Discussions on the level of corruption in Nigeria have become more widespread among the general people as numerous sectors of the country continue to degrade and the economy worsens. Majority posit that the deteriorating sectors were impacted by the growing corruption. A group of anti-corruption Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) under the umbrella of Transparency International (TI) has also faulted the prevalence of corruption and the complicity of public officials for the country’s intensifying insecurity and the smuggling of weapons.
The CSOs group asserts, based on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index 2022 (CPI), that despite claims by the federal government to combat corruption, corruption is still prevalent in the country, leading to increased insecurity due to inconsistencies at the borders, among other things. Auwal Musa-Rafsanjani, Executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC), stated that while the executive arm of the incumbent government has demonstrated a strong commitment to combating corruption, some government arms are not on the same page.
Corruption has sabotaged several government initiatives.
Musa-Rafsanjani stated that the Nigerian border has long been impacted due to the interdependence of corruption and insecurity, which has allowed for the smuggling of weapons. He goes on to say that the effect of the corruption has sabotaged several government initiatives. Such a situation has been observed in the security sector, where arms are smuggled into the country without being intercepted by the appropriate security agents.
Moreover, he argues that the executive branch, including ministers, director generals, and other high government officials, does not keep the same vigor in combating corruption. This has fueled CSOs’ yearning to see a national plan formed to combat the looming corruption in all areas across the country. Musa-Rafsanjani, who also deplores the rising level of corruption despite government efforts, pointed out that conversations on the topic have mostly remained at the federal level, which is not rare.
Anti-corruption agencies to strengthen their efforts.
According to the CISLAC Executive Director, all branches of government, from the federal to state to local, need to be on the same page in order to effectively battle corruption. Senior Legal Officer of CISLAC Samuel Asimi, who also delivered the TI corruption index, noted that although Nigeria’s CPI country ranking improved from 154 in 2021 to 150 out of 180 nations in 2022, the country maintained the same 24 points out of a possible 100.
This indicates that Nigeria’s corruption rate has remained stagnant at the same level. Friday Odeh, Country Director of Accountability Lab, urges anti-corruption agencies to strengthen their efforts, noting that the government’s anti-corruption efforts have been sabotaged by the release of former Taraba state governor Jolly Nyame and former Plateau state governor Joshua Dariye. The governors had previously been released from Kuje Prison after being convicted of theft of N1.16 billion and N1.6 billion, respectively.
Gov’t move will undermine anti-corruption agencies motivation.
The release of the former governors, according to Odeh, is a stumbling block to the president Buhari-led administration’s anti-corruption efforts. Odeh continued by claiming that the government decision was a setback in the pursuit of legal equity and fairness. He opines that this will erode citizens’ trust in the government. With those liberated recognized as public officials, poor persons prosecuted for the same or smaller offences would undoubtedly feel angry. Also, the move will undermine the motivation levels of anti-corruption authorities and cast a negative light on the country in the world community, Odeh added.