Nigerian anti-corruption agencies- quality or quantities

The Nation Nigeria is noted for many things across the globe, originally the nation was noted for its diverse natural and mineral resources which placed it on the global map. Coupled with its immense manpower as the Nigeria nation is regarded as the nation with the highest numbers of black populace in Africa and in the world. The various nationalistic efforts as well as patriotic efforts of its first generational heroes who were not only involved in the nation’s struggle for self-determination and sovereignty but also in the liberation and freedom of other African states made it a force to be reckoned with.

However, the rich history and identity of the nation has been tainted with the introduction of a counter culture which has given the nation a rather negative outlook, as the once hard working nation which was regarded as one of the fastest growing economy in the world had to start a battle against the tentacles of a corruption which has eaten deep into the fabrics of the nation.

The advent of this pathetic trend and culture has seen the deviation from the right and proper way of doing things on the moral compass to one which is inspired and motivated by self-gratification and personal interest to getting things done or employing any means either right or wrong to getting results out.

Corruption is a moral deterioration and decadence. It has a wide range of meaning which include mis-appropriation, embezzlement or division of fund bribery satisfaction, using office or position for unfair advantage, financial funds, business frauds, examination malpractices and money laundry by public and private sector offices and so on.

According to the World Bank, it defined corruption as: “The abuse of public office for private gains. Public office is abused for private gain when an official accepts, solicits or extorts a bribe. It is also abused when private   agents actively offer bribes to circumvent public policies and process for competitive advantage and profit. Public office can also be abused for personal benefit even if no bribery occurs, through patronage and nepotism, the theft of state assets or the diversion of state revenue.

From this definition, it can be deduced that corruption entails

 

  1. i) the public office and the misuse of public office
  2. ii) private agents and offering of bribes

iii) offering of bribes for the purpose of outwitting the intension of public policies

  1. iv) selfish interest from public officials

The history of corruption in Nigeria can be traced back to the year 1985 to 1993 in the dealings of certain Nigerian leaders. Right before the advent of the military rule in Nigeria, it has existed and during the military era, it is believed to have gotten to a new high   and ever since then it has continued to established its tentacles on the Nigerian populace as it is not only limited to just within the confines of the Nigerian leaders, but also within the family set-up and structure. This reality prompted the Vice-President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo to state that corruption is already institutionalized within the Nigerian society.

While the nation has had to suffer the long years of under-development in many sectors of its realities which corruption is a major facilitator as the various government that has graced its seat of power in their various plots to curtail the various cases of corrupt leaders and public officials as well as corrupt individuals in the nation at one stage or the other established various anti-corruption agencies in the country to combat the various cases of corruption in the nation with the   aim of getting this counter-culture reduced to the barest minimum.

The following are the created Anti-Corruption agencies in Nigeria-

  1. Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC)

The aim of this commission is to prohibit and prescribe punishment for corrupt practices and related offences. The Commission is backed with ICPC Act 2000 where the lines of duties are stated in Section 6 of the Act as follows:

  1. i) to receive and investigate complaints from members of the public on allegations of corrupt practices and inappropriate cases.
  2. ii) to examine the practices, systems and procedures of public bodies and where such systems aid corruption, to direct and supervise the review.

iii) to instruct, advise and assist any officer, agency, or parastatal on ways by which fraud or corruption may be eliminated or minimized by them.

  1. iv) To advise heads of public bodies of any changes in practice, systems or procedures compatible with the effective discharge of the duties of public bodies to reduce the likelihood or incidence of bribery, corruption and related offences.
  2. v) To educate the public on and against bribery, corruption and related offences. vi) To enlist and foster public support in combating corruption.
  3. Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is a Nigerian law enforcement agency that investigates financial crimes such as advance fee fraud and money laundering. The EFCC was established in 2003, partially in response to pressure from the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering, which named Nigeria as one of 23 countries non-cooperative in the international community’s efforts to fight money laundering.

  1. Public Complaints Commission

The Nigeria Ombudsman (Public Complaints Commission) is the machinery for the control of administrative excesses (non- adherence to procedures or abuse of law).

Assessment of the Nigerian Anti-Corruption Agencies

However, the establishment of the various anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria by the federal government over the years has done little to curb the rising cases of the culture in the nation. Daily there are various cases of corrupt practices the country, while these anti-corruption agencies have failed to prosecute corrupt officials in the nation and the ones they have been able to do has been tagged as a witch hunt because most of them are focused on a particular set of people who in most cases are considered members of the opposition in the nation’s political circles.

The Buhari led administration in Nigeria was popularly embraced for the believe that it would not condone any form of corrupt practices as the president was largely known as Mr. Integrity, however against the popular thoughts and expectations of the Nigerian populace, there has been little or no improvement in the nation’s anti-corruption fight. Members of the ruling class has continued to find their way out through bribery and political manipulations to scale through their various corrupt practices in the nation. Many officials in these various anti-corruption agencies are believed to be facilitators of the corrupt practices of many of these various corrupt officials, while on the other hand these bodies lack the essential powers to carry out these tasks as they can be easily manipulated and influenced.

The recent move by the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu to create another anti-corruption agency in the nation to combat corruption can be described as another needless attempt. The federal government on Wednesday approved the establishment of “The Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency, to join the growing list of anti-graft agencies established by the government. The new agency is expected to see to the documentation and management of recovered assets and thereby guarantee transparency and accountability.

While many might be considered as a positive development is one which I regard as one which is totally uncalled and not needed at the moment. This is because there are various bodies which are already established in the nation to combat corruptions but has been able to record no impressive achievements because there are several limitations and inadequacies which is responsible for their mediocre performance.  Instead of creating new anti-corruption agencies in the nation, the federal government must instead focus on re-structuring the existing anti-corruption agencies in the nation, by putting up polices as well as infrastructure that will see to their effective, objective and timely performance

References

ALAMU Oluwaseyi I.” Corruption, Anti-Corruption Agencies and the Nigerian Government” G.J.I.S.S., Vol.5(2):1-5

“The Establishment Act”. Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-01-30. Accessed 17 Sept 2020

https://martinslibrary.blogspot.com/2018/08/public-complaints-commission.html

 

 

By Marcus Amudipe

September 18, 2020

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