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Corruption is the scourge of most under-developed, developing and to a considerable extent, the so-called developed countries. Nigeria epitomizes a classic case of corruption in under-developed countries, hence the need for several solutions advanced in the fight against the menace of corruption and its resulting consequences. The fight has taken different forms from the forming of anti-grafting agencies like the Economic and Financial Corruption Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Commission (ICPC) down to waging massive campaigns against corruption by other government agencies and non-governmental outfits like the churches and the mosque amongst others. This work focuses on the review of the legal regime for fighting corruption in Nigeria. The methodology applied in this work is doctrinal and the approach is analytical and descriptive. The use of primary sources like Statutes and Case laws, and secondary sources like textbooks, Newspapers and the Internet was used in throwing more lights on the work. In chapter one the researcher makes a brief introduction of topic while defining corruption, nature and forms. Chapter two deals with corruption in Nigeria, causes, effects and fights. Chapter five deals with the legal regime put in place to combat corruption. Chapter four deals with the review of the effects of these agencies and its shortcomings. Conclusions are made in Chapter five; these agencies and laws have only managed to act in full force on paper while it has not done enough to really tackle the canker worm eating into the fabrics of the country, which is corruption. The writer recommends that agencies and laws which should keep the anti-corruption agencies in check should be put in force. Establishing international convention, creating transparency and openness in government spending will also help in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.




 1.0   Introduction

In 2011, Nigeria was ranked 143th out of 182 countries surveyed by the corruption perception index indicating the level of corruption in the country as compared to other countries. Although this rank came as an improvement from the previous years, it did not result from an improved system of governance, rather it was due to an increase in the number of countries that participated in the survey. 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, et al. Nigeria possesses potential market ability for rapid economic development. However, in spite 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. Corruption is a global phenomenon with deep historical roots, although it manifests itself with significant similarities and differences in different societies depending on the particular system of power distribution and the legal and moral norms operating therein. 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.




  • Background of Study

Etymologically, corruption is derived from a Latin word “corruptus” which means to break or destroy. Literally, corruption means to break away or depart from morality, ethics and civic virtues.  Section 2 of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission Act 2000 defines corruption to include “bribery, fraud and other related offences”. Corruption is one human vice which requires immediate tackling. Given its damaging consequence, it is not a problem whose solution can be put off to another day. That is why most countries have in place institutions charged with tackling the menace. In Nigeria, the challenge of corruption has been discussed, examined and dissected at various fora: seminars, high-powered committees, academic gatherings, and in the media. All these efforts have been made so that solutions can be found to the problem. However, the problem of corruption as we have argued elsewhere seems to have defied solution. In Nigeria, metaphorical allusions like “long leg”, “bottom power”, “chop chop”, “kick back”, “scratch my back” are all euphemisms for corrupt behavior. Every government that has come to power has pledged that “there would be no sacred cows” and that it would “not be business as usual”. Such promises have not done much to stem the tide of corruption and the phenomenon seems to have become normal in the country.  The study will show the agencies and laws put in place to combat corruption while also highlighting some of the leading causes of corruption in Nigeria. Variables such as culture, institutional structures, family/kinship and the judiciary will be examined with a view to see how they contribute to corruption. We will also look at trend and magnitude of corruption in Nigeria since independence in 1960 to 2007, while bearing in mind that these periods cover both the military and civilian rule which are commonly referred to as the first, second and third republic respectively.  Furthermore, the consequences of corruption from the political, economic and the social angles will be examined.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The problem of corruption in Nigeria has been characterized by lack of culture of accountability, inefficiency, weak government structures, excessive concentration of power in the executive arm of government and lack of transparency. This phenomenon in governance characterize the practice of shameless act of stealing of public funds and properties, wasteful mismanagement of national resources and public asset. Political corruption is the major challenge facing Nigeria today, and its debilitating ancillaries such as graft, nepotism, embezzlement, looting, abuse of office, etc. These factors have stunned the growth of the country in all areas of her endeavors. In order to curb the menace caused by political corruption in Nigeria, former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, in 2002, instituted the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), after other attempts to stem corruption had been proven abortive. Former President Obasanjo had declared in his inaugural speech on May 29, 1999 that “corruption, the greatest bane of our society today will be tackled head on at all levels and there will be no sacred cows; nobody, no matter who and where, will be allowed to get away with the perpetuation of corruption”. On the 29th of September 2000 , following the recommendation of President Olusegun Obasanjo, The Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) was inaugurated with the mandate to receive and investigate reports of corruption and in appropriate cases prosecute the offenders, to examine, review and enforce the correction of corruption prone systems and procedures of public bodies, with a view to eliminating corruption in public life, and to educate and enlighten the public on and against corruption and related offences with a view to enlisting and fostering public support for the fight against corruption.

The effect of political corruption in any given society can never be over emphasized, especially as in the case of contemporary Nigeria where political corruption has eaten deep into the fabrics of our national life and where political power is used to expropriate loot and plunder public wealth.  Public officials use their positions to extend undue favor to their Kith and kin as well as their political loyalists.  Corruption has taken different forms and shapes in Nigeria such as endemic planned and developmental corruption. Despite the enormous and detailed investigations conducted into this work, there still exist hitherto some gap, lapse and unanswered questions by scholars and commentators to which this research hopes to address and therefore, add to the incremental body of knowledge and debates towards finding a viably inbuilt mechanism which can effectively checkmate the incidence of corruption and fraudulent financial transaction within the public sector by helping the anti-grafting agencies and Laws in Nigeria. The work will seek to analyze and assess the performance of these agencies and the laws put in place to combat corruption while also showing the causes, effects, forms of corruption and making recommendations on solutions to combat it; which can be specifically stated in the form of these research question below:

which can be specifically stated in the form of those research questions below:

1       Have these agencies accomplished their statutory mandate in terms of reducing the rate                           of corruption in Nigeria from the time of creation to 2017?

2        Have the laws put in place to tackle corruption helped in empowering the fight against   corruption or are they just a law on paper?

  1. What problems/obstacle have these agencies and laws encountered?
  2. What further measures need to be taken to overcome these obstacles


1.4 Scope of study

The scope of this work is from 2000-2012 which is within the era of Olusegun Obasanjo Administration, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Dr. Goodluck Ebelechukwu Jonathan and the present administration of Muhammadu Buhari; though references will be made to early occurrence of the phenomenon (corruption). This research work is limited to the Legal and statutory framework for fighting corruption in Nigeria.

1.5 Significance of the study

This project aims at notifying all Nigerians that corruption is one of the greatest obstacle to National Development. However, it will also be significant in the sense that it will enhance our knowledge of the menace corruption and the best way to fight it; thereby putting us in a good position to make recommendations on the best possible way to combat corruption in Nigeria. In this same vein, it will also be useful to public administrators, political scientists and other academicians. At the same time, it will create awareness in all Nigerians in identifying the agencies and laws put in place to combat corruption and the way forward to fight corruption. Hence, the significance is very great and profound.

1.6 Methodology

This study is analytical and descriptive. The fight against corruption by the Legal regime put in place for that purpose was analyzed in order to achieve the objective of this study. The primary and secondary sources were relied upon to provide information on the work. The primary sources include Statutes and case laws, while the secondary sources include the internet, Newspapers, Textbooks, Journals and Articles.


1.7 Definition of Terms

Aide-de-camp:  an officer in the army or navy who helps a more senior officer.[1]

Enmeshed:  to involve somebody or something in a bad situation difficult to escape.[2]

Flout: to show that you have no respect for a law[3].

Kickbacks: money paid illegally to somebody in return for work or help.[4]

Greasing palms: to give somebody money in order to persuade them to do something dishonest.[5]

Curb: to control or limit something.[6]

1.8 Literature Review

Corruption is a behavior which deviates from the normal duties of a public role because of relationship. This includes such behavior as bribery.[7]

Oko.O, examined how Nigeria can use legal rules, economic reforms and changes in attitude to craft a more effective response to corruption. He argues that democracy, promulgation of new anti-corruption law, and the establishment of an independent anticorruption agency unaccompanied by wholesale changes in attitude, social practices, and economic reform will not end corruption in a country already tottering under the burden of ethnic strife, lawlessness, and economic instability[8]

Ogbu, O.N., critically examined the legal and institutional framework for combating corruption in Nigeria before 1999, which he observed has some obvious defects. The author observed that the legal provisions are so technical and complex that in many cases persons who ought to have been found guilty were set free.[9] Shola, J.O. engages the crucial question of to what extent has the new war against corruption has succeeded in addressing the scourge.[10] The author also submits that while the legal and institutional anchorages of the war offer a good point of departure, they are main grossly inadequate. The author further stated that this largely explains why the war has been underproductive and caught in a deepening crisis of legitimacy.  Ijeoma,I.O. examined Nigerian anti-corruption initiatives.[11] The author examined the initiatives which include more accountability in the public sector, enforcement of existing anti-corruption laws, establishment of a Public Procurement Commission, the implementation of the due process mechanism the publication of information and requirement of transparency in the petroleum industry, the requirement of the market liberalization process, and finally the requirement of transparency in the political process. The author concluded that even though Nigeria has taken certain steps in the right direction towards curbing corruption, more is still to be done. The author only briefly discussed the anti-corruption initiatives such as the due process mechanism. This dissertation will give a more detailed examination of the initiatives such as examining the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives in light of the NEITI Act, 2007. Nlerum S. Okogbule, examined the adequacy or otherwise of the existing legal and institutional mechanisms for combating corruption, and found that the earlier statuary enactments have proved ineffective in combating corruption in contemporary Nigeria, Hence the enactment of the Corrupt and Practices and other Related Offences Act, 2000 and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act, 2004, with the objective of dealing with various aspects of corruption.[12]

The work makes a review and analysis of the Legal and statutory framework for the war against corruption in Nigeria. Authors and Scholars have all made efforts in defining and presenting the nature, forms of corruption in Nigeria. They have also reviewed these Legal regimes and its adequacy as can be seen above. This work seeks to further these analysis by analyzing these agencies and Laws put in place to fight corruption and recommend new ways to exterminate this evil.

[1] Oxford advanced Leaner’s Dictionary 8th ed. (2010-2015) pp.30-31

[2] Ibis. P.487

[3] Ibid. P.574

[4] Ibid. p.820

[5] Ibid. p.655

[6] Ibid. p.358

[7] J.S Nye in Heidenheimer (use of reward to pervert the judgment of a person in a position of trust); nepotism (bestowal of patronage by reason of inscriptive relationship rather than merit) and misappropriation (illegal appropriation of public resources for private regarding uses) Harvard university, (1970). P.566-567.

[8] Oko O. ‘Subverting the Scourge of Corruption in Nigeria’. (2002) Vol.34.  N.Y.U. Journal of International Law and Politics. 397.

[9] Ogbu, O.N. ‘Combating Corruption in Nigeria’ (2008) Vol.1. A Critical Appraisal of the Laws, Institutions and Political Will. Annual Survey of International and Comparative Law. Iss. 1. Article 6

[10] Shola, J.O. ‘Through a Glass Darkly’ (2006)   36.3-4. Assessing the ‘New’ War against Corruption in Nigeria.

Africa Insight, pp.214-229

[11] I.O Ijeoma Nigeria Anti-Corruption Initiatives. Bepress Legal Series, Working Paper, (2006)  Paper 1392.


[12] N.S  Okogbule, An Appraisal of the Legal and Institutional Framework for Combating Corruption in Nigeria. (2006) Vol. 13 Iss: 1, Journal of Financial Crime, pp. 92-106.







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