There is no gainsaying that corruption in Nigeria is a constant phenomenon. In 2012, Nigeria was estimated to have lost over $400 billion to corruption since its independence.
In 2021, the country ranked 154th in the 180 countries listed in Transparency International’s Corruption index, with South Sudan at 180th being the most corrupt and Denmark at the least.
Corruption, which can be best defined as an anti-Social attitude, awarding improper privileges contrary to legal and moral norms and impairs the authorities’ capacity to secure the welfare of all citizens, is a key factor in the in-development and insecurity in the country.
An investigation by this reporter revealed that Nigerian politicians find themselves in a strong position of power and wealth because of their connections with the oil and gas industries in Nigeria.
These gas industries are under the control of the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC)
It is an undisputed fact that oil and gas exports account for over 90% of all Nigerian export revenues.
While many politicians own or have shares in these industries, tax revenues from the energy sector are diminished and the benefits of Nigeria’s energy wealth are not evenly dispersed throughout the country.
Oil and gas revenues, therefore, account for the vast majority of the federal budget and the salaries of government officials.
Vote rigging by political parties in elections is widespread and corruption is endemic among the government.
Business arrangements and family loyalties dominate governmental appointments paving the way for politicians, officials, and their business associates who together make up the ruling elite to ensure that they all become wealthy through behind-the-scenes agreements and the awarding of profitable contracts to favored supporters
Corruption runs through every level of the Nigerian government. From considerable contract, fraud at the top, through petty bribery, money laundering schemes, embezzlement, and seizing salaries of fake workers, it is estimated that corruption within the state apparatus costs the country billions of dollars every year.
As the 2023 general elections get nearer, the playoff to the elections is manifesting, with “Petrol Dollars” being determinant on who gets the party tickets, the practices of this noble act are visible.
The impact of corruption goes beyond these corrupt politicians and delegates because the innocent citizens will bear the burden of all the wrong decisions taken by them after the chips are down
Worried by the rising corruption index in the country, Africa Network for Environment & Economic Justice, ANEEJ -, Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) projects came up with a modus to reduce the menace.
The five-year project has ANEEJ as an Anchor Civil Society organization implementing the SCALE project, being implemented by Palladium and funded from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
This is a hurray to the anti -corruption fight and quickening of the passage of the Witness Protection and Whistleblower Bills presently before the National Assembly.
According to Mr. Yusuf Goje, a civil society activist based in Kaduna, said the incumbent President garnered millions of votes during the 2015 election, in line with his tripod promise; that fighting corruption will be his priority when elected.
Goje, who is with Kaduna State’s anti-corruption network, under the Community Anti-Corruption and Accountability Project (CLAAP) added that many Nigerians believed him and supported him. Hence the need now to fulfill his campaign promises by first providing the needed framework to fight this cancer that has eaten deep into the fabric of our society.
“To demonstrate his commitment and fulfill his promise, it is a moral burden that he must now ensure that all steps are taken to ensure the Anti-Corruption and Whistleblowers bills become laws.
“The Whistleblower bill, if signed into law by the President, will serve as an incentive to potential whistleblowers and encourage more reports of financial crimes among the citizens. This will also complete the Anti-Corruption law when signed.
The ball is in the court of the President to fulfill one of his major campaign promises.”
He commended the Executive Director of Africa Network for Environment & Economic Justice, ANEEJ Rev. David Ugolor for being at the forefront of the anti Corruption crusades.
Similarly, a Legal Practitioner based in Kaduna, Barrister Isaac Dapun, while speaking to this reporter, called on the National Assembly to pass the Whistle-Blowers Protect Bill to encourage the reporting of corrupt practices in the country.
He said that the bill, if passed, would serve as an incentive to potential whistleblowers and encourage more report on financial crimes among the citizens.
“The bill, if passed into law, would ensure adequate protection of whistleblowers from reprisals, victimisation, isolation and humiliation, which were some consequences of whistle-blowing “.
The Legal practitioner expresses his pleasure on the anti corruption war championed by ANEEJ, especially in the oil producing state and the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC).
He, however, encouraged the Network to spread its tentacle to other parts of the country and similar organizations like NDDC to curb the corruption monster bedeviling the country.
Mr. Erhisohwode Assurance Ovie, Program Officer ANEEJ, during a two-day Capacity Building Workshop just concluded for CSOs/Media on Anti-corruption Issues and Social Inclusive Reform Initiatives in Nigeria said, Corruption usually occurs because some individuals are willing to use illicit means to maximise personal or corporate gain.
He explained that in order for these individuals to become involved in corrupt activity, circumstances must exist which do not prevent or discourage them from doing so.
Ovie added that the legal means to discourage Nigerians from seeing corruption as part of their daily life is the passage of the Witness Protection and Whistleblower Bills, while affirming the ANEEJ SCALE projects is working in that direction to ensure that the cankerworm is reduced to the minimal if not eradicated in Nigeria.