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1.1             Background of the Study

The greatest bane of development in Nigeria has been a monumental level of corruption and is permeated by those who have found themselves at the helm of affairs. Corruption has led to many banking fraud and so many other dubious activities.

The 1996 study of corruption by transparency international (IT) and Gottingen University ranked Nigeria as the most corrupt nation, among the fifty-four (54) countries listed in the study with Pakistan as the second. Nigeria has maintained that position for several years. The rating came up as a consequence of several failed attempt to wipe out corruption or to reduce it to a tolerable level in the polity.

From the Jaji declaration in 1997 by Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, the ethical revolution of Alhaji Shagari 1981-1983, war against indiscipline by Gen. Buhari 1984, national orientation movement by Gen. Babangida in 1987, war against indiscipline and corruption in 1996 by Sani Abacha, independent corrupt practices and other related offences by chief Olusegun Obasanjo in 2000: these are several efforts to fight corruption.

No society can achieve its full potentials if it allows corruption to become a full blown cancer as it has become in our nation. According to World Bank (1997), corruption thrives when economic policies are poorly designed, education levels of standards are low, civil society participation is weak, public sector management is poor and accountability of public institutions are weak.

According to Familoni (2005), becoming corrupt in Nigeria is almost unavoidable as morality is lax because to survive, people have to make money, as HIV/AIDS breaks down our immune system thereby making it susceptible to illnesses and sicknesses, so also corruption breaks down the law and order structure of the economy, thereby making it easy for the nation to be infested with all sorts of vices and crimes.

The federal government, under the leadership of Olusegun Obasanjo, in its effort to eradicate corruption created the economic and financial crimes commission (EFCC) in 2003. It was established by an act of parliament on December 13, 2002 by the federal government and it started full operation in 2003. It has high support from the presidency, the legislature and key security and law enforcement agencies in Nigeria.

The commission is primarily charged with the responsibility of eradicating all the economic and financial crimes such as; advances fee fraud, money laundering, counterfeiting, future market fraud, fraudulent encashment of negotiable instruments, computer credit card fraud, contrast scan, embezzlement of public funds, illegal acquisition of company shares, sales of shares etc.

EFCC is also the designated financial intelligence unit in Nigeria, it is charged with coordinating the various institutions involved in the fight against money laundering and enforcement with economic and financial crimes in Nigeria. Against this background, it has become imperative to critically assess the performance of EFCC in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

1.2             Statement of the Problem

The major problem of socio-economic development in Nigeria is the high level of corruption in the system. Those at the helms of affairs have misdirected the nation’s resources and abused their offices. Corruption has damaged Nigeria polity engendering a perpetual political and economic instability. It has brought untold scandal and deformation to Nigeria as a nation in the international community. Corruption has a terrible negative implication for the socio-economic development of Nigeria. Wealth meant for the development of the country is diverted to the individuals’ pockets. Corruption in Nigeria, no doubt, is the express manifestation of lack of patriotism.

Accountability is typically weak in Nigeria making the country ripe for corruption and rife with it. The motivation to earn extra income is extremely strong, worsened by poverty coupled with low and declining civil services salaries.

Over the years, successive administrations in Nigeria have set up various institutions designed to fight corruption. These institutions have not functioned appropriately, and as a result of the institutionalization of corruption, the country has been turned into pariah nation. In foreign countries, Nigerians are treated with suspicion and embarrassment, foreigners are wary of making Nigeria their investment destination. Corruption has been so endemic in Nigeria that public disapproval of it has gradually turned into tacit acquiescence and passive acceptance. Thus, corruption has become a cankerworm in Nigeria stifling it of its potential sustainable growth and development.

1.3             Objectives of the Study

        The general objective of this study is to assess the performance of EFCC in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

        The specific objectives of the study are as follows:

1.     To ascertain the performance level of EFCC in the discharge of its statutory functions

2.     To identify the various challenges facing EFCC in discharging its statutory mandate

3.     To proffer solutions that will further strengthen the EFCC in order to improve its performance.

1.4             Significance of the Study

The essence of the study is encapsulated in the review of the past and current efforts made in Nigeria to curb corruption. This work is to proffer solutions in eradicating corruption and corrupt practices in Nigeria, to assess the impact of EFCC in the economic development of Nigeria, and also the efforts of EFCC to fight corruption and other related offences act in Nigeria, in order to promote transparency and combat corruption.

This study will contribute to the body of existing literature on the effect of corruption in Nigeria. The study will also reveal the impact of corruption on sustainable development in Nigeria. It will also increase the knowledge about the EFCC, its functions, challenges and performance.

Importantly, it is hoped that research findings will serve as a reference to scholars worldwide. Also, it is hoped that this study will generate diverse interests and further focus on the performance of EFCC in the fight against corruption and eliminating or minimizing corruption in Nigeria.

1.5             Research Questions

1.     How has the EFCC helped to tackle the problem of corruption in Nigeria?

2.     What are the challenges mitigating against the effective performance of EFCC in its fight against corruption?

3.     What is the performance level of EFCC in the discharge of its statutory functions?

1.6             Research Hypothesis

H0:   The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) tends not to have reduced the level of corruption in Nigeria.

H1:   The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) tends to have reduced the level of corruption in Nigeria.

1.7             Scope and Limitations of the Stuady

In terms of scope this work focuses on the legal framework, functions and relevance of the EFCC in the management and prevention of corruption in Nigeria. Time was the major constraint to this research as time was also needed for other obligations as a student. There was also insufficient fund for more elaborate research.

1.8             Definition of Terms


It describes anything that opposes or inhibits corruption.


It is the use of public power for private benefit of an individual, group or class, in such a way that constitutes a breach of law or of standards of high moral conduct. It involves the act of asking, giving or taking a fee, gift or favour in exchange for the performance of a legitimate task.


This means an economic crime that involves some kind of trickery, swindle or deceit. It is an act of deception carried out for the purpose of unfair, undeserved and /or unlawful gain.


It encompasses social, economic and political attributes such as sustainable increase in the standard of living including consumption, education, health and environmental protection, equal opportunities and liberties, and political freedom.


It is an acronym for economic and financial crimes commission. It is an institution or body that fights against corruption in Nigeria. The commission has the responsibility of investigation and enforcement of all laws against economic and financial crimes in Nigeria.

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