste, the tribalism, the nepotists, those that make the country look big for nothing before international circles, those that have corrupted our society and put the Nigeria political calendar back by their words and deeds. (Richardson, 2009:4).

Again, one of the principal reasons for the 1975 coup de tat in Nigerian was the allegation of corruption leveled against General Yakubu Gowon’s administration.  Also, the Shehu Shagari (second Republic) administration from 1979 to 1983 was alleged to have institutionalized corruption in public and private sectors under which basis the military ousted the regime.  The reign of General Sani Abacha witnessed unprecedented high level of corruption as he championed direct looting from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from 1993 to 1997.

Successive governments in Nigeria embarked on various anti-corruption programmes consistently to educate the society at large on the adverse effect of corruption on the economy of the nation and the image of the country in the international scene.  In highlighting  efforts of past regimes in the war against corruption, this study takes a cue from the general Murtala Muhammad war against corruption in 1976, which resulted in the major purge in public and private sectors; the Jaji declaration in 1977 by Olusegun Obasonja, sign-posting the commencement of the second phased battle against the creeping culture of corruption, bribering and indiscipline, the Ethical Revolution of Shehu Shagari from 1981 to 1983; War Against indiscipline (WAI) by Buhari- Idiaghbon in 1984, the National Orientation Movement in 1986, and the  mass mobilization for social Justice by Babangida in 1987; to the War Against indiscipline and corruption by Abacha in 1996.  The truth is that the country (Nigerian) is more corrupt than the imagination of the outside world.  Corruption transcends to our unemployed youths who have metamorphosed to security risks to the society.  Cases of advanced Fee Fraud (419), Kick-back, up-front payment of ten percent of contracts value to government functionaries for contracts awarded, gratification, to public office holders for executing their legitimate functions in their respective office etc are common occurrences in Nigeria.

In spite, of this seemingly noble effort of government to combat corruption, it is said to not that most top government functionaries are deeply involved in corruption practices. Corruption inhibits development because resources meant for public services are being diverted to individual purses.  The equality of services rendered is seriously affected in standard.  Some developmental project enunciated by the government are often abandoned or left uncompleted after collecting mobilization fee (and possibly paying up-front ten percent of the total value of the contract to the government functionaries that awarded the contract.

Asogwa (2008:86), points out that Nigeria has been deeply trapped in the web of systematic corruption, a deadly virus, once it enters into the blood stream of any system; it spreads quickly to all the segments of the organization.  The result is that the virus will adversely affect the effectiveness of the system.

The need to institutionalize the efforts of government in waging war against corruption in Nigeria warranted Obasanjo’s administration to sponsor the bill that gave credence to the law that established the economic and financial crimes commission.  But the fact remains that the fight against corruption by the Anti Grft Agency has been lopsided, vindictive, selective, biased one sided and meretricious.  This is why the campaign against corruption has been counter productive, instead of it curbing and reducing corruption, it has helped it to increase.

What would it take to rouse officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from snoozing while the nation is soaked in repugnant cases of corruption by parliamentarians, public office holders and celebrated businessmen and women?   Ever since it was established in 2003, the EFCC has pointed to its ambitious goals as an indication of its commitment to the fight against corruption.  However, the EFCC achievement record is poor.  Many Nigerians regard the EFCC not only as a severely enfeebled anti-corruption agency but also as an organization that is deeply confused about the direction to which it should be headed.

The EFCC’s mission statement, as clearly outlined in its web site states.   The EFCC will curb the menace of the corruption that constitutes the cog in the wheel of progress, protect national and foreign investments in the country; imbue the spirit of hard work in the citizenry and discourage ill gotten wealth, identify illegally acquired wealth and confiscate it; build an upright workforce in both public and private sectors of the economy and; contribute to the global war against financial crimes.

The extent to which the EFCC has lived by or adhered to its mission statement remains a contested topic in the public sphere.  The EFCC has had a chequered history right from its early days. It is not a pretty history by anyone’s evaluation. There are serious questions to be asked about the level of commitment and determination of the EFCC officials to deny corrupt politicians public officer and business people that important oxygen bag that helps to sustain their corrupt practices. The public is entitled to ask robust questions about how far the EFCC has accomplished its grand objectives.  An anti-corruption agency that is funded and supported with tax payer’s money must live up to public expectations and the key objectives for which it was established.

The trial and conviction in London of Former Delta State Governor James Onanefe Ibori on money laundering charges and other related offences in Late February this year (2013) shows that there are dedicated anti-crime organizations across the world willing to handled high profile corruption cases in Nigeria which our own spineless EFCC is too terrified to touch.  When Ibori was successfully prosecuted and convicted in London, the Metropolitan police beat its chest triumphantly in a symbolic message to the EFCC and our compromised judicial system.  The message was that an anti crime agency with courage has caught a big fish in Nigeria’s sea of corrupt politicians.

What is really going on at the EFCC?  In spite of public outrage over major corruption scandals, the EFCC has maintained an odd kind of silence over the embarrassing cases of corruption involving high profile people.  By showing a lack of concern over major corruption scandals, the EFCC has exposed itself to accusation of complicity in watching parliamentarian, public officer and businessmen and women paddle their boats freely in Nigerian corrupt waters.

Specifically, the EFCC has been indolent in its response to shocking case of corruption across the nation. Here are some but not limited examples of corruption cases across the country.  The House of Representative ad hoc committee investigating how the oil subsidy revenue was used or abused by various companies has produced spectacular allegations and counter-allegations of bribery between oil marketer Femi Otedola and Farouk Lawan, the House Committee chair.  The allegations have been given further entertainment value by the emergency in the recent past of questionable audio and video recording of what transpired between Otedola and Lawan.

Additionally, investigation into the police pension fund have produced scandalous details of how a syndicate comprising the permanent secretary in a Federal Ministry and other senior officials had stolen pension funds and defrauded Federal Government of over N3 billion every mouth.  The investigations also showed how N28 billion that belonged to the police pension fund was lodged in an unidentified bank account while N15billion was spent on the purchase of grandiose property by some people in the pension unit of the office of the Head of Service.  Furthermore, the investigators found that more than 44,000 workers who retired between 1968 and 1975 were denied their pension benefits.  This is just to mention a few of the corruption cases in the recent past in Nigeria which the EFCC has usefully failed in living up to its responsibility of charging, prosecuting and punishing the people found culpable.  The EFCC has said nothing about how far it has investigated these extraordinary allegations and counter – allegations of corruption or whether indeed it is yet to commence investigation.

Still, the public has not heard anything to suggest that the agency is taking the allegations seriously.  There is something dodgy about an anti-corruption agency of government that operates system in which corruption has become an approve way of life but prefer to look the other way whenever senior government officers, politician and business people are accused of corruption. The public does not believe anti-corruption slogan of the EFCC. And many people have little faith in candour and anti-corruption credentials of officials of EFCC.

This research study intends to unravel the projection of the Anti-graft agency in the war against corruption, using Daily sun and The Guardian newspapers.



There is so much corruption in Nigeria today.  This is disheartening especially when one notices that they are perpetuated by the people in government, who almost are seen as sacred cows, and the untouchable. However, in the year 2003, the government inaugurated an anti graft Crime Commission    (EFCC) to fight and defeat this ugly trend.

Since the inauguration of EFCC as an anti graft agency, it has ever been saddle with the responsibility of preventing and fight corruption. However, much has been heard about EFCC but little has been reported about those that have been prosecuted since its inception and many suspects on its watch list on a regular basis have never been charged.  Many as a result, see EFCC as a tool in heard of ruling partly to heard pick their opposition and to oppress them.  Similarily, little is known about various money and other recoveries made by the EFCC; therefore, it becomes imperative to look at newspaper portrayal of the anti graft.



The general objective of this study is to determine newspaper portrayal of EFCC as a crime fighting agency in Nigeria.  Specially, objectives for this study are:

  1. To study the nature of stories, The guardians and Daily such newspaper cover about the agency as a crime fighting commission in Nigeria
  2. To determine the space / prominence newspapers portray the EFCC as a crime fighting agency in Nigeria.

iii.      To investigate whether newspapers portray the agency in favourble or unfavourable undertone.



There is no gain saying the fact that the research findings will benefit the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

This research study has become imperative and significant in view of the fact that the EFCC needs to be put on the right footing, if the war against the canker-worn that has eaten deep into the fabric of Nigeria economy must be totally won.

Also, the media practitioners are among the beneficiaries of this research study.  More importantly, this study will contribute to the already existing academic literature on the phenomena.



To achieve the goal of this study the following research are formulated thus;

  1. What are the natures of stories the newspaper portray about the EFCC as a crime fighting Agency in Nigeria?
  2. Do the newspapers provide enough placements of issues of the EFCC in Nigeria?
  3. Do the papers portray enough depth to stories about the agency as a crime fighting agency in Nigeria?



Three hypotheses were put forwarde to guide and regulate the conduct of the study.  The hypotheses have both null and alternative hypotheses.  The null hypothesis is represented by H0 while alternative hypothesis is represented by H1:

H1:     News, features, cartoons, editorials are nature of stories the papers portray about

EFCC as a crime fighting agency in Nigeria.

H0:     News, features, cartoons, editorials are not the nature of stories the papers portray

about the EFCC as a crime fighting agency.

H2:     The newspapers provide enough placements of issues about the EFCC in Nigeria.

H0:     The newspapers do not provided enough placements of issues about the EFCC in


H3:     Daily sun and the guardian newspapers portray enough depth to stories about the

agency as crime fighting commission in Nigeria.

H0:     Daily sun and the guardian newspaper do not portray enough depth to stories

about the agency as crime fighting commission in  Nigeria.



Agenda Setting Theory of the Media

Granted that every research problem in the field of mass communication be addressed on an appropriate theory, this research study finds, anchor on agenda setting theory. This theory is indeed appropriate in view of the postulation made by its propounders.

This theory described the powerful influence of the media in the ability to tell us what issues are important (Ndolo 2006:32).  Scholars agree that the audience attach importance to issue in the domain of public discussion because the mass media have effectively brought them to public focus.

The link between media agenda and public perception of what constitution news is vital one to explore. If the public look to the media for news, what the media decides is news, is what the media decide is news, is what the public recognizes as news.  What is emphasized by the media is given emphasis in public perception, what is amplified by media is enlarged in public perception.

Donald McCombs and Malcoln shaw (1976) noted that “audience not only learn about public issues and other matters through the media, they also learn how much importance to attach to an issue or topic form the emphasis the mass media place upon it. For instance, in reflecting what people say during a campaign, the mass media apparently determine the importance issues.  In other words, the mass media set the agenda of the campaign.’ McComb’s and Sham argue that the agenda setting capacity of the media makes them highly influential in shaping public perceptions of the world. This ability to effect cognitive change is one of the most importance aspect of the power of mass communication.’

The power of news organizations to influence what people think about often referred to as ‘agenda setting” come from their ability to choose the stories that will gain attention (McCombs and Shaw 1972:36).

Greater visibility of an event, they say, leads to greater public awareness and concern for an issue.  Therefore, the manner in which an event or issue is presented in the news media, contributes on lot to the knowledge and understanding of such an event or issue.

Eze (2011:106), affirmed that even through Lippman did not specifically use the term “Agenda setting” itself, Bernard Cohen is generally credited with refining Lippman’s ideas in the theory of agenda setting, Cohen (1963:13) wrote:

The press is significantly more than a surveyor of information and opinion. It may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful much of the time in telling people what to think, about.  And it follows from this that the world books different to different people depending not only on their personal interest, but on the map that is drawn for them by the writers, editors, and publishers of the papers they read.

It is not longer in doubt that issues are made more important and popular than the other through the media. The media with its ability to reach large and heterogeneous audience simultaneously makes it have an edge over others.  The media can do this by brining ideas to people on persistent levels.

Conclusively, the performance of EFCC in the fight against corrupton has been severally projected by the media, especially print in recent past.  It has become imperative to anchor this study on the agenda setting theory so as to determine the newspaper portrayal of the anti graft agency in the fight against crime in Nigeria.



Granted that the scope of study has to do with content area coverage of the study, this research has its scope premised on the newspapers portrayal of EFCC as an anti graft agency in Nigeria.The period of study is one year (2013).



This research study is strictly limited to the publications of two Nigerian newspapers, namely Daily sun and The Guardian.

The researcher encountered some constraints and difficulties in the course of carrying out this study. Financial constraints and time factor were limiting factors to this research study.





The key terms in the research topic and those of research objectives have conceptual and operational definitions.


  • Newspaper: Printed publication usually issued everyday or weekly containing news, articles, editorials, fresh information and advertisements.
  • Economic and Finical Crimes Commission: The commission or agency set up by the EFCC Act 2004 to investigative alleged economic and financial crimes.
  • Portrayal: This means describing or showing of something.
  • Crime: Means offences against the state as armed robbery child trafficking, internet fraud, bank and embezzlement of public fund.
  • Favourable: In support of something or action.
  • Unfavourable: Opposition or criticism against action, persons or something.

Operational Definition of Terms

  • Newspaper: it maens a sub-sector of the mass media usually referred to as the press.
  • Economic and Financial Crimes Commission: A federal government agency in partnership with the United Nations set up the EFCC Act 2004 with power to arrest, investigate, prosecute and prescribe terms of imprisonment for accused and convicted person of advanced fee fraud, embezzlement of public funds, money, laundering and related offences.
  • Portrayal: The display of something in a book, film or programme.
  • Crime: The means offences under thes EFCC Act 2004 as enumerated above.
  • Favourable: Objective reporting
  • Unfavourable: Biased reporting or criticisms against EFCC.




Asogwa, N. (2008). “Corruption in Public Service: The Bane of Good

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Ebo, S. (1999). The Mass Media and Society Enugu: Acena Publisher Plc.


Ndido, S. (2006). Mass Media Systems and Society. Enugu: Rhyce Kerex

Publishers .



Obasi, F. (2008). A Handbook on Research Proposal Writing. Enugu: Rewil



Obogo, I. (2012). “you are a failure.” Lagos: Daily Sun Publications.


Ogunulale, O. (2013). “Call EFCC to order National Assembly Urged”

Lagos: The Guardian Newspaper Limited.


Shaw, D. et al (1977). The Emergency of American Political Issue. St Paul:

West Publisher.


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