News / Africa

For Many Nigerians, Corruption Invincible Woe

For Many Nigerians, Corruption Invincible Woei
February 26, 2014 2:03 AM
The menace, which some call Nigeria's 'biggest industry,' is deemed responsible for everything from power outages to widespread poverty. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Heather Murdock
From the volatile oil-producing Niger Delta to northern forests where insurgents terrorize villagers, some Nigerians blame corruption for many of their woes, but no one knows how to stop it.

About half of all Nigerians are without electricity. Without a generator, no one, not even the richest Nigerians, has electricity all day.

At the University of Abuja, where the power is off, political scientist Abubakar Umar Kari blames corruption for the outage, along with a host of other problems.

“As far as we are concerned, corruption is the biggest industry in Nigeria," Kari said. "The Nigerian elite have perfected the act at not only perpetrating corruption but ensuring that they use the instrumentality of corruption as statecraft.”

Early this month, Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi was suspended and placed under investigation after saying Nigeria’s national oil company had not accounted for $20 billion.

Others who have exposed large-scale corruption in Nigeria, such as Nuru Ribadu, a former anti-corruption chief who accused officials of stealing $380 billion and, more recently, Nigerian legislator Farouk Lawan, who spearheaded a report about a $6.8 billion fuel subsidy scam, have been ousted and accused of taking bribes.

Kari said corruption is at least partly to blame for widespread poverty in Nigeria, as well as an insurgency in the north and instability in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

High-level oil officials, he said, are entrenched in the “corruption system” and will target anyone who exposes their misdeeds.

“They have fought others that have threatened them before, and I believe they will continue to attempt to threaten anyone who tries to ask questions or constitute themselves into an opposition to the corruption industry," he said. "So it is corruption that is fighting back.”

Abuja-based political consultant Fabian Ihekwe said corruption may be at the heart of many Nigerian problems, but that Central Bank Governor Sanusi was removed not for attempting to expose corruption but because he was damaging Nigeria’s economy and spending state money recklessly.

“When the chairman or governor of the central bank of any nation speaks, it is purely on policy," he said. "It can jeopardize the economy in the sense that it can render investor confidence weak. Both foreign and national investors can be chased away.”

On Monday night President Goodluck Jonathan denied allegations that Sanusi’s suspension was politically timed.

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Comment Sorting
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
February 28, 2014 5:34 AM
What is corruption if not when the president sacks a serving central bank governor prosecuting money laundering and missing NNPC money that the oil industry ministry has refused to lodge into the federation account? It is when the ruling administration refuses to be accountable to the populace and persecutes the ones who should speak out for the truth. It is when prosecution is stopped half way with unfounded reprisal accusation to make sure that culprits are not convicted. It is keeping the country in the dark concerning accountability. It is when governors have their security withdrawn to force them to join the bandwagon and misinform the country. It is when the president must have his way at all costs to the detriment of rule of law and justice in the country. All other forms of corrupt - bribery and nepotism - must learn from this.

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