1.1 Background of the Study

Corruption is the unlawful use of official power or influence by an official of the government either to enrich himself or further his course or any other personate the expense of the public. Corruption is the giving of a bribe so that the truth will not be told. It involves the embezzlement of public fund for personal use and any Act which is considered to be criminal act, according to the law of a particular society.

Corrupt is a potent cancer than has mercilessly eaten Nigeria to a state of stupor professor. Corruption remains a major bane of the Nigeria society and despite the fact that it is present in every society, attempts should be made not to condone it as it carries with it the threat to annihilate a country that is ingrained with corruption. Similarly, it has been noted that societies ridden with corruption will not survive or developed in an orderly fashion.

Corruption has become embedded in Nigerian politics. Its residents see it as an inevitable part of the social system. Corruption is a cankerworm that has eaten into the fabric of Nigerians society, if the war against corruption is not won, sustainable technological development and social- political stability will be impossible. Agencies created to improve the quality of life for Nigerian citizens, such as the Niger Delta Development Board (NDDB) and Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC), failed largely because of corruption and mismanagement.

Nigeria has been consistently rated one of the most corrupt nations in the world since 2001 by the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (TICPI). In a World Bank International Monetary Fund (IMF) report, 35 countries, including Nigeria, were listed as corrupt or politically tenuous. The Corruption Perceptions Index indicates that Nigeria is among the worst eight countries in the world for corruption in government and public administration.

One monster that has ravaged the socio-economic fabric of the Nigerian society over the years is corruption. It has not only become a household name, but also a way of life in Nigeria. All efforts to tame this monster seem to have defied all strategies and tactics. “Every society, present and past, show strong abhorrence for corrupt practices even though corruption is extant in all societies, no nation wants to bear the stigma of the ignominious reputation of being notorious for rampant corruption” (Amadife, 2007:18). Yet, in spite of the notoriety the word ‘corruption’ has attained and it’s globally acclaimed disruptive and despicable consequences on peoples’ lives and their respective societies, Momoh (2009: 115), rightly notes that, If there is anything which operates efficiently, uniformly and smoothly all over the country, it is the … engine of machinery of corruption… The phenomenon of corruption seems to be our official ideology, our lingua franca, and the universal language which is spoken and understood in every nook and cranny in Nigeria.

The prevalence of widespread and in most cases, large scale corruption in Nigeria has robbed a highly significant proportion of its citizens of the wisdom to recognise the need for patriotism, dignity of life and respect for core values and other general value-laden beliefs and practices. As a result, the country has drifted into extreme poverty and moral regression. The inherent values associated with civilized conduct which is the recognition, adoption and internalization of appropriate attitudes, behaviours, values and the disposition towards doing the right things and to be seen to be doing the right things at all times have been jettisoned in preference to the senseless worship and mad rush for money and other forms of primitive accumulation of wealth.

Regrettably, Nigerians are shamelessly involved in the following forms of corruption: the ‘get rich quick’ at all cost syndrome, open display of poor attitude to public service and criminal neglect of public property, defrauding of the citizenry through the policy of payments for fuel subsidy, stealing and mismanagement of pension funds, imbibing the culture of seeking gratification even when one is performing his or her official duties, kidnapping, political assassinations, advance fee fraud (419), examination malpractices, armed robbery, and even committing arson to cover up the tracts of cases of monumental corruption. The pioneer Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Mr. Nuhu Ribadu (2009) while addressing the U. S. House Financial Service Committee made the following detailed frightening revelations thus: Between 1960 and 1999, Nigerian officials had stolen or wasted more than $440 billion dollars. This is six times the Marshal plan, the sum total needed to rebuild a devastated Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War. Mr. Dariye operated 25 bank accounts in London alone to juggle money and evade law. …the London Metropolitan Police determined that Dariye had acquired £10 million in benefits through criminal conduct in London while domestically, we were able to restrain proceeds from crimes worth $34 million dollars. D. S. P. Alamieseigha, had four properties in London valued at about £ 10 million plus another property in Cape Town valued at $1.2 million. £1 million cash was found in the bedroom of his apartment in London, while £2 million was restrained at the Royal Bank Scotland in London and over $240 million in Nigeria. This is in addition to bank accounts traced to Cyprus, Denmark, USA and the Bahamas.

Corruption hurts poor people in developing countries disproportionately. It affects their daily life in many different ways, and tends to make them even poorer, by denying them their rightful share of economic resources or life saving aid. Corruption puts basic public services beyond the reach of those who cannot pay bribes. By diverting scarce resources intended for development, corruption also makes it harder to meet fundamental needs such as those for food, health, and education. It creates discrimination between different groups in society, feeds inequality and injustice, discourages foreign investment and aid, and hinders growth. It is therefore a major obstacle to political stability and to successful social and economic development.

From the foregoing, therefore, it is clearly evident that corruption and its damaging nature and impacts constitute a major threat to the survival of Nigeria as a free, independent and united nation. Pandemic and widespread corruption is a product of the actions of those entrusted with power and leadership. This has increased the level of poverty in the land, and portends a bleak future for Nigerians living and those yet unborn. According to Achebe, (1999: 25) “anybody who can say that corruption in Nigeria has not become alarming is either a fool, or a crook or else does not live in this country.” Such blunt remark and strong indictment from this well-respected scholar and others like him is perhaps, part of the reason why the Berlin-based Transparency International (TI) in its (1995-2005) perceptions index stated that “In recent times, Nigeria has held the unenviable record of being considered as one of the most corrupt countries among those surveyed”.

The Political Bureau set up by the General Ibrahim Babangida administration in an incisive report, summed up the magnitude of corruption in Nigeria extensively as follows: It [corruption] pervades all strata of the society. From the highest level of the political and business elites to the ordinary person in the village, Its multifarious manifestations include the inflation of government contracts in return for kickbacks; fraud and falsification of accounts in the public service; examination malpractices in our educational institutions including universities; taking bribes and perversion of justice among the police, the judiciary and other organs for justice; and various heinous crimes against the state in business and industrial sectors of our economy, in collusion with multinational companies such as over-invoicing of goods, foreign exchange swindling, hoarding and smuggling. At the village level, corruption manifests itself in such form as adulteration of market. i. against corruption in Nigeria.

1.4 Research Questions

i. What is the extent of corrupt practices in Nigeria?

ii. What are the causes of corruption in Nigeria?

iii. To what extent has the print media report corruption in Nigeria?

iv. What are the factors that encourage corruption in Nigeria?

v. What are the challenges confronting the print media in the fight against corruption in Nigeria?

1.5 Significance of the Study

There is no doubt about the fact that this research work will be beneficiary to some set of people and entity. Meanwhile, this research work title audience perception of print media in curbing corruption in Nigeria will be beneficial to the following people, the masses, journalists, government and future researchers.

The outcome of this study will enlighten the masses on the evil effect and consequence of corruption in a nation. Journalists both writers and editors will at the end of this work realize the importance of their work in checking economic crimes and exposing corrupt officers in Nigeria.

Government at all levels will see reasons to give the media full support, materials and capacity they need in curbing corruption, the media never have the independence and confidence to ask the right questions and bring the government to account by exposing corruption and other arbitrary actions. And in their bid to escape the muscular hands of the state, they consider it in their enlightened self interest no to ‘meddle’ with the activities of government. Future Researcher, researchers who will be exploring on this or related Research will find the work interesting and as a reference point.

1.6 Scope of the Study

This research work will examines audience perception of print media role in curbing corruption in Nigeria. The scope of this research work will be limited to the Auchi community in Etsako West Local Government of Edo State.