Background of the Study
A man can be born again; the
springs of life can be cleansed instantly…if this is true of one, it can be
true of any number. Thus, a nation can be born in a day if the ideals of the
people can be changed [William Jennings Bryan].
Nigeria is one of the Countries
in Africa that loses billions of dollars yearly because of corruption. She was
ranked the second most corrupt country in the world in 2004
[Olu-Olu, 2008]. In 2005 and
2008, Nigeria was ranked 13th
and 17th respectively out of 146
countries by Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index
[TICPI]. Although the 2007
ranking placed Nigeria as the 32nd
most corrupt country out of 147 countries by TICPI, corruption still remains a
serious problem in Nigeria [Shehu, 2006].
Corruption is a “multifaceted
phenomenon with multiple causes and effects” [Andvig and fjeldstad, 2001: 1].
It is a trinity of illegal money, commercial and criminal activities [Baker,
2005; Guanardi, 2008]. According to section 8(1) of the Anti-Corruption Law of
Nigeria (2004), it entails the act of asking for, receiving or obtaining any
property or benefit of any kind for oneself or for any other person. It
involves the abuse of public office for self-aggrandizement or private benefits
[World Bank, 1997].
The term “corruption” covers a
wide range of conduct patterns. It is a product of the socio-economic and
political structure of any society. As a multi-faceted
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phenomenon, no single theory is
equipped enough to explain its causation and/or control.
Corruption is not a Nigerian
Word. It is an English Word. While corruption is an English word necessarily
laced with western ideas, the concept behind it is found in other cultures.
Corruption is one of the dare devils that stares humanity in the
face. It is also a global
problem with certain destructive tendencies in the Third World Countries like
Nigeria. But the rate of corruption in Nigeria is so alarming that one is
constrained to ask: Is there anything peculiar to the nature of Nigerians that
makes them to be corrupt? Achebe [1983: 35], quoting from the weekly star
newspaper of May 15, 1983, wrote that the corrupt nature of the Nigerian
society is such that, keeping an average Nigerian from being corrupt is like
keeping a goat from eating yam.
Corruption serves as a spring
board to under-development in Nigeria. Most economic, political and social
problems in underdeveloped societies like Nigeria emanate from corruption which
manifest in many ways such as: lack of accountability, inadequate funding of
programs, diversion of public resources to private ownership, different types
of discriminations, ethnicity, lack of competence, inefficiency etc.
The problem of corruption as a
phenomenon is historically rooted in the country’s political economy. In the
colonial period, it was attributed to colonialism.
government has embarked upon anti-corruption measures, these are not sincerely
and properly implemented such that the expected objectives and
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goal are not achieved. The
problem is thus rather aggravated. Consequently, corruption has continued to
perpetuate underdevelopment in Nigeria. Many factors seem to have combined to
make the situation severe or worse than the case in the colonial era. Firstly,
Achebe (1983: 1) fascinatingly explained that:
The trouble with Nigeria is
simply and squarely, a failure of Leadership. There is nothing basically wrong
with the Nigeria land and climate or water or air or anything else the Nigerian
problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the
responsibility or to challenge of personal examples, which are hallmarks of
There is also a common belief
that poverty is one of the major causes of corruption. Here, it is argued that
there exists a great deal of poverty among Nigerians in almost every segment of
their social life. In Nigeria today, it is just a few families that can boast
of three square meals a day, wear good clothes, or enjoy the basic necessities
of life, such as water, good road network and electricity. Hence, everyone
takes to corruption, no matter one’s own small capacity as a way of making up
or balancing the prevalent inequalities. It is also equally true that,
corruption is due to the degeneration and shaky foundations of our moral
transcends nearly every structure of Nigerian society. The situation is so bad
that corruption has been institutionalized to a point where it almost passes
for official policy in both public and private sectors of our national life.
The socio-economic and political system itself appears to be built on corruption
and it thrives on it. Even the churches and other religious organizations are
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themselves not completely free of
This study attempts
to assess the impact of corruption in Nigeria’s development with a view to
suggesting alternative approach of tackling the phenomenon.
Statement of Problem
One of the most
fundamental problems facing Nigeria today is corruption. The corruption has not
only weakened the moral fiber of Nigeria, it has also wreaked havoc in its body
politics. Corruption in Nigeria is so devastating and alarming that it has
virtually affected every sector of the economy.
Consequently, it is
obvious that corruption has been a major bane of socio-economic and political
development in Nigeria. This leads to the following questions on which the
research is based.
Is corruption responsible for Nigeria’s underdevelopment?
Is the persistence of corruption in Nigeria linked to
Can deregulation curb the menace of corruption
and engender development in Nigeria?
affected many sectors of the economy. For instance, Nigeria presents a typical
care of a Country in Africa whose development has been undermined and retarded
by the menace of corrupt practices.
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To say that
corruption has eaten deep into every aspect of the Nigerian Society is to
affirm the obvious. This can be inferred from the revelations of probe panels
that have been set up at different times by different regime.
In Nigeria, since independence,
series of reforms have been carried out in the public service so as to make the
public bureaucracy more efficient and result oriented. However, the anticipated
gains of such reforms have not been visible due to series of factors which
include that of corruption.
Whichever way one
views corruption, particularly bureaucratic corruption, it involves a violation
of public duty or deviation from high moral standards in exchange for [or in
anticipation of] personal pecuniary going. It is connected with moral and
dishonest acts. Gould D.J cited in identified more than twenty categories of
corrupt practices in developing nations which are very much visible in Nigeria
State. These are bribery, fraudulent use of official stationary, payment for
office visit, payment for letter of recommendation, kickback for wiring, money
travel documents and travel related peccadilloes, misuse of official housing
two salaries, neglect of public service for per tonal business, salary
computation fraud, embezzlement in its various form among other.
Corruption in the
bureaucratic class is the type of corruption the citizens encounter daily at
places like the hospitals, schools, local counseling offices, encounters with
the police, taking offices, etc. it is petty corruption of need that occurs
when one obtains a business from the public sector through inappropriate
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in the bureaucratic class in Nigeria came into being when public servant not
steamed in the traditions of a political professionalism, saw how politicians
who hitherto, were nothing, became rich overnight through patronages, gift,
bribes and actual embezzlement of government funds. It was only a matter of
time before the bureaucrats joined them.
In Nigeria’s fourth
republic, corruption has become a Norm and practice of politics among the
present political class [i.e. those that control the affairs of the state] from
the presidency of the councilors of local authorities and party chairman. The
furniture mentality which this political class brought to governance represents
the highest form of corruption and enslavement of the popular masses of the
corruption in Nigeria encompasses the use of official power and government
resources by the political class for sordid and disrepute private gain. Indeed,
political corruption could be said to be the “head” and other forms of
corruption are the “body” cut of the head; the other parts could cease to grow.
Nigeria’s main development problem is political corruption which needs to be
Accurately, it can
be asserted that, it is the duty and responsibility of every good government to
create their environment and set the tone for good and effective policies,
including conducive business environment, protection of persons and properties
etc. in any society or country. The Nigeria government has been blamed
properly. So, for not setting a conducive environment, economic and social
P a g e | 15
development over the years,
particularly at this time, when public security and safety has steadily become
a major issue for citizens and corporate investors alike.
additionally, has become a hot topic among citizens and investors both apparently
risen, due in part, to a battered and depressed economy, and since, the
discussion or debate regarding corruption, has tended to be focused or centered
around the government or public sector component of the hydra-head corruption
monster. This is so, even though, corruption levels or magnitude is not much
different, in the private sector.
But is quite
another thing, and pretend that corruption in Nigeria is localized to public
officers and public office-holders sellers of adulterated kerosene are practicing
unethical business methods, and even a criminal enterprise, ditto for the
groundnut seller who cheats you out of more groundnut because he uses a crooked
cup-measure, it is corruption practices, when banks and other financial
institutions charge outrageous interest rates, refuse to grant loans to
legitimate business people and companies, for capacity building, but grant
loans to the well-connected and those willing to wet- the ground, but would
never payback the loans.
brought ways of combating corruption through some crude in Nigeria. The
provisions are laid down in the constitution of federal republic of Nigeria.
These include the criminal code, probe panels and commissions, the
anti-corruption tribunal, the anti-corruption acts and War against Indiscipline
and Corruption Conduct of Bureau, Independent Corrupt Practices and other
related offence commission etcetera.
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In December 31,
1983, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari became the 7th
Head of State in Nigeria selected to lead the country by middle and high
ranking military officers after a successful coup d’état that overthrew
civilian president Shehu Shagari on December 31, 1983. Buhari justified the
military’s seizure of power by castigating the civilian government as
hopelessly corrupt, and this administration subsequently initiated a public
campaign against indiscipline known as “War against Indiscipline” [WAI].
Aspects of this campaign include public humiliation of civil servants who
arrived late for work whilst guards were armed with whips to ensure orderly
queues a bus stop. He also moved to silence critics of this administration
passing decrees curbing press freedoms and allowing for opponents to be
detained up to three months without formal charges. He also banned strikes and
lockouts by workers and founded Nigeria’s first secrete police force, the
national security organization. This policy was a bit affective, as it curbs
Nigeria’s indiscipline for a while until Ibrahim Babangida Badamasi succeeded
him in August 27, 1985.
Public office is a
trust which should not be abused. This necessitated the establishment of the
code of conduct Bureau and Tribunal act, chapter 56 LFN 1990 which gave the
bureau the mandate to establish and maintain a high standard of public morality
in the conduct of government business and to ensure that the actions and
behavior of public officers conform to the highest standard of public morality
and accountability [Federal Republic 2002].
The Bureau has through its
enlightenment programs enable the people to know what is expected of them and
to an extent inflamed feat in the minds of some public officers as against
corruption practices. Though, they have not achieved expected
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result, hence, ICPC
[Independent Corruption Practices and other related offense Commission] was
Corrupt Practices and other related offence commission] was inaugurated on
September 29, 2002 by the Nigeria president Olusegun Obasanjo. The ICPC mandate
is to prohibit and prescribe punishment for corrupt practices and other related
This anti-corruption commission was
eventually passed and signed into law
on the 13th
of June 2000. The Act established the Independent Corrupt Practices and other
related offences Commission [ICPC] with Justice Mustapha Akambin a returned
federal appeal court judge as the chairman, and the act in section 3 
providing from the independence of the commission and gives the chair authority
to issue orders for the controls and general administration of the commission.
inauguration of the ICPC in 2000, the commission, however, has been performing
its duties with great zeal and dedication, despite it perennial insufficient
funds and manpower. These problems have also been made worse by
the citizens who also are
disgusted and devastated by corruption but have greeted the ICPC with outright
hostility, suspicions and disbelief. Also they face the problem of slow
judicial process and rigid procedures and National Assembly incompetence. For
instance, it took National Assembly nearly one year to pass the ICPC Bill into
law and this has been the case of other ICPC issues in National Assembly.
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institution that was put in place by Obasanjo’s administration is the Economic
and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC]. The agency was set up in 2002 to tackle
financial crimes including fraud and money laundering. Money laundering is a
criminal process whereby the proceeds from crimes are hidden and the integrated
into the financial system as legitimately acquired funds.
The EFCC act was a major
departure from the past enabling laws fighting economic and financial crimes in
Nigeria: in terms of powers, functions and responsibility.
emanated in the activities of EFCC. These problems are quite enormous and
influential that it has impeded its great success. The crusade is Punic in
nature and as a result, orchestrated by the politically exposed persons [PEPs]
to the settling of political scores. For instance, it was allegedly noted that
the commission under Ribadu’s chairmanship the beamed it search light on the
political foes of the former president Obasanjo. Hence, the commission suffers
politization. Also EFCC can rarely exercise the fall Wrath of the Law on these
political readers because the law allows them to claim “political community”.
Hence they serve only as prosecutors of crime negating the mandate of crime
prevention.Government interference and the slow nature of judicial procedures
also militates their activities.
It could be
observed that the several crusade made by the government in order curb
corruption in the Nigeria Society has not been effective. More so, the EFCC and
ICPC are not independent, they are been controlled by the executives
have been a major hindrance in the fight against corruption in Nigeria. Making
corruption history is the surest way of making all the problems of Nigeria a
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Objective of the Study
The major concern
of this study is to investigate how the growing incidence of corruption has
stunned underdevelopment in Nigeria. However, the specific objectives are
stated as follows;
To discover if corruption is responsible for Nigeria’s
To ascertain if the persistence of
corruption in Nigeria is linked to external factors.
To determine if the deregulation
policy is capable of curbing the menace of corruption in Nigeria.
Significance of the Study
The study has two basic
significances. They are both practical and theoretical in nature. Practically,
this research work will be a guide to policy makers, economists, political
analysts, policy implementers, and researchers. In other words, it will serve
as a tool for the government and private organizations on how to curb and
prevent corrupt practices and engender development in Nigeria.
Theoretically, the study will
close the existing gap in the literature in corruption and by so doing; add to
the existing volume of knowledge on the connection between Econometrics
Analysis of Corruption and Economic Growth Nexus: Evidence from Nigeria and how
it can be curbed.
order to justify the objectives of the study, it will be necessary to review
the works of other scholars in the field of study since such a review will
provide us with