THE LEGAL AND INSTITUTIONAL MEASURES IN COMBATING CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA: ISSUES, CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS

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CHAPTER ONE GENERAL INTRODUCTION

  • 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.

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 2013.

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 LEGAL AND INSTITUTIONAL MEASURES IN COMBATING CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA: ISSUES, CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS