THE ECONONMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIMES COMMISSION (EFCC) AND THE WAR AGAINST CORRUPTION IN POST OBASANJO ERA

THE ECONONMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIMES COMMISSION (EFCC) AND THE WAR AGAINST CORRUPTION IN POST OBASANJO ERA

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ABSTRACT

Corruption is a complex and persistent cancerous global phenomenon, which bedevils Nigeria. Corruption in the form of misappropriation, bribery, embezzlement, nepotism, money laundering etc. by public officials has permeated the fabric society. Major political parties’ office seekers top the list of corrupt officials. Elected officials of high position and public officers use their position of authority to actively engage in corrupt activities. For several years Nigeria has been at the bottom of the Transparency International (TI), Corrupt Perception International (CPI) ranking. In 2002, the Nigerian government created the EFCC to investigate and prosecute cases of corruption and financial crimes. This project reviews the political economy of corruption and the efforts by the Nigerian government to combat it by examining the types and forms of corruption and the various perspectives for understanding the causes of corruption, The study

while recognizing the importance of the various perspectives, employed structural functionalism and system theories to offer deeper insights into the systemic corruption activities. Finally, the project examines the activities of the EFCC since its creation as well as the activities of the EFCC in post Obasanjo era and notes that it faces serious challenges.


CHAPTER ONE

1.1     BACKGROUND INFORMATION

INTRODUCTION

Corruption is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon, which characterize the global economy. Although a global problem the attitude of many countries, especially developed countries was to bemoan the practice of corruption in developing countries and ignore the role of foreign officials who gave bribes and public officials who laundered corrupt proceeds in foreign financial institutions (Harsh, 1997). Until recently many industrial countries except the United States considered bribe given by national companies operating overseas a legitimate business practice, and therefore tax deductible (Harsh 1997). In Nigeria, as in African countries, corruption is a malaise that inflicts the society. Corruption drains African countries over $140 billion per year (Ribadu, 2007). Corruption deters investment because it is a distinctive to potential investors; it distorts public expenditure, increases the overheads of running businesses, and diverts resources from poor to rich countries.

Corruption undermines the process of globalization. Accordingly, states and many supranational governmental organizations have initiated and established anti-corruption regimes and advocacy programs to combat corruption. For example, the organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, the council of Europe, the Organization of American States, the African Union (AU), the United Nations (UN), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank has introduced conditions, policies, and measures to deal with corruption. For example, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) was instrumental in recommending the cessation of the practice of making bribes paid by foreign businesses tax deductible and criminalizing officials involved in bribery, creating the Anti-Corrupt Network Action Plan, and establishing the convention on combating (Bribery of Foreign Public Officials); the UN created the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) with 140 signatories. The AU established the African Union Regional Anti-Corruption Convention, and the United States uses anti-corruption measures as threshold criteria for selecting countries for assistance under the millennium challenge account (Brianard, 2003). Other non-governmental international organizations have also been active in the fight against corruption. For example, the German based Transparency International (TI), which has

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provided strong leadership not only in the areas of research and publications but in advocacy and sensitization of the public against the evils of corruption.

 

Corruption has been a major problem in Nigeria since independence. Perhaps, it may be that we even inherited the problem from our colonial masters. Numerous state institutions have become dysfunctional because of large-scale corrupt practices. Projects are routinely abandoned, and no one is brought to book, public goods and resources are diverted to private ends. Corruption endangers the good governance and the democracy we see today. Corruption was cited as one of the more prominent reasons for Nigeria‟s first military coup by the coupists of January 15, 1966 military putsch.

 

Massive corruption and resources brigandage also were cited as one of the reasons for military takes over by Buhari/Tunde Idiagbon on December 31st 1983. Due to the pervasive nature of corruption in Nigeria, Nigeria‟s former President Olusegun Obasanjo in his inaugural speech on May 29, 1999 affirmed that corruption, the single greatest bane of our society today would be tackle head on, at all levels. 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 the World Bank (1997:5)

 

Corruption, thrives when economic policies are poorly designed, education levels or standards are low, civil society participation is weak, public sector management is poor, and accountability of public institutions are weak.

 

Corruption has become the order of the day in our public institutions, and because Government business is nobody‟s business, the country continues to suffer (Nzemeke and Erhagbe: 2002: 131).

 

Corruption has been cited as the major reason why developmental prescription, aids and policies imposed on Nigeria by international financial organizations have inexplicably failed. Thus, corruption is indeed, to the society and the polity what HIV/AIDS is to the human body, while manifestation of the acquired immune deficiency syndrome caused by a socio-virus (corruption). As HIV/AIDS breaks down our immune system thereby making it susceptible to ills and sicknesses, so also corruption breaks down the law and order, structure of the economy, thereby

 

 

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making it easy for the nation to be infested with all sorts of deficiencies and crimes. Sam Adesua (1987: 8-9) noted that

 

In Nigeria,…corruption is a well – organized and well entrenched social malady bestriding the nation, but which tends to have the tacit approval of almost every Nigerian in the social ladder.

 

This is an opposite description of the corruption status in the Nigerian nation. Corruption is no doubt pervasive in the country. It permeates all strata of both public and private life. It is not peculiar to any regime or government in the country. Honesty seems to have taken flight, and corruption has in the meanwhile tremendously gained ground and become very rampant.

 

According to Familoni (2005:51), becoming corrupt in the Nigeria is almost avoidable, as morality is lax because to survive, people have to make money. The 1996 study of corruption by Transparency International (TI) and Goettingen University ranked Nigerian as the most corrupt nation, among the fifty-four (54) countries listed in the study with Pakistan as the second most corrupt country. Also in the 1998 Transparency International corruption perception index (CPI), the image of Nigeria dipped further as she was ranked ninety (90) out of the ninety one (91) countries pooled – Bangladesh came first in the ranking, the country retained its position in 2003. In 2006, the Transparency International perception index ranked Nigeria one hundred and forty-two (142) out of one hundred and sixty-three (163) countries with Haiti as the most corrupt country in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1.2             STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM

 

One of the pertinent issues in Nigeria today is the focus on one of the greatest impediment to good governance and sustainable development which is corruption. In recent times, corruption has as an issue taken the front burner in development discourse worldwide.

 

Since 1996, the World Bank has supported more than six hundred (600) anti-corruption programs and governance initiative developed by its member countries. In 1999, the World Bank budgeted, a whopping sum of $7.5million to fight corruption (Polzer, 2000:2; Tesh, 1991). Ironically, the global financial body was embroiled in scandalous dealings that led to the removal of its chairman. This goes to show the negative effects corruption has on sustainable growth and development. Accountability is typically weak in Nigeria because the country is ripe for corruption and rife with it. The motivation to earn extra income is extremely strong, worsened by poverty and low declining civil service salary structure. Thus, corruption has become a cankerworm in the political system, stifling it of its potential sustainable growth. It is as a result of the effects of corruption on the Nigeria society that lead to the establishment of an agency known as EFCC to combat corruption in public offices.

 

The post Obasanjo EFCC on its establishment has over the years amidst the changing economic, and political situation, recorded a significant success and has helped in tackling corruption in the public and even, the private sectors as in the recent investigation into banking sector. In December, 2008, the Commission also introduced a proactive approach geared towards curbing corruption by launching the Anti-Corruption Revolution (ANCOR) which is primarily a public enlightenment project with the slogan “SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING, DO SOMETHING”. The idea being to urge the citizenry to be both facilitators and beneficiaries of the corruption-free Nigerian by rising out of their indifference and nonchalant attitude to SEEING and obvious aberration indicative of corruption, SAYING/REPORTING such acts, and DOING something positive to ensure that such acts are exposed and punished. It avails Nigerians the opportunity to take up full control of the War Against, Corruption (WAC).

 

The strategy has so far kicked off with public enlightenment campaigns in the geopolitical zones of Nigeria and it has been warmly embrace by the wider public. Since the establishment of EFCC in 2003, it has been involved in the investigation of cases ranging from high profile

 

 

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corruption cases, advanced free fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, contract scams, identity theft, illegal oil bunkering, bribery, looting, to foreign exchange malpractices. Under the previous EFCC Chairman Nuhu Ribadu the Agency attacked financial corruption by prosecuting and setting conviction against a number of high-profile corrupt individuals, ranging from Nigeria‟s former chief law enforcement officer to several bank chief executives (Cecilia Ibru and co). By 2005, the EFCC arrested government officials including, Diepreye Alamieyesiegha one-time Governor of Bayelsa State.

 

1.3    OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

 

The Objectives of the study are as follows:

 

1.      To appraise the activities of EFCC in post Obasanjo era

 

2.      Assess the effect of corruption on Nigeria development

 

3.      To ascertain if the EFCC has succeeded or failed in its quest to wipe out corruption in Nigeria in post Obasanjo era

 

1.4     RESEARCH QUESTIONS

 

1.      What are the activities of EFCC in post Obasanjo era

 

2.      What are the effects of corruption on development in Nigeria?

 

3.      Has the EFCC succeeded or failed in its quest to wipe out corruption in Nigeria in post Obasanjo era?

 

1.5     RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

 

H1: The EFCC activities in post Obasanjo era has been effective.

 

H0: The EFCC activities in post Obasanjo era has not been effective

 

H1: Corruption has negative effect on development in Nigeria.

 

H0: Corruption does not have negative effect on development in Nigeria

 

H1: The EFCC in post Obasanjo era has succeeded in its quest to wipe out corruption inNigeria.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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H0: The EFCC in post Obasanjo era has not succeeded in its quest to wipe out corruption inNigeria

 

1.6   SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY

 

This research study will reveal the negative impact of corruption on the political and economic development in Nigeria, with the special interest on Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) effort in combating corruption in the Nigerian public and private sector. Moreover, this will help in to know how corruption has turned to be a cankerworm in the Socio-Political and economic parlance and in all government ministries and agencies in Nigeria, and how it brings about significant effects not only on the country‟s politics and leadership but also on growth and national development. This research work will therefore help the government and individual citizens in knowing the evil impacts of corruption as well how to address the problems associated with corruption in Nigeria.

 

1.7           SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF STUDY

 

The scope and limitations of the study focuses on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in post Obasanjo era. The study also focuses on the effort put in place by the EFCC in curbing the menace of corruption in Nigerian society. It also focuses on the successes and achievement made by the EFCC since its creation.

 

The administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo was the first to show interest in combating corruption by initiating the appropriate Agency like EFCC and where selective result have been achieve towards the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

 

1.8     ORGANISATION OF THE STUDY

 

The research would be divided into five chapters. The first chapter discusses the background to the study, statement of the problem, objective of the study, scope of the study, hypotheses, research question, definition of terms, and organizations of various chapters.

 

The second part consist of literature review exhaustively discuss corruption in Nigeria, its nature and its impact on Nigeria development, follow by theoretical frame work using structural functionalism and system theory.

 

 

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Chapter three will focus on methodology, chapter four focuses on the analysis of data and lastly, chapter five focuses on the achievement in the crusade, the summary and conclusion.

 

 

 

 

1.9   DEFINITION OF TERMS

 


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