Nigeria’s Biggest Problem Is Corruption

                            By Darwinek (Own work), licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Corruption is at the root of many of Nigeria’s problems in totality. Corruption takes many forms and infiltrates all political institutions and economic sectors. It is so sad to here that the government which is set up to build the country and fights any form of corruption is now stealing from her own people.

Chapter II Section 15 subsection 5, Chapter II (15)(5), of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states thus: The State shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power. The question is: is this State really adhering with the instruction given? The government personnel who are constituted to abolish corruption is careless about what is expected of them. Also, the non-governing citizens who are also expected to free from corruption are also found guilty. Abuse of power is observed in almost all the government arms of the federation.

The current ruling government is not performing its functions as promised, and officials are too busy enriching their pockets instead of governing effectively. In 2013, Transparency International deemed Nigeria one of the most corrupt nations in the world, ranking as 144th in Corruption Perception Index out of the 177 countries measured. Mathematically, it shows that Nigeria was the 33rd most corrupt country in 2013. In the year 2012, a Gallup poll found that 94% of Nigerians thought corruption was widespread in their government. The spoils of political corruption—billions of US dollars—are stashed in foreign bank accounts. The Abacha administration in the 1990s notoriously looted upwards of $3 billion. Since then, government institutions like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the former President Goodluck Jonathan have vowed to eradicate corruption. Even so, as recently as 2013, the Central Bank of Nigeria reported the 76% of the country’s crude oil revenue intended for the Bank was unaccounted for.

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The most currently released result on the level of corruption in Nigeria has improved when compared to that of 2013 and other years. In the 2014 result on corruption ranking, Nigeria is ranked 136 out 174 surveyed countries. This implies that Nigeria is the 38th most corrupt nation in 2014. The result was published by Transparency international on Wednesday 3rd December 2014. The result shows that former President Goodluck Jonathan administration was making an impact to bring down the corruption level in Nigeria.

The current president, President Mohammed Buhari, is putting his own efforts to bring corruption in the country to the minimal level. This made few who looted in the past regime to bring back some of the money they embezzled.

Election-rigging is not unheard of in Nigeria. The citizens of Nigeria are tired of coming out to cast their votes on election day only to feel their votes haven’t been counted. A Foreign Affairs investigation of the 2007 elections counted around 700 election-related violent acts in the year leading up to the elections, including two assassinations. International observers in 2007 reported the rampant theft of ballot boxes, and while in 2011 the situation improved, ballot-rigging was still rampant. During elections, Nigerians and international watchdog groups tell stories of thugs hired by candidates to hijack the ballot boxes and intimidate voters. Many of these thugs are disaffected and unemployed youth.

Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) on 2nd October 2014, reported that European Union (EU) Committed 15 Million Euros (€15,000,000) in the country’s 2015 election. How will the money be utilized? Will the money be solely used for what it is meant for? Only God knows what those who are ruling the election body will use it for what it is made for or embezzle it as corruption in the country is experienced more in public sector.

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Corruption doesn’t only exist in government but is pervasive in society. For example, what happens in some companies with a male CEOs when a woman applies for a job? Unless they already know them, some of the CEOs demands special and sexual favors from young women seeking employment and at times do not hire them in the end. Those at the top adopt an attitude of “if I do no not already know you, I’m not going to hire you,” and exploit their power—this is just one illustration. Those who do not have connections to top officials or executives remain jobless, even if they’re university graduates with top marks. Gender and education will be discussed later, but this is a concrete example of how systemic corruption perpetuates a host of problems in Nigeria.

The press is hamstrung in its efforts to report corruption and election-rigging. Some have been paid off by the governments they report on, a practice which produces weak news and must be stopped. In 2013 the Committee to Protect Journalists, an American NGO which evaluates press freedom around the world, added Nigeria to their impunity list, a list of countries where journalists are routinely harassed and murdered with little to no recourse.

Though President Muhamed Buhari administration is working hard to see that election-rigging in Nigeria is eliminated, much more needs to be done. Seminars should be organized for Nigerian youths to be taught the dangers of working as thugs for politicians. This is where the importance of youth empowerment comes to play. Television channels in the country should be used to educate the nation about corruption and how to stop it. Political candidates found guilty of election-rigging should be punished more frequently and harshly. If convicting corrupt politicians becomes normal others will learn, and with time, election-rigging in Nigeria can be made a thing of the past.

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It is true that Nigeria is blessed with crude oil (petroleum) but the question is, how correct are the volumes that are exported out of the country? For instance, a head in one oil servicing company in the country may export about one thousand barrels of crude oil from the country and went back and gave a report to the government that he exported five hundred barrels. What happens to the remaining five hundred? The money goes into his personal account-corruption in the higher order.

Corruption is also rampant among Nigerian businessmen and woman. How many have bought any electronic product with a particular capacity and the product gives him or her result of what is written on it? In Nigeria, many populations of those who deal in electronic products buy products of particular lower capacity and use their own manufactured stickers to high the capacity on the products. For instance, a businessman may buy a Tiger generator of 4.5h.p (horsepower) and change the capacity to 6.5h.p to sell at higher price. In other business sectors, some sell inferior products to costumers to make high profits. There had been lots of cases of misunderstanding in the country’s marketplaces between sellers and buyers because of inferior products sold to the buyers.

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