Combating Corruption in Nigeria: The Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
by Emmanuel Obuah
Corruption is a persistent cancerous phenomenon which bedevils Nigeria. Misappropriation, bribery, embezzlement, nepotism, and money laundering by public officials have permeated the fabric of the society. The office seekers of major political parties top the list of unfit or corrupt officials. Elected officials in high echelons of power and public officers use their positions to engage in corrupt activities. It is estimated that corruption accounts for 20 percent of the GDP of Nigeria. For several years, Nigeria has been at the bottom of Transparency International’s (TI) Corrupt Perception Index (CPI) ranking. In 2002, the Nigerian government created the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate and prosecute cases of corruption and financial crimes. This paper reviews the scope of corruption and the efforts by the Nigerian government to combat it by examining the various perspectives for understanding the causes of corruption. The study while recognizing the importance of the various perspectives, notes that both the rent-seeking and institutional theories offer deeper insights into the systemic nature of Nigerian corruption. Finally, the article examines the activities of the EFCC and notes that it faces serious challenges as the configurations of the Nigerian political landscape are uncertain.
Emmanuel E. Obuah is an Assistant Professor of International Relations at Alabama A&M University. He holds a LLM in International Criminal Law and a D.Phil. in International Relations from the University of Sussex. He was both Sir Adam Thomson (1987-88) and Commonwealth Scholar (1992–95) at the University of Sussex. He is the Proceedings Editor (2010 – 2013) of the International Academy of African Business and Development (IAABD) conferences. He has published in several referred journals.