THE LEGAL AND INSTITUTIONAL MEASURES IN COMBATING CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA: ISSUES, CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS
Corruption has been a social problem in Nigeria with debilitating consequences on the growth and development of the country. The country is the sixth largest exporter of crude oil in the world earning therefrom a revenue of about 57 billion USD annually. The country also has the biggest agricultural output on the African continent and 25th in the world and is reputed to be the largest economy in Africa with a GDP of 481.07 billion USD as of 2015. If properly utilized, the resources of the country can make the country grow to becoming one of the most developed countries of the world. The country has however failed to develop to its potential as a result of both pervasive and endemic corruption which has virtually crippled the country. It is estimated that the country has lost about 400 billion USD to corruption since independence in 1960 occasioning impoverishment of the vast majority of its population and dilapidation of the nation‟s infrastructure critical for social and economic growth. Successive regimes in Nigeria have enacted several legislation and established institutional frameworks to tackle the problem of corruption in the country but inspite of all these, the problem of corruption has not abated in the country but has continued to grow and in some instances with new sophistications. This thesis deals with the problem of corruption in Nigeria. It examines both the legal and institutional frameworks available in Nigeria for the fight against corruption in the country with a view to identifying their weaknesses and proffering recommendations to strengthening and making them more efficacious in addressing the problem of corruption in the country. The research also examined other factors that promote corruption in Nigeria. In analyzing the laws and institutions, doctrinal approach was employed. The Researcher also visited some of the Anti- Corruption Institutions in Nigeria such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices Communion and the Code of Conduct Bureau for practical experience on their activities. Information was also obtained from relevant sites in the internet and the works of other writers on the subject matter. Similarly, relevant statutes and case laws were also used. The Research found certain provisions in the Anti-Corruption Statutes in Nigeria to be static, obsolete and non responsive to advancement in the society and to new trends of corrupt practices such as crimes perpetrated through money paying machines and devices like the Automated Teller Machines (ATM) and Point of Sale (POS) devices. The Research found some other provisions of these Statutes to be laconic, conflicting, contradictory and ambiguous which weakens their efficacies in curbing corruption in the country. Other factors such as insecurity of tenure of office of the Chairmen and Members of such Anti-Corruption Agencies as the ICPC and the EFCC, poor funding and lethargies of the various Anti-Corruption Agencies were found to contribute in hampering the effectiveness of these Agencies to curb corruption in Nigeria. Furthermore, the Research found the available punishment for corruption in Nigeria not meaningfully impactful in curbing the problem of corruption in the Country. Abdication of parental responsibility was also found to promote corruption in Nigeria. The Research recommends inter alia, amendments to some of the Anti-Corruption Statutes in Nigeria to cure the observed shortcomings and weaknesses including a provision for office forfeiture by any Public Officer or Officials of Corporate Entities who are charged to Court on corruption offences pending the conclusion of their trial and the prescription of drastic punishments such as the life imprisonment and death penalty for certain categories of corrupt practices and the inclusion of the office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria in the process of removal of the Chairmen and Members of the Anti-Corruption Agencies. The Research also recommends other unconventional ways to tackle the problem of corruption in Nigeria such as value re-invention, parental responsibility and the concept of indoctrination.