The Fight Against Corruption; A True Course Or Reprisal

Project and Seminar Material for Criminology And Security Studies

The Fight Against Corruption; A True Course Or Reprisal


Nigeria as a country is not only popular for its economic and man power potentials but also, for monumental corruption ‘manifestations’ that plagues its government and institutions. The country, in the past decades has been ‘decorated’ with top ten position among the league of corrupt nations by Transparency International and other international watchdog organizations. With anti-graft in his campaign manifesto, it was an ‘easy’ task for Muhammadu Buhari to succeed the government of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan which was famous for corruption ‘manifestations’ and impunity in the 2015 presidential elections .This work appraises Nigeria’s strategy in the fight against corruption under President Muhammadu Buhari’s first eight months in office. The work argues that Buhari’s anti-graft strategy in its first eight months is misguided and misconceived. A theoretical framework is adopted for clear focus and distinction between the blurred edges of corruption and its manifestation. Primary evidences in the form of interviews and official reports are complemented with secondary and tertiary evidences gathered from Newspaper reports, textbooks, publications from journals as well as internet sources in the course of carrying out this research.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

The word “corrupt” when used as an adjective literally means “utterly broken”. It was first used by Aristotle and later Cicero who added the terms bribe and abandonment of good habit. Corruption is a form of dishonest and unethical conduct by a person entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire personal benefit. (Wikipedia; 2015). In an attempt to distinguish between ‘corrupt act’ and ‘corruption’, Amundsen (1999) summits that “corruption is when individuals misuse the public power they are bestowed with for private benefit” while corrupt act occurs “when a responsible person accepts money or some other forms of reward, and then proceed to misuse his official power by returning undue favours”. Nye defines corruption as a behaviour which deviates from the normal duties of a public role because of private relationship. This includes such behaviour as bribery (which is the use of reward to pervert the judgment of the person in position of trust); nepotism (bestowal of patronage by reasons of inscriptive relationship than merit); and misappropriation (illegal appropriation of public resources for private – regarding uses (Nye cited in Onuigbo & Eme, 2015).

Khan sees corruption as an act which deviates from the rules of conduct governing the action of someone in a position of public authority because of private regarding motives such as wealth, power and status (Khan cited in Amundsen, 1996). Corruption could also be conceived as pervasion of integrity or state of affairs through bribery, favour or depravity (Otite, 2000).

In a more holistic conceptualization, the International Monitory Fund (IMF) vignettes corruption as an abuse of office or trust for private benefit: and is a temptation indulged in by not only public officials but also by those in positions of trust and authority in private enterprise or non-profit organizations (IMF, 1998). Transparency International observes corruption to be the use of entrusted power for private gain; and is classified as either grand, petty and political depending on the amount of money lost and the sector where it occurs. Grand corruption – consists of acts committed at a high level of government that distorts polity or the central functioning of the state enabling leaders to benefit at the expense of the public good; Petty corruption refers to everyday abuse of entrusted power by low and mid-level public officials in their interactions with ordinary citizens; Political corruption – involves manipulation of policies, institution and rules of procedures in the allocation of resources and financing by political decision makers who abuse their position to sustain their power, status and wealth (Transparency International, 2015 ).

Lawal (2012) identifies types of corruption to include: Moral corruption exhibited in sexual pervasiveness, greed especially in interpersonal relationship, loose tongue, indecent dressing, etc; Economic corruption example include manufacturing fake drugs, adulteration of drinks, piracy, plagiarism, fraud at all levels, etc; Political and bureaucratic corruption includes illegal, unethical and unauthorized exploitation of one’s political or official position for personal gain; Electoral corruption has to do with electoral frauds such as election rigging, manipulations, ballot stuffing, registration of underage, etc (Lawal, 2012).

Corruption includes bribery, smuggling, fraud, illegal payment, money laundering, drug trafficking, falsification of documents and records, window dressing, false declaration, evasion, underpayment, deceit, forgery, concealment, aiding and abetting of any kind to the detriment of another person, community, society or nation (Mathew et. al., 2013).

The arguments and definitions by the authors affirm that corruption manifests for personal gratification, self-preservation and glory at the expense of general political and economic growth of a particular state, an organization or any establishment.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

It is generally agreed that corruption is an evil wind that affect everyone and retard societal progress. While there are several theories that explain its prevalence in society, the point to emphasize is that it has become a way of life in Nigeria. This explains why it has been difficult to combat its rising profile.

In spite of the fact that the country, boast of one of the most resourceful citizenry and natural endowment in the world, these potentials have often been frittered away through corruption and mismanagement. Olugbade (1992) quoting Diamond argued that the Nigerian state “can command and expend vast resources, but it cannot get things done. Thus, the state has become the primary means for the accumulation of personal wealth”. It has been argued that the“ politics of competition over allocation of resources, or what in Nigeria is called „the national cake‟, has its most dire consequences in the transformation of offices of the state into prebends” (Joseph, 1987).However, successive governments in Nigeria have made concerted efforts to address the issue of corruption. But their antidotes, where applied, have often fallen short of the required impact to turn the state of corruption around for good (Akhakpe, 2014). It would appear that the nature of the Nigerian society makes corruption a persistent and lucrative business. For examples, during the colonial administration, stealing from the government was celebrated. Yet, years of military autocratic regimes made accountability by public officers difficult if not impossible. The effect of this development is a cynosure of all eyes; virtually all sectors of the economy are at varying degree of decay.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The study sought to understand the motive behind the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

1.4 Research Question

Based the objective of the study, the question that comes to mind is, “is the fight against corruption in Nigeria a true course or a reprisal?”

1.5 Research Hypothesis

  • Ho; The fight against corruption in Nigeria is not a true course but a reprisal.
  • Hi; The fight against corruption in Nigeria is a true course.

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this topic and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their work. This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a bench mark or guide for other work or study.

1.7 Scope of the Study

This study on the fight against corruption is set to know the causes of corruption in Nigeria today with a view of finding a lasting solution to the problem.

1.8 Limitations of the Study

1. Financial constraint

Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

2. Time constraint

The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

1.9 Definition of Terms


Corruption is a form of dishonest or unethical conduct by a person entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire personal benefit. Corruption may include many activities including bribery and embezzlement, though it may also involve practices that are legal in many countries.


To attempt to harm or gain power over an adversary by blows or with weapons.

Chapter Five

Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Conclusion

Manifestation of corruption has remained the most notorious social menace threatening the general growth and development of Nigeria. Exhibition of corrupt tendencies by public officials have bastardized the pace of growth and development in all facets. Nigeria has lost an estimated fifty percent (50%) of what it has generated since independence to public office looters. The most frustrating reality is that these looted funds are not invested in Nigeria but are dumped in foreign accounts to the betterment of the economies of those states. Manifestation of corruption has broadened the gap between the rich and the poor. While the rich keeps living in affluence, the poor suffocate in abject poverty and illiteracy. The ‘praetorian guard’ who intervened in Nigerian politics had destroyed all forms of transparency and accountability and as a matter of fact, institutionalized corruption manifestations.
The aforementioned culminated in ‘lip actions’ and vendetta ranging from the military hypocritical initiatives such as the War Against Indiscipline (WAI) to civilian witch-hunt through the apparatus of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC) and other related agencies. The irony remains that these institutions and agencies as well as policy programmes were never designed to prevent, tame, deter or kill the traits of corruption but to fight its manifestations. Even the so called ‘anti-corruption’ agencies were formed on corrupt foundation with vague legislations and structures devoid of transparency and accountability.

Moreso, Muhammadu Buhari envisaging the persistent escalation of corruption traits in public offices won the 2015 presidential election pools owing to his firm anti-corruption stands and inclinations to fight it to a standstill. However, he, in his first eight months just like every other Nigerian leader has failed to tackle the issue of corruption but its manifestation. It is more ironic and comic that to him, fighting corruption means “recovery looted funds”. Even in fighting the manifestation of corruption, he has failed to rid the Criminal Act and other anticorruption legislations of their loopholes which looters use to avert justice. President Muhammadu Buhari in his first eight months in office is yet to tackle corruption but is however, doing well in fighting its manifestation. For Nigeria, under his administration to step up in its anti-corruption fight, it should consider the recommendations bellow.

5.2 Recommendations

It is pertinent to note and understand that corruption is an aspect of that inherent and congenital greed and selfishness of man aimed at self-preservation and glory. It can neither be killed nor fought but can be successfully suppressed, tamed, controlled and deterred. Manifestations of corruption can therefore be reduced to its barest minimum if modalities are put in place to prevent and deter the manifestations of corruption rather than fight it. We therefore categorize our recommendations into two: prevention and deterrence.

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