THE LEGAL AND INSTITUTIONAL MEASURES IN COMBATING CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA: ISSUES, CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS
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Corruption has been a social problem in Nigeria with debilitating consequences on the growth and development of the country. The country is the sixth largest exporter of crude oil in the world earning therefrom a revenue of about 57 billion USD annually. The country also has the biggest agricultural output on the African continent and 25th in the world and is reputed to be the largest economy in Africa with a GDP of 481.07 billion USD as of 2015. If properly utilized, the resources of the country can make the country grow to becoming one of the most developed countries of the world. The country has however failed to develop to its potential as a result of both pervasive and endemic corruption which has virtually crippled the country. It is estimated that the country has lost about 400 billion USD to corruption since independence in 1960 occasioning impoverishment of the vast majority of its population and dilapidation of the nation‟s infrastructure critical for social and economic growth. Successive regimes in Nigeria have enacted several legislation and established institutional frameworks to tackle the problem of corruption in the country but inspite of all these, the problem of corruption has not abated in the country but has continued to grow and in some instances with new sophistications. This thesis deals with the problem of corruption in Nigeria. It examines both the legal and institutional frameworks available in Nigeria for the fight against corruption in the country with a view to identifying their weaknesses and proffering recommendations to strengthening and making them more efficacious in addressing the problem of corruption in the country. The research also examined other factors that promote corruption in Nigeria. In analyzing the laws and institutions, doctrinal approach was employed. The Researcher also visited some of the Anti-Corruption Institutions in Nigeria such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices Communion and the Code of Conduct Bureau for practical experience on their activities. Information was also obtained from relevant sites in the internet and the works of other writers on the subject matter. Similarly, relevant statutes and case laws were also used. The Research found certain provisions in the Anti-Corruption Statutes in Nigeria to be static, obsolete and non responsive to advancement in the society and to new trends of corrupt practices such as crimes perpetrated through money paying machines and devices like the Automated Teller Machines (ATM) and Point of Sale (POS) devices. The Research found some other provisions of these Statutes to be laconic, conflicting, contradictory and ambiguous which weakens their efficacies in curbing corruption in the country. Other factors such as insecurity of tenure of office of the Chairmen and Members of such Anti-Corruption Agencies as the ICPC and the EFCC, poor funding and lethargies of the various Anti-Corruption Agencies were found to contribute in hampering the effectiveness of these Agencies to curb corruption in Nigeria. Furthermore, the Research found the available punishment for corruption in Nigeria not meaningfully impactful in curbing the problem of corruption in the Country. Abdication of parental responsibility was also found to promote corruption in Nigeria. The Research recommends inter alia, amendments to some of the Anti-Corruption Statutes in Nigeria to cure the observed shortcomings and weaknesses including a provision for office forfeiture by any Public Officer or Officials of Corporate Entities who are charged to Court on corruption offences pending the conclusion of their trial and the prescription of drastic punishments such as the life imprisonment and death penalty for certain categories of corrupt practices and the inclusion of the office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria in the process of removal of the Chairmen and Members of the Anti-Corruption Agencies. The Research also recommends other unconventional ways to tackle the problem of corruption in Nigeria such as value re-invention, parental responsibility and the concept of indoctrination.
1.1 Background to the Study One of the most fundamental root causes of Nigeria‟s socio-political and socio-economic problems is the problem of corruption1. Nigeria is a country richly endowed by God with abundant human and natural resources in proportion enough to develop the country to becoming one of the most prosperous in the world. Unfortunately however, fifty five years since independence, the country has continued to crawl and remained largely underdeveloped. The indices of development are near absent in the country. In the early 1960s, along with Malaysia, Brazil and India, Nigeria was expected to emerge as one of the leading economies of the world at the turn of the twenty first century2. While Malaysia, Brazil and India have almost achieved their potentials, Nigeria has hardly gotten off the blocks3. Today, inspite of the huge investment of government in the energy sector, power supply is still epileptic, the education sector is in shambles, infrastructure are crippled, social values are almost extinct, the economy is in shambles and poverty is pervasive. While the majority of Nigerians continue to live in abject poverty only an insignificant minority live in opulence.4 Corruption has resulted in loss of revenue to the government. In 2015, a former National Security Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan was arrested and is being investigated for misappropriating the sum of 2.1 billion United States Dollars (USD) security vote5. This amount could buy for the Nigerian Armed Forces 751,384 M762 Automatic Rifles, 4,070,000 AK47 Rifles, 2,035 T-72 Armoured Tanks, 222 AH-1 Cobra Helicopters and 145 F-7 NI Bomber Jets6. Also in 2016 the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) 2013 Audit Report on Nigeria Oil and Gas and the Solid Minerals Sectors was released. The Audit uncovers 2.23 trillion naira lost in unremitted revenues by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation in 20137. When tax payers evade paying taxes, when goods are allowed to be smuggled into or out of the country and when public funds are embezzled, the government loses a lot of revenue. By the same token, when invoices and contracts are inflated or when names of ghost workers are smuggled into government pay rolls, government is drawn into excessive spending. In a nut shell it is estimated that Nigeria has lost 400 billion United States Dollars (USD) to corruption since independence in 1960.8 The loss of revenue by government has a telling effect on the economy of the nation as it undermines macro-economic stability as government is not able to build or develop the infrastructure necessary to support macro-economic activities. Igwenyi aptly captures the picture when he stated: The greatest effect of corruption on the nation is in the area of economic dislocation. Taxes, profits and all other manner of revenue which ought to legitimately accrue to the government are directed to private pockets and institutions. As a result, infrastructural amenities such as water, electricity, road and other good things of life which ought to be provided for the average Nigerian cannot be provided.9 In Nigeria, even the nation‟s political leaders admit that systemic corruption has inflicted economic costs on the country by stalling her economic growth10. Zimako also drives the point that in countries perceived to be corrupt, foreign investment is lower and that this condition impedes the chances of economic growth and development11 Corruption has also grown to stigmatize Nigeria as the country has attracted to itself an unenviable reputation in the globe as a very corrupt nation. For instance Powel, one time American Secretary of State in an interview on his perception of Nigeria, said “… and what they could have done with their wealth over the last 20 years they just pissed it away. They just tend not to be honest, Nigerians as a group frankly, are marvelous scammers. I mean, it is their national character”12 Similarly, the United States Republican Party Presidential Candidate in the 2016 General Elections Trump was reported to have stated the following words about Nigeria: We need to get the Africans out. Not the blacks, the Africans, especially the Nigerians. They are everywhere….Why can‟t they stay in their own country? Why? I‟ll tell you why. Because they are corrupt. Their governments are so corrupt; they rob the people blind and bring it all here to spend. And their people run away and come down here and take our jobs. We can‟t have that. If I become President, we‟ll send them all home. We‟ll build a wall at the Atlantic Shore. Then maybe we‟ll re-colonise them because obviously they did not learn a damn thing from the British.13 While it is true that corruption is not peculiar to Nigeria but is a global phenomenon, however, the sheer magnitude of the problem in Nigeria is alarming. Whereas in the past, corruption was found mostly in the public service, today the problem has eaten deep into almost every fabric of National life in Nigeria. Today in Nigeria, almost everything can be “settled”. Election results are settled, Court judgments are settled, examination results are settled, the Police are settled and even more alarming now, the Military which in the past epitomized discipline, rectitude and professionalism are settled. Examples of the above submissions abound in the country but a few will suffice. On 11 June, 2016 the Nigeria Army retired about 47 Officers who were found to have been compromised by some Politicians to be partisan during the 2015 General Elections in Nigeria14. Also in 2011, the then President of the Court of Appeal of Nigeria alleged pressure on him by the then Chief Justice of Nigeria to interfere in the Sokoto State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal by disbanding the panel. The aim was to tamper with the pending judgment of the tribunal15. More worrisome also is that corruption has now crawled into religion in Nigeria. In the past few years, many religious organizations and worship centers have sprang up in Nigeria. The expectation would be that with the rise in religious activities in Nigeria, the Country would experience renewed moral and ethical rebirth and discipline. Regrettably however, the Country has continued to sink deeper into decadence and infamy. It is now apparent that religion is also a tool for corruption and exploitation in Nigeria. Many worship centers are opened not with the aim of preaching salvation to lost souls but with the aim of fleecing innocent citizens of their hard earned resources. Furthermore, many Clerics in the Country who in the past openly rebuked corrupt citizens and served as checks to the excesses of Public Officers and Government Official(s) are now largely compromised. For instance during the period of the 2015 General Election in Nigeria, some Pastors under the aegis of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) were accused of receiving bribe of Seven Billion Naira from one of the political parties in the Country to campaign against its main political opponent.16 It is now common in Nigeria to see Clerics driving exotic cars and living in opulent houses in choice areas of the nation‟s cities while many of their followers wallow away in abject poverty.17 The common man on the streets of Nigeria is also not immune to the virus of corruption. The common man who suffers more from the consequences of corruption is content to pick the crumbs that fall from the tables of the high and mighty without batting an eyelid. He is content when dropouts are handed to him. He asks no questions and only whines at the travails of the country. In his own small way, when opportunity avails itself, he steals from his neighbor or extorts from those lower than him. The perception of the common man is that corruption is perpetrated only in the corridors of power or in government offices. He fails to realize that every day, various forms of corruption are perpetrated on the streets where he daily lives. The common man sees nothing wrong when a taxi driver violates traffic regulations, he sees nothing wrong when a voter trades his franchise for a morsel, he sees nothing wrong when driven by nepotism, he casts his vote for a candidate not because of the quality and competence of the candidate but simply because they both come from the same part of the Country or because they both practice the same religion. The Nigerian Student is also quick to throw stones at government officials whom he sees as the root cause of Nigeria‟s woes. He blames them for stealing the Country dry. He calls their conduct “corruption” and in his disdain he brands them wicked but he sees nothing wrong when he gratifies his lecturer to score high marks in his examination or when he bribes the typist in the examination office to change his grades to a higher one. The market woman will also rant and pour invectives at Public officers and policy makers whom she sees as the cause of high inflation in the Country. She blames them for the high cost in transportation which makes her pay more to transport her wares to the market. She calls their conduct “corruption” but she sees nothing wrong when she manipulates her scales and measures to the disadvantage of her customers. She sees nothing wrong when she sells substandard goods passing off same as original. She calls these “business”. The Police man is saddled with the responsibility of maintaining law and order in the society and to apprehend and prosecute offenders. He is the one who effects the arrest of a Public officer who demanded bribe to perform his official duties. He calls that Public officer corrupt but he sees nothing wrong when he demands bribe to grant administrative bail even when on the bail form it is written “Bail is free”. The bottom line is that corruption is widespread and pervasive in Nigeria and it affects every strata of the society with devastating consequences on the nation. There is a correlation between corruption and poverty as corruption distorts the distribution of wealth in a nation when the resources of the nation which could be distributed to the citizens through several channels of development aimed at infrastructural improvement and job creation are cornered by a few. In Nigeria, corruption occasions disequilibrium in the society. According to the World Bank, as of 2014, 70 percent of Nigerians lived on 1.25 USD or less per day and that Nigeria is the country with the third largest population of the poor where seven percent of the world‟s poor lived.18 This verdict was reaffirmed by the World Bank President in 2015.19 Thus the greater percentage of Nigerians live below the poverty line not because the country lacks the resources to enhance the living standards of her people but because what is meant for the generality of the people often ends up in the pockets of a few. In terms of development, the Country has stalled. The nation‟s infrastructure are decayed with no tangible investment to revamp them. Many of the roads in the Country were built over 40 years ago and today they have become death traps to the citizens. Electricity supply is still epileptic and many companies have divested from Nigeria and have relocated to other African countries because of the high cost of doing business in Nigeria. Politically also, the country is now more divided than ever. What sells the more in electioneering campaigns is not the programme or manifesto of the candidates but rather what part of the Country the candidates come from or what religion they practice. Corruption has destroyed the basic concept of the Rule of Law in Nigeria. In Nigeria the law has lost much of its operational force as people breach the law with impunity. The concept of the Rule of law is fast becoming a mantra in the Country as many people are fast losing their fear of the law. The law regulates the conduct of affairs in a nation; it spells out the rights and duties of the citizens. It also defines the way of doing things20. Appropriately, the law can be said to be the oil that ensures the smooth running of the engine of every nation. Where there is no respect for the law, there will be chaos and anarchy21. The chaos and anarchy the Country is experiencing today resulting from the activities of militants in the Niger Delta region and the Boko Haram elements in the Northern parts of the Country cannot be extricated from the failure of the concept of the Rule of Law occasioned by pervasive corruption in the Country. Some of the agitations of these groups cannot be swept under the carpet or waived aside. These groups claim to fight poverty and marginalization all occasioned by the massive corruption prevalent in the Nigerian polity. It is estimated that the Boko Haram insurgents have killed about 15,000 Nigerians in the six years of their operations since 200922 and have abducted several others including the 276 Chibok girls who were abducted on April 14, 2014 and many of whom have not been rescued since then. The effects of corruption have debilitating impact on the economy of Nigeria which in turn has a negative effect on the well-being of her citizens. The country has continued to grapple with the problem of balance of payments, weak and decaying infrastructure, bad and inconsistent political and economic policies which renders the Country unattractive to both foreign and local Investors. The return of the Country to democratic governance in 1999 ushered in hope that the economic decline of the Country would be halted but since then, many Multinational Corporations have had to close shop in Nigeria and relocate their investments to other Countries that have clement investment environment. Many other companies that remained in the Country have resorted to mass job cuts and raise in prices of their products and services to remain afloat. The result of this is high rise in unemployment which in turn promotes restiveness and rise in criminality. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, 42.24 percent of Youths in Nigeria were unemployed as at the First Quarter of 201623. This percentage represents close to half the Youth population in the Country. This level of unemployment portends grave danger to the security of the nation as no nation can long endure and prosper which wastes the talents of so many of their citizens more especially the Youths. Usman24 stated and rightly so, that no economic growth or political stability is possible in Nigeria unless this cancer of corruption is tackled and largely overcomed. On her part, Dachung lamented that corruption is Nigeria‟s “prime economic malady”25 Quoting Essien, she stated: Corruption is the biggest and the fastest growing industry in Nigeria. While petroleum is the largest revenue earner (accounting for between 90-95% of National wealth), corruption is the largest consumer of revenue. Unfortunately, its consumption is into the accounts of a few individuals and corporate persons while the nation wallops (sic) in abject poverty, hunger, disease and debt…. Corruption should be attacked with the same velocity with which HIV/AIDS has been tackled26 From a historical perspective, the problem of corruption is not a new phenomenon in Nigeria. Before the amalgamation of 1914, Nigeria did not exist as a country. It evolved from the different Empires, Kingdoms and Chiefdoms which existed before the advent of colonialism. Many of these Empires and Kingdoms grappled with the problem of corruption notably amongst their Rulers and Nobles. Some of these Rulers and Nobles were accused of using the public treasury to finance opulent and ostentatious lifestyles27 . It was not only the Rulers and Nobles that stained themselves with corruption. The rich and powerful people also used their wealth to pervert the cause of justice28. The vibrancy of the Jihad movement which Shehu Usman Dan Fodio led in 1806 had one of its anchors in the problem of corruption in the society29 In pre-independent Nigeria, at one time or the other, some of the founding fathers of the nation found themselves at the receiving end on allegation of corruption. Some of them were either indicted or convicted of misappropriation of public funds or for improper conduct resulting from their management of public funds30. Since independence in 1960, successive military interventionists in Nigeria have often sought legitimacy by claiming that the previous regime was corrupt and that their intervention was to rid the Country of the cancer of corruption31. Regrettably however, all the military interventions in Nigeria failed to cure the Country of the problem of corruption. Rather, many of such interventionists leave the Country more corrupt than they met it. Lamentably also, the democratic regimes in Nigeria which symbolized the will of the people, perpetrated corruption on a large scale that brought untold hardships on the same people they represented. In the 2016 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index in which 168 countries of the world were assessed, Nigeria was ranked 136 with a score of 26 out of a possible 100 thereby falling among the class of highly corrupt countries of the world32. This unenviable position surely rubs on the country a pariah status and is a reproach to her citizens. All over the world, Nigerians are stigmatized and treated with odium and opprobrium. Thus across the globe, even honest and hardworking Nigerians are hardly trusted. Nigeria however has a long history of legislating against corruption which predates the Country‟s independence in 1960. The domestic provisions against corruption may be found in the Criminal Code,33 Penal Code34 and some specialized or dedicated Statutes such as the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000,35 the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004,36 Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act 30 Bagudu, N. (ed.) (2004) Corruption and Sustainable Democracy in Nigeria: Essays in Honour of Professor Julius Ihonvbere, League for Human Rights, Jos, p. 2. 31 Alemika, E.E.O. (1998) Recession and Repression in Nigeria , Afrigov, Jos, p.19 Soon after his inauguration as President on May 29, 1999, Olusegun Obasanjo identified corruption as a monster that must be fought to a standstill in Nigeria. He made Anti-Corruption crusade a fundamental policy of his administration. In furtherance of this objective, the administration presented the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Bill to the National Assembly which was passed into law40. The regime also established the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)41. Soon after its establishment, the EFCC effected the arrest of known fraudsters many of whom had hitherto assumed a larger than life status. In view of the personalities arrested, a source in the EFCC was quoted to have said that the Commission does not care about the status or pedigree of suspects and that once a person is found to be culpable, such person will be treated according to the law42. Also in March, 2005, the EFCC arrested some high ranking members of the Executive Arm of Government and the National Assembly for their involvement in a 50 million Naira bribe for budget scandal43. Irked by the personalities involved in the bribe for budget scandal, President Obasanjo said he would not hesitate to take on more prominent Nigerians in his war against corruption. He acknowledged that corruption was endemic in the developing countries particularly Nigeria and vowed to step on more toes44. 1.2 Statement of the Problem Although Nigeria is touted as the biggest economy in Africa with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 481.07 billion United States Dollars (USD) as of 201545 ahead of countries such as Egypt with a GDP of 330.78 billion USD46 and South Africa with a GDP of 312.80 billion USD47, in terms of infrastructural development however, Nigeria lags far behind many Countries on the African continent. The African Development Bank (AfDB) observed that infrastructure in Nigeria have suffered decades of neglect and is close to the worst ranked in Africa. It also lamented that billions of Dollars have been spent on the power sector by various administrations in Nigeria but without success because of management and implementation problems.48 Also, inspite of the vast resources that abound in Nigeria, poverty has continued to fester in the country. In 2013, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reported that Nigeria which was ranked 153 out of 186 countries assessed49, was not one of the countries recording remarkable improvements in its Human Development Index50. It was stated in that report that 68.0 percent of Nigerians were living below 1.25 USD daily51. This report came despite the reported growth in Nigeria‟s economy with the country recording a GDP growth rate of 6.99 in the fourth quarter of 201252. In the 2014 UNDP HDR, Nigeria did not achieve any meaningful improvement as the country was ranked 152 out of 187 countries assessed53. The report observed the disparity between economic growth in the country and welfare indicators.54 As of 2015, the number of Nigerians living below poverty line was 110 million out of a population of about 170 million55. What this means is that as of 2015, 64.7 percent of Nigerians were living below poverty line. The significance of the above problem can better be appreciated when considered against the backdrop that the potential for Nigeria to be prosperous exists in the country. The country is reputed with the largest Agricultural output on the African continent and number 25 in the world56 and also earns 57 billion USD annually in oil revenues57. The question thus is: how can a nation be so blessed with enormous resources and potential and yet the vast majority of its people live in poverty and its infrastructure is either undeveloped or in a state of decay? The answer to this question largely lies at the door step of corruption. Corruption is a social problem and without a doubt it constitutes one of the greatest obstacles to the prosperity of Nigeria. Realizing that corruption is a clog to development, successive Nigerian governments have over the years taken measures to arrest the trend. To this end, several legislation were enacted and institutional frameworks set up to combat the problem of corruption in the country. Despite the avalanche of legislation and the institutional framework to combat corruption in Nigeria, corruption has over the years not abated and is still pervasive in the country in both the private and public sectors and even amongst the common people on the streets. This research therefore seeks to answer the following questions: 1. What are the shortcomings in the Legal Regime for corruption in Nigeria? 2. What provisions of the extant laws in Nigeria inhibit the fight against corruption in the country? 3. What has been the efficacy of the available punishment for corruption in Nigeria in curbing corruption in the country? 4. What has been the efficacy of the Institutions established to combat corruption in Nigeria in curbing corruption in the country? 5. What are the challenges to the fight against corruption in Nigeria? 6. What best strategies can be adopted in curbing corruption in Nigeria? 1.3 Aim and Objectives of the Research The aim of this Research is to enhance a sustainable fight against corruption in Nigeria by evaluating the Legal and Institutional frameworks on corruption in the country with a view to ascertaining their efficacies or otherwise in curbing corruption in the country. The objectives of this Research are: 1. To highlight the shortcomings in the Legal Regime for corruption in Nigeria; 2. To highlight the provisions of the extant laws in Nigeria which inhibit the fight against corruption in the country; 3. To examine whether the available punishment for corruption in Nigeria has been efficacious in curbing corruption in the country; 4. To examine whether the Institutions established to combat corruption in Nigeria have been efficacious in curbing corruption in the country; 5. To examine the challenges to the fight against corruption in Nigeria and 6. To make recommendations on the best strategies to be adopted in combating corruption in Nigeria. 1.4 Justification for the Study The justification for the Research work stems from the debilitating impact of corruption on Nigeria. Without a doubt, corruption has been debilitating to Nigeria on many fronts. Despite the vast resources which abound in Nigeria and the country being touted as the largest economy in Africa with a GDP of 481.07 billion USD as of 2015 and the sixth largest exporter of Crude Oil in the world earning 57 billion USD annually in oil revenues, prosperity has eluded the country. In 2013, the UNDP reported that 68 percent of Nigerians were living below 1.25 USD daily and that Nigeria was not among the countries making remarkable progress in its Human Development Index as it ranked 153 out of 186 countries assessed. As of 2015, 64.7 percent of Nigerians were living below poverty line and in Legatum Institute 2016 Global Prosperity Index, the country ranked 125 out of 142 countries assessed on prosperity58 and did not feature among the top 20 ranked in Africa59. Furthermore, as a result of corruption, infrastructure in Nigeria has degenerated with many in a state of decay. Nigerian roads have become death traps with many lives lost due to avoidable accidents. The Nation‟s healthcare delivery system is in shambles due to inadequate facilities in the hospitals. Nigeria today ranks amongst the countries with very high maternal and infant mortality rates. Many jobs have been lost in Nigeria as a result of the down turn in the economy which is occasioned by widespread corruption in the system. The nation‟s graduates continue to roam the streets in search of jobs that are non-existent. The National Bureau of Statistics reported that 42.24 percent of Youths in Nigeria were unemployed as at the First Quarter of 201660. Driven by frustration, many of these jobless youths resort to violent crime to make a living for themselves. This explains the ever increasing state of insecurity in the country which is now gradually degenerating to the level of terrorism. Many Nigerians today cannot sleep with both eyes closed because of the state of insecurity in the country. It is estimated that the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East of Nigeria has resulted in the death of about 15,000 Nigerians Corruption is not beneficial to any nation and it has indeed cost Nigeria dearly. This study which inter alia aims at examining the challenges to combating the problem of corruption in Nigeria and to make recommendations for the best strategies to be adopted in combating the problem of corruption in Nigeria is justified in view of the colossal losses the nation has endured over the years occasioned by corruption. Probably among the lives lost as a result of the problem of corruption were potential leaders and great statesmen who could have made their marks in nation building and launching Nigeria on the world map of greatness. The outcome of this study will no doubt be beneficial to policymakers, lawmakers, judges, academics, social commentators, legal practitioners and the general populace in Nigeria. 1.5 Scope of the Study The scope of this Research work deals essentially with critical analysis of some extant laws enacted in Nigeria to combat corruption in the country such as the Criminal Code61 the Penal Code62, EFCC (Establishment) Act 200463, Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 200064, Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011(as amended)65, Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act 200666 and the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.67 The provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) relative to the issue of corruption were also examined. The Research examines the efficacy of Institutions established to combat corruption in Nigeria. These include the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, the Code of Conduct Bureau, the Judiciary and the Nigeria Police Force. Effort was also made to consider the Psychology of corruption with a view to bringing out the factors that promote corruption in the Nigerian society. The Research also examines the variants of corruption in Nigeria and also the challenges to the fight against corruption in the country. The Research also examines the available punishment for corruption in Nigeria and its efficacy in curbing corruption in the country. 1.6 Research Methodology The Research Methodology employed in this work is essentially doctrinal. Reliance was placed on primary and secondary materials. The primary materials consulted for this work are Statutes relevant to the issue of corruption in Nigeria. These Statutes include Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000, the EFCC (Establishment) Act 2004, Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended), Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act 2006, the Criminal Code, and the Penal Code. Other primary materials consulted are case law decided by Nigerian Courts and Courts from other jurisdictions. The secondary materials for this Research work derives from well researched text books on the subject matter, articles from journals, newspaper and magazine reports, papers presented at seminars and workshops, and sources from the internet and relevant organizations relative to the subject matter. Whilst as stated earlier, the Research methodology employed in this work essentially was doctrinal, teleological and empirical approaches derived from the experience of the Researcher and interactions with individuals and organizations on the subject matter was also adopted to complement the doctrinal method of Research stated above. 1.7 Literature Review The problem of corruption has been an issue in Nigeria for many years and there are a number of literatures on this topic in the country. It is important however to state that in the course of this research work, an attempt to review existing literature reveals that contributions on the topic do not adequately identified the weaknesses in the available legal and institutional frameworks for combating corruption in the country and they also fall short in proffering suggestions and recommendations that are effective enough to resolve the problem of corruption in Nigeria. Many writers on the topic of corruption submit that a conceptual understanding of the term “corruption” is a challenge to the fight against corruption in Nigeria. According to Lawal and Onakoya, the word “corruption” is not amenable to an easy definition68. To Ikpeze, it is not an easy task to define or attempt a precise and universally accepted definition of the term “corruption”69. This has made many writers on the topic to view the concept of corruption from a narrow perspective. In reviewing existing works, and even the extant laws on corruption, it was discovered that most of the works and even the extant laws on corruption have the problem of limiting their understanding of the concept of corruption to the one adopted by the World Bank which perceives corruption from the point of view of abuse of Public Office rather than from the entire human activities in the society. For example Ogundiya70 conceptualized corruption as the misuse of public position for private, group or sectional gain. This conception is similar to the definition of corruption by the World Bank. The World Bank defines corruption as “the abuse of public office for private gains…”71 This definition is limited in scope as it restricts corruption to only those who occupy public positions. This to a large extent is how the ordinary Nigerian on the street views corruption. This explains why on matters of corruption, it is often Public Officers that are mostly vilified and hated in Nigeria. Corruption is a typology of crime and there are many aspects of corruption which do not necessarily have to do with any public position such cases include theft, cheating or obtaining by false pretences, criminal misappropriation, criminal breach of trust and so forth. Ojowu72 did not define the concept corruption but he defined Administrative corruption to mean the abuse or strange implementation of laid down rules and regulations in the administration of public sector usually for personal gain73. Again the foregoing is a restrictive definition of the concept of corruption. Abuse of procedure does not necessarily have to be motivated by personal gain for it to amount to corruption. If the abuse of procedure was aimed at the gain of some other person and not the personal gain of the perpetrator of the abuse, it would still amount to corruption. Adeyemi74 agrees that nepotism is a variant of corruption which is not captured in the widely accepted definition of the term corruption as represented by the World Bank definition. He however opined that a more realistic assessment of the situation of corruption would demand that efforts should be concentrated in dealing with cases involving exchange/passage of benefits/gratification as according to him, these may be much more practicable to identify, confronted and contained. He thus considered the problem of corruption in Nigeria from a very narrow perspective. Alemika75 examined different definitions of corruption proffered by various writers. He identified bribery, kickback and nepotism as the common manifestations of corruption in Nigeria76. This being so, Alemika inadvertently aligns himself with the general conception of corruption as being abuse of public office for private gain. This explains why he argued from the socialist point of view and agreed with many socialist writers that the cause of corruption in Nigeria has much to do with government policies of privatization, deregulation, commercialization and market forces. In as much as it is true that the government policies highlighted above contribute to corruption in Nigeria, a clear understanding of the dimensions of corruption in Nigeria would show that government policies stated above is just but one dimension to the problem of corruption in Nigeria. To effectively tackle the problem of corruption in Nigeria, the various dimensions of corruption must be examined and treated. Obadan77 adopted the general conception of corruption as abuse of public office for private gain or for unofficial ends. He categorized corruption into petty or grand depending on their magnitude78. However in analyzing these categories of corruption, he limited same to the involvement of officials of government, Public Institutions and Multinational or Transnational Corporations. He also identified factors that accentuate corruption which are basically economic in substance and results from weakness in governance79. The distinguished writer failed to identify the weak values in the society as playing a big role in promoting corruption. Thus the recommendation which he proffered is reform of institutions, economic policies and incentives80. Joda81 initially appeared to have broadened the concept of corruption as it affects Nigeria when he stated: “Corruption is not about stealing or extorting money and property by leaders as commonly known. It includes any form of behavior that deviates from ethics, morality, tradition, law and civic virtues by any individual or group no matter their status in the society….” However, he did a turnaround when he accepted without reservations the (United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) definition of corruption as “the misuse of public power, office or authority for private benefit through bribery, extortion, influence peddling, nepotism, fraud, speed money or embezzlement”. He described this definition as very holistic.82 As a result, the writer went ahead to identify three levels of corruption to wit (i) Petty Corruption (ii) Political or Grand Corruption (iii) State Corruption all of which according to him, are perpetrated by Public Servants, Politicians and powerful people. The question thus arises that if corruption as conceived by the writer is limited to the three levels identified by him, in what category would the everyday corrupt behavior of the ordinary Nigerian on the street (who is neither a public servant nor powerful) fall? Owasanoye83also posits that corruption is a governance issue and that grand public sector corruption is the most lethal with debilitating effect apt to rapidly multiply poverty as opposed to petty corruption of lower cadre officers84. It is submitted that rather than being solely a governance issue, corruption is fundamentally an attitudinal issue which cuts across every strata of the Nigerian society. The attempt to classify corruption as either grand or petty beclouds the issue. Corruption, whether so called grand or petty is lethal to every society. If the fight against corruption must be successful in Nigeria, the classification identified by the writer above must be jettisoned. Furthermore, even though Owasanoye identified the need for an appropriate definition of corruption to be adopted to capture all possible variations and exceptions thereto that are recognized in different countries, he offered no such appropriate definition. Alobo85 while discussing the causes of corruption in Nigeria, identified amongst others such factors as: 1. Poverty, 2. Undue societal and family pressure, 3. Unemployment/Job insecurity 4. Lack of clear developmental projects; and 5. Leadership crises. The writer stated that successive Nigerian leaders have become predators who prey on Nigeria‟s resources and use their positions to accumulate wealth for themselves at the expense of the poor masses. The writer took time out to heap the blame of corruption in Nigeria on the Nation‟s leadership. He wrote:86 Imagine corruption is now a serious Nigerian phenomenon and it has critically hobbled and skewed Nigeria‟s development. Where does this come from? Don‟t bother your mind, the whole sorry development, emanates all the way from ASO ROCK – the seat of power. Government at the central level is the vessel that is leaking from the top and ASO ROCK and other government parastatals and departments are the main fountain where corruption takes its source. Alobo appears to have allies in Akpotor and Omorogbe. Akpotor writing on the topic “Corruption: The Civil Society and Government”87 attempted to unveil the theoretical underpinnings of corruption on a developing society like Nigeria. He contends that the inability of the civil society to discourage corruption is informed by the thesis that the State usually does not bear the interest of the people at heart or is incompetent or corrupt or all three. The writer further stated that the state has been unable and unwilling to fight corrupt practices because it is well entrenched in it and survives on it. He wrote: “Infact, the Nigerian leadership from the beginning has been found to be the worst culprit and to that extent, the vernal of the problem”.88 The writer drew attention to examples of some Public Officers with “larger than life” pattern who have been indicted by various probe panels for pilfering public funds89 to buttress his point. On his part, Omorogbe writing on the topic “Intellectual Giants but Moral Dwarfs: An Examination of the Role of Morality in Education”90, discussed the role of morality in education and good governance. He holds the view that the low level of prosperity in Nigeria reflects the low level of morality in the country especially among the leaders. He further wrote that: Nigerians have had the misfortune of being ruled by a succession of such gangs of criminals for decades since independence. That is why we have made no meaningful progress in development; instead we have been subjected to untold hardship that deteriorates with the passage of time, hardship in the midst of plenty. Okonkwo while writing on the topic “Legal and Institutional Mechanisms Against Corruption in Nigeria”91 identified reasons why corruption is intractable in Nigeria. He stated that the reason why no serious effort had been made in the past to fight corruption even as its incidents soared is because some Heads of State were implicated in it and therefore had their hands tied. He went on to preposterously express optimism with the then leadership in the country under Olusegun Obasanjo. He stated: “Today we have a Head of State who is determined to fight corruption in our society and who has taken serious and commendable steps in that direction”.92 It is quite true that at the beginning of the Obasanjo administration in 1999, he identified corruption as a major problem in Nigeria. To combat this problem, the administration established the ICPC and the EFCC. At that time, the administration received wide commendation. However, sooner than later, the administration became deeply enmeshed in the murky waters of corruption. Not a few eyebrows were raised when it emerged that the administration frittered away 16 billion USD in the power sector without any tangible results. Many Ministers in that administration also involved themselves in corrupt practices93. The take away from all the above is that in Nigeria, successive regimes always seek legitimacy and acceptance by pledging to fight corruption in the country, but in the end they also get entangled in the web of corruption. The question is: “Why is this so?” This makes a study on the psychology of corruption vital in the fight against corruption in Nigeria which none of the writers has ventured into to the best of the Researcher‟s knowledge. Furthermore, while it is a fact that the leadership in Nigeria is largely corrupt, to point to the leadership as the source of corruption in the country would be wrong. There is no denying the fact that the leadership in every nation is the product of the society. In other words, it is the values in a society that determines its kind of leadership. Where a society makes honesty, transparency and accountability as its values, its leadership cannot be different because they are a product of that same society. Our understanding of the conclusion of the writers above is that corruption is pervasive in Nigeria because the leadership is corrupt. We find it difficult to agree with this conclusion and would rather submit that the leadership in Nigeria is corrupt because the Nigerian society is corrupt. We find as ridiculous the suggestion that an Accounts Clerk in a private law firm who falsifies documents and steals his employer‟s money does so because the occupants of Aso Rock are corrupt. Ladan in his work emphasized the role of the law in the fight against corruption in Nigeria94. He stated that the law is a very potent weapon in the hands of any government to influence development and that the fact that corruption has devastating economic harm to the society justifies the criminalization of conducts that amount to corrupt practices95. While it may be true that the law is useful in fighting corruption, it is glaring that despite the criminalization of certain corrupt practices in Nigeria, the harmful practices have failed to abate in the country. Today, the country is still rated as one of the most corrupt in the world. It is therefore submitted that the law alone cannot win the fight against corruption in Nigeria. There is therefore the need to also adopt other variables to fight the menace of corruption in the Country. Ogunsanwo in his work titled “Transparent Management of Resources: The North- South Question”96 analyzed the problem of corruption especially in the Southern Hemisphere and contended that donor funds sent to developing countries have been found to be mismanaged or siphoned abroad and thus not used for the projects intended97. He further submitted that donor funds were being used to execute projects that stolen internal funds could otherwise have been used for.98 He outlined the efforts of experts from the European Commission99 and the Secretariat of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States in coming up with acceptable regulations and guidelines dealing with the utilization of European Development funds facilities in ACP recipient countries100. He stated that in the regulations dealing with contracts for works, supplies, services and studies, the greatest emphasis is now placed on transparency and accountability in the procedures and processes leading to the award, execution and completion of contracts and that the fundamental underlying assumption behind the regulations is that openness or transparency and accountability greatly assists in choosing the right agent for the execution of specific projects at minimal cost to those awarding the contract101. It is true that these new regulations are seen in the processes leading to the award of contracts in projects executed through donor funds, however in the Nigerian context, despite these regulations the processes are still being manipulated and circumvented. We thus have a situation where despite the seeming openness in a competitive bidding process for projects, the eventual winner is determined not based on competitiveness but on other considerations such as politics, patronage or nepotism. Examples of this abound particularly in Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Universal Basic Education (UBE) projects where you hear of a list of contractors called “The Governor‟s List” given preferential treatment in the award of contracts. It is difficult to understand why in a country such as Nigeria, donor funds are stolen and not used for the purpose they are meant for. It is also difficult to understand why it is near impossible in Nigeria to conduct transparent bidding process and make award of contracts competitive. It is not only in the execution of projects that processes are manipulated and circumvented in Nigeria. In the privatization exercise of Public Institutions supervised by the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), many allegations were raised of manipulation of the process and corrupt practices by officials of the BPE. It is baffling why in Nigeria, Institutions or Public Officials who are expected to be unbiased and selfless in decision making process would allow themselves to be induced into taking decisions which are not only detrimental to the interest of the country but hurts the country badly. This also calls for an examination of the psychology of corruption to determine why in other countries especially those in the Northern Hemisphere, the tendencies of abuse of processes are low while in Nigeria these tendencies are very high. It is submitted that this undertaking will give an insight into the pervasive nature of corruption in Nigeria and the measures to be taken to combat same. Nlerum wrote on the topic “Arrest, Detention and Trial of Public Officers: The Nigerian Perspective”102. The writer traced the root of abuse and corruption of public office in Nigeria to the years of military rule in which the rule of law was emasculated and according to her, the resultant effect was the loss of good governance and wanton looting of public treasury103. While it is true that the years of military rule in Nigeria has witnessed an increase in the magnitude of corruption in the country, we find it difficult to agree with the writer that the years of military rule in Nigeria is the root cause of corruption in the country. The military began their adventure into governance in Nigeria in 1966. If it is true that the years of military rule in Nigeria is the root cause of corruption in the public service, the assumption would then be that corruption in the public service in Nigeria started only in 1966. It has been stated earlier in this work that even before independence in 1960 and the years following independence, some of the founding fathers of this country at one time or the other have been indicted or even convicted for corruption and abuse of public office. Corruption and abuse of public office cannot therefore be said to be the 102 Nlerum, F. E. (2009) Arrest, Detention and Trial of Public Officers: The Nigerian Perspective In: Azinge, E. and Owasanoye, B. (eds.) Rule of Law and Good Governance, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Lagos, p.129 result of military incursion into governance in Nigeria. A proper identification of causes of corruption is crucial in resolving the problem of corruption in Nigeria. Waziri, in her work “Advance Fee Fraud, National Security and the Law”104 limited her scope to the scourge of Advance Fee Fraud popularly referred to as 419 in Nigeria and its implication on National Security. She identified the types of Advance Fee Fraud105 to include contract scams, inheritance scam, orphan/refugee scam, stolen funds by corrupt Heads of Government, crude oil sales, employment scam, visa/immigration scam, lottery scam, investment scam and so forth. Waziri106 outlined some measures taken by the Federal Government to combat the scourge of Advance Fee Fraud. These measures include: 1. The establishment of a Presidential Task Force on Trade Malpractices in 1991 2. The establishment of a special fraud unit under the control of the Nigeria Police Force to investigate and prosecute 419 cases. 3. The implementation of a policy of transparency in financial transaction otherwise called „know your customer‟ by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) since 1992. 4. The setting up of a Money Laundering surveillance unit in the CBN in 1993 etc. It is observed that most of these steps identified above were taken between 1991 and 1993 and although laudable, the scourge of Advance Fee Fraud has not abated in Nigeria. Although the writer made some recommendations to help reduce the rates of Advance Fee Crimes in Nigeria107, most of these recommendations have to do with how to checkmate the involvement of foreigners either as victims or collaborators. The writer did not adequately proffer domestic recommendations that would help tackle the problem of 419 in Nigeria. Asogwah and Okoli in their book “Economic Crimes and National Development”108 attempted to determine whether corruption in Nigeria is endemic or systemic. According to the writers when corruption is said to be endemic, it means it is always present in a particular place or among a particular group of people. On the other hand according to the writers, when corruption is said to be systemic, it means it has an effect on the whole of the people. Flowing from the above distinctions, the writers argued that both terms have been used to describe the Nigerian condition as it concerns economic crimes but that the use of the term “endemic” foists on every citizen a status of “presumed guilty until found innocent”. The writers thus submitted that they would rather subscribe to the use of the term „systemic‟ to describe the extent of corruption in Nigeria. We find this distinction unnecessary especially in an effort to address the problem of corruption in Nigeria. Firstly, any attempt to classify corruption as either endemic or systemic will obfuscate the issues. If we are to accept the definition of endemic corruption as presented by the writers and also consider Nigeria as a system, it will be seen that corruption has always been present in the country. It is not a disease or a problem that developed overtime. What perhaps developed over time is the proportion of corruption. Thus in this context, corruption can be said to be endemic in Nigeria. In their analyses, the writers isolated the people from the system and any attempt to do that will result in a wrong diagnosis of the problem of corruption in Nigeria. Secondly, by subscribing to the notion that corruption is systemic in Nigeria, the writers gave an impression that corruption is an organized or methodic crime. While it is true that there are many cases or organized corruption syndicates in Nigeria, it will be foolhardy to limit corruption to the activities of organized syndicate. There are many instances of individuals orchestrating corrupt practices of monumental proportion with damaging consequences on the nation. Their activities cannot be said not to be corruption. There are also other cases of so called “petty corruption” ranging from simple theft to criminal breach of trust or even criminal misappropriation which are perpetrated by individuals. The aforesaid writers merely considered the proportion and sophistication of corrupt practices in determining whether corruption is endemic or systemic. This research will consider the variants of corruption which the writers failed to do. Alobo further wrote that poverty is the “main” cause of corruption in Nigeria. He stated that the fear of poverty prompts the vast majority to engage in corrupt practices.109 We submit that the above conclusion is lacking in empirical substance. While conceding that poverty is a factor in some cases of corrupt practices, it cannot however be said to be the “main” cause of corruption in Nigeria. There are many reported cases of persons of great means and who live in opulence but yet they engage themselves in corrupt practices. Cecilia Ibru, the Chief Executive Officer of Oceanic Bank Plc was recently convicted of stealing depositors funds in Oceanic Bank running into several billions of Naira. Cecilia Ibru is from the famed Ibru family who are stupendously rich. Also, Lucky Igbinedion the scion of the famed Igbinedion family and former Governor of Edo State was accused of stealing and embezzlement of Edo State Government funds. He is from an opulent family. There is also the case of Tafa Balogun and the list goes on who were convicted for misappropriation and stealing of government funds and these are people of means. This research will consider the psychology of corruption and seek to unravel why both the rich and the poor in Nigeria have tendencies to be corrupt. Osinbajo writing on the topic “Democracy, Development and the Hegemony of Corruption”110 discussed the impact of corruption on development in Nigeria. According to him, the impact of corruption on economic and social development is decisive. He however failed to identify in specifics the nature and extent of such effects on development. There is no doubt that the impact of corruption on Nigeria is colossal. This research will seek to identify to what extent corruption has damaged the image of the Nation and stalled its development. Iroanusi111 examined the virus of corruption in Nigeria and measures adopted by various governments since independence to deal with it. The writer examined the political corruption that characterized the First Republic in the forms of election rigging and political thuggery which resulted in the first military intervention in the political governance of the country. The writer further delved into the massive looting of the nation‟s treasury by successive governments in Nigeria. He lamented that despite the establishment of the Code of Conduct Bureau and a Code of Conduct Tribunal by the Shehu Shagari‟s administration during the Second Republic, that administration would for long represent one of the most corrupt and most graft stricken period where public office holders elevated profligacy and public treasury looting to past time. The writer however did not identify the political corruption and thuggery that characterized both the Second and Fourth Republics thereby giving the impression that election rigging and thuggery ended with the First Republic.Get Complete Materials