Search a Keyword!

Search our legal repository for any term from articles, statutes to cases

Corruption in Nigeria (Criminal Law)

corruption in nigeria criminal law

Corruption in Nigeria

Would love to read about Corruption in Nigeria – concept, trail, consequences, legal responses etc.? Continue reading.

Around the globe, the negative perception of corruption in public places continue to grow. It’s struggle to retain its place as one of the major causes of poverty is felt. The menace it has created crawls to all levels if the society ranging from the local & national govt, the civil service, down to the judiciary.

The law on the subject of corruption remains far from clear, however, our criminal justice system at least in theory lays great emphasis on the need for integrity in public life. In this bid, the concept of corruption shall be dissected, whilst contribution to the contention of corruption around the universe would be proffered.


Various scholars, jurist & writers have on different occasions laid down diverse opinions as to its meaning. According to the OXFORD learned dictionary, Corruption is regarded as “the act of impairing integrity, virtue or moral principle; it is the loss of purity, organization & composition”

It is described as a cankerworm which destroys the integral value of the society. Prof Adeyemi of UNILAG is noted to have said –

“Corruption is so prevalent in Nigeria that it requires no definition”

Corruption relates to the embezzlement of funds, nepotism, bribery & refusal to apply necessary sanctions. To the vast majority, it is considered as a “Monster that is felt rather than seen“.

See also  Technology as a Global Tool for Creating Equal Opportunities for Women - Ifezie Christabel Ogechi


Basically, the form of corruption we focus on related to the Govt, political officers & formal sector. However, it extends to the private and informal sector because there exists a link between the private, formal & informal sectors.

Some are of the opinion that corruption was existent during the colonial & post-colonial era. However, in the pre-colonial era, where the class system had not come into place, corruption according to prof. Ijalaye had not existed. It is believed that the discovery of oil in Oloibiri in 1956 by expatriate commenced corruption in Nigeria.

The issue of corruption is very much inter-related with other issues. At the global level, the international (Washington consensus influenced) economic system that has shaped the current form of globalization in the past decades requires further scrutiny as it has created conditions whereby corruption can flourish.

At the national level, people’s effective participation and representation in the society had been undermined by corruption whilst at the local level corruption has made the day to day life more painful for all those affected.

Corruption is prevalent in both developed & developing countries. It is not age restricted as both the young & old have tendencies to be corrupt. A difficult thing to measure is the impact if it in poverty versus the effect of inequalities that are structured into law. Corruption is not limited to the third world countries.

As Prof. Robert Neild, from Trinity college Cambridge University writes on his article, “Public corporation: the dark side of social evolution (London anthem press 2002)

“Rich countries & their agencies have been & are accomplice in corruption abroad, encouraging it by their actions rather than impeding it.”


The consequences of corruptions are universal even if there could be variation in the level of state and non-state approach to these consequences the history of corruption in fact relates to the creation of the law & the state and was already in antiquity considered an Evil. The following are therefore the effect of corruption:

  1. Corruption promotes poverty: massive corruption in Nigeria has reduced the amount of money needed for development. An instance can be seen in the management of pension & funds in Nigeria. Nigeria according to Quartz Africa, has the largest extreme poverty population about 86.9 million Nigerians living in poverty represents about 50% of its estimated 180million citizens
  2. Creates condition for political instability: this is because unrestricted corruption makes the state an unlimited allocator of wealth to individuals & groups. This characteristic makes it possible for the politics to be a do or die affair.
  3. Criminalization of Nigerian youths: with its capacity to generate poverty & instability, the youths have been systematically hijacked fir selfish ends by unscrupulous politicians. This has also increased interest in Advance fee fraud.
  4. Existence if an illegal economy: the possibility of bribe infiltrating the security system has made it easy for underground economies in counterfeit, adulterated & substandard products. On Mar 2, 2018, a father & son were arrested for selling tramadol to primary & secondary school in Itire area of Lagos.
See also  Patent Trolls: Understanding and Dealing with the Threats to Intellectual Property Rights - Rakshit Sharma

The European commission in its report found that corruption is costing the European economy about 120million a year and According to The European commissioner for Home affair, Cecelia Malstotrom, the corruption in Europe is most present in public procurement, financing & healthcare.


There are several laws which have been put into place to fight corruption. Most if these laws include:

Criminal code, penal code, EFCC act, ICPC act, money laundering act, code of conduct act, dishonor cheque act, cyber-crime act.


The world bank group considers corruption as a major challenge to its twin goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030 & boosting shared prosperity for the poorest 40% of people in developing countries. However, some of the following remain as challenges to eradicating corruption

  1. Immunity
  2. No acceptable definition of corruption
  3. Lack of will
  4. Contradictory state policies.


Several measures can be put into place to successfully combat corruption in Nigeria. They include:

  1. Expunging of immunity
  2. Restricting the scope of capitalism
  3. Reinstating china’s system of punishment
  4. Jettison of plea bargain
  5. Strict enforcement of law
  6. Electoral reforms

In conclusion, over the decades, a vast infrastructure of graft and impunity had taken root, taking its place in the political class, business and financial community. Sadly, this extends to the judiciary and media sectors. However, to win this war of corruption, thorough studies and strategies in countering corruption must be upheld.

Contributed by: Abdulganiyu Ismail (AKA) Mastermind
Prepared and Written by: Ucheakonam Chijioke Joshua (CJ)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *