Corruption is an act of dishonesty and a criminal offense undertaken by a person or organization entrusted with power or authority, such that this power or authority is usurped for personal gain. Corruption, to say in another way, involves the offering and acceptance of bribes, for the purpose of veiling the truth. In Nigeria, corruption takes on many forms and is often manifested in varying proportions among citizens across all social class.
Most common in this regard is the corruption at the public sphere of the country’s administration. Therefore, this, as has been referenced by events in the history of the country, is considered criminal according to the law of the Nigeria. Corruption in Nigeria has been most pronouncing in several ways; these includes • Misappropriation of public funds As reported by The Storey Report (2014), there have been several cases of official misuse of public resources for personal enrichment since the start of modern public administration in the country. For instance, the one of the most notable corruption cases in the post-independence history of Nigeria is the gas plant construction misappropriation by Gen. Sani Abacha -the then Military Head of State. The investigations led to the freezing of accounts containing about $100 million United States dollars that he stole (Hector 2004); yet there were more misappropriations traced to him. Moving on, Nigeria as been reported to have lost about $400 billion to corruption since independence.
A tragedy which leaves the country ranked 144th from 180 countries listed most corrupt counties by the Transparency International’s Corruption Index, in 2018. During the government of Goodluck Jonathan there were several running scandals including the BMW purchase by his Aviation Minister, $250 million-plus security contracts to militants in the Niger Delta, massive corruption and kickbacks in the Ministry of Petroleum, the Malibu Oil International scandal, and several scandals involving the Petroleum Ministry including accusations of sweetheart deals with select fronts and business people to divert public wealth. In the dying days of Goodluck Jonathan's administration, the Central Bank scandal of cash tripping of mutilated notes also broke out, where it was revealed that in a four-day period, 8 billion Naira was stolen directly by low-level workers in the CBN.
• Election Rigging Election rigging is not an unheard-of phenomenon. During elections, aspirants hire thugs who go around the election polling stations to hijack the ballot boxes. When they steal these boxes, they then write in votes for their candidate. In recent times, a new tactic that contestants have adopted is buying voters' cards so that they can manipulate and use the cards to their advantage. These corrupt politicians go as far as spending millions of dollars just to make sure they get their public positions even if it involves settling someone individuals. Election in Nigeria has now been shaped in a way that only the rich that can afford rigging are nominated by parties.
• Corruption in the Police Force Where do we start when it comes to the nature of corruption observed in the police force? Do we start with bribery, intimidation, sexual harassment of young inmates in cells, or the fact that they turn truths upside down? Nigerian police are least respected force in the country. There is a saying that “police are your friends” in Nigeria; to be honest, policemen are your enemies because they can deny the truth and collect bribes to do so. Because of the encounters many Nigerians have had with policemen, even the good ones among them are generalized as being bad. The police who work in some checkpoints on the expressways cannot do so without collecting bribes from car owners and drivers. Their interest lies in collecting money from drivers and not in securing the road. Bribes become compulsory even when your particulars are in order. Bus drivers must offer money before they continue with their journey.
The police are now deities that receive money from worshiper as an offering. Causes of Corruption A number of issues cause corruption, and among them are:
• Poor youth empowerment
1. Poverty Nigeria makes billions of dollars annually, yet around 70% of her citizen live in poverty. Poverty leads to corruption the same way corruption also leads to poverty. Most of those police men that collect bribe do it as a result of poverty. It is also one of the reason youths become like thugs for politicians, as a mean of livelihood.
2. Poor upbringing Poor upbringing is another cause of corruption. It is fast becoming a trend that children are taught to conceive the idea of getting rich quick, irrespective of how. This leads to the rise in corruption as these children, when they get a little older are likely to turn towards corrupt ways of getting rich. This unfortunately is a thing in our society; as young people are languishing in the trend of cyber crime, fraud, and robbery.
3. Unemployment Unemployment is one of the major challenges in Nigeria and does not need much explanation because it has broken the hearts of many citizens. An idle man is a devil workshop.
People are pushed into corrupt practices because of the high unemployment rates. An unemployed citizen can indulge in corruption to make money and live better. Eradicating Corruption Corruption can be eradicated by these following solutions:
1. Reinstall a moral compass into our people ranging from the youths to adults. This can be done through proper sensitization about the effects of corruption to the nation
2. Harsh penalty should be imposed on, and implemented against corrupt persons . This will serve as a deterrent.
3. Make EFCC and other anti-corruption bodies truly independent of the senate and executives.
4. Reinstate the whistleblowing policy.
5. Empower the media through enabling laws and granting reporters greater access to information.
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