UNRAVELING CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA IS A WAR

Grassroots and Gender Development Center's picture

Corrupt practices exist around the world; it is like a canker-worm that delights in feeding on its host without minding what the host is going through. Corruption is being dishonest for personal gain and at the expense of others; corruption defiles a country. Apart from sports, one other thing that unites Nigerian citizens is the war against corruption. Corruption has been generally accepted as evil and responsible for the nation’s gross underdevelopment. With such high amount of human and material resources abounding in the country, it was believed that Nigeria was supposed to be counted among the first twenty industrialized nations in the world.

 

Corrupt practices have to do with fraudulent activity especially the siphoning of funds that are meant for the general populace for one’s aggrandizement only. Right from the beginning, corruption has been a vermin that has been killing and discouraging Nigeria from moving up or welcoming new innovations. Gone are the days when merit, ability, honesty and transparency, as I understand, have meaning in the Nigerian government. The likes of Pa Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, General Murtala Muhammed, Tunde Idiagbon (all of blessed memory) would never be forgotten in the history of Nigeria for being leaders with proven records of achievement.

 

Corruption is a canker worm that has eaten deep in the fabric of the nation. It ranges from petty corruption to political / bureaucratic corruption or Systemic corruption (International Center for Economic Growth, 1999). World Bank studies put corruption at over $1 trillion per year accounting for up to 12% of the Gross Domestic Product of nations like Nigeria, Kenya and Venezuela (Nwabuzor, 2005).

 

The herm of affairs is usually occupied by the men and because of that, women are the ones that are mostly affected by corruption, this is part of the reason why it is said that poverty wears the face of a woman and part of what causes POVERTY is CORRUPTION. Until corruption is fought to a standstill, women will not have a fair deal. In the field of politics and decision making, corruption denies women a level playing field necessary for participation on grounds of merit. In the last general elections held in Nigeria in April 2011, International Federation of Women lawyers (FIDA) came across a number of cases where names of women who had legitimately won primaries in their parties were replaced with those of their male counterparts. It is accepted that better access to justice for women can be achieved through greater representation in the political and decision making process. This is still a problem in most countries of the sub-Saharan region where the 30% representation of women as recommended by the Protocol is still a mirage. Women need an opportunity to be part of the reform process.

 

In bid for Journalist to access information and unravel the sources of corruption in Nigeria that has led to the gross underdevelopment, has led to the assassination of a lot of Nigerian journalist. On Sunday, September 20, 2009, the list of murdered Nigerian journalists grew with the shooting, in Lagos, of Bayo Ohu, an assistant political editor with The Guardian. The assailants invaded Mr. Ohu’s home early in the morning, shot him several times, and waited to make sure he was dead before they left, taking his laptop and cell phone with them. In October, 2006, Omololu Falobi, former features editor of The Punch who was until his death the executive director of Journalists Against AIDS (JAAIDS) was killed in his car while going home in the Alakuko area of Lagos, amongst other deaths.

 

Putting structures like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Nigeria isn’t enough, it is however important for those structures to begin to yield more results in terms of convictions of offenders. This will certainly serve as a boost in the war against corruption by reason of its deterrent effect. It’s necessary to show that everyone is subject to the law.

 

The keys to effectively managing corruption in any society are honesty and integrity, effective leadership and governance, transparency and accountability, because without such measures in place corrupt leaders cannot wage an effective war against corruption.

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