Since ancient times, legal power and corruption have been inseparable. And throughout the course of history, corruption has evolved along with the country. At the dawn of the formation of statehood, making payments to priests, leaders or military commanders to appeal for their assistance was considered acceptable. However, with the complication of the state apparatus, professional officials started to receive only fixed income and this led to the introduction of bribes into the economy.
Continue reading to learn about the types of corruption in Nigeria and their solutions.
What is corruption?
According to the definition presented by Transparency International, corruption is the abuse of trusted power in private interests. This definition can be amended to make us understand that corruption is the abuse of office, giving bribes, taking bribes, abuse of authority, commercial bribery or other unlawful use by an individual of his official position, contrary to the legitimate interests of society and the state in order to obtain benefits.
The United Nations regard corruption as a complex social, cultural and economic phenomenon affecting all countries, without giving a more detailed explanation of the term. It is noteworthy that even the text of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) does not contain a definition of what the participating countries are called upon to fight. However, this is due to the fact that the phenomenon of corruption is too complex and multifaceted for a comprehensive and at the same time sufficient detailed definition to be provided.
Types of corruption in Nigeria
In the opinion of some authors, a more complete and correct idea of corruption can be obtained if all the corruption phenomena are classified according to various criteria. The criteria can appear in the form of questions — who, how, why and how often?
5 types of corruption in Nigeria by subject (who):
- Political corruption (subjects: politicians)
- Judicial corruption (subjects: judges and other litigants)
- Commercial (business) corruption (subjects: entrepreneurs)
- Central government corruption (subjects: senior officials)
- Local government corruption (subjects: lower-level officials)
15 types of corruption in Nigeria by the forms (how):
- Bribery, receipt of illegal proceeds (extortion, kickbacks).
- Theft and privatization of public resources and funds.
- Illegal appropriation (forgery, falsification, embezzlement, misappropriation of money, property).
- Abuse of state funds, waste.
- Nepotism, favoritism (appointment to the posts of relatives and friends).
- Promotion of personal interests.
- Collusion (granting preferences to individuals, conflict of interests).
- Taking gifts to speed up problem-solving.
- Protection and covering up events.
- Abuse of power (intimidation or torture).
- Manipulation of regulation (falsification of elections, decision-making in favor of one group or person).
- Electoral violations (buying votes, rigging election results).
- Extortion (civil servants illegally set a fee for services or artificially create a deficit).
- Clientelism and patronage (politicians provide material services in exchange for citizen support).
- Illegal contributions to election campaigns (transfer of gifts to influence the content of the policy).
Corruption is an international problem. It is inherent in all countries, regardless of political structure and level of political development, and differs only in scale.
How to fight corruption in Nigeria?
There are a lot of ways to effectively combat corruption. There are certain practical tips that have been used in other countries, for example, the Singapore strategy. Singapore was one of the countries with the highest levels of corruption around the world when they gained independence in 1965. They took the following steps to fight corruption:
- Strict regulation of officials’ actions, simplification of bureaucratic procedures, severe supervision over adherence to high ethical standards.
- Creation of autonomous Bureau of Investigation of Corruption (CPIB).
- Legislation was strengthened, the independence of the judiciary was enhanced (with high salaries and privileged status of judges), economic sanctions were introduced for giving bribes or refusing to participate in anti-corruption investigations, and harsh actions were taken to stop wrong practices, up to the total dismissal of customs and other civil servants.
- Deregulation of the economy.
- Increase of salaries and preparation of qualified administrative personnel.
Thanks to this strategy, Singapore has become one of the least corrupt countries in the world — the 4th in the Corruption Perception Index 2008, published by Transparency International.
As you can see, corruption is not a mythic character that cannot be fought. But to do so, there is a huge need for cooperation between citizens and government. We hope that Nigeria will soon find an effective program to beat down corruption as a social and state phenomenon.
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