Due Process Office of Nepotism

One of the major challenges that has faced the Nigerian nation over the years is the issue of corruption and its debilitating ancillaries – bribery, graft, fraud and nepotism.

Corruption has become so deep-seated in the country that it had stunted growth in all sectors and has been the primary reason behind the country’s difficulties in developing fast. Transparency International, an independent global watch on corruption ranks Nigeria among the five most corrupt nations in the world, an inglorious record that has stunted growth in all areas of endeavour in the country.

When oil shoved groundnuts and rubber into oblivion and became the nation’s main source of earnings, it opened Nigeria to inflow of large sums of money. More money was made from oil in one year than had ever been made from agro based sources for several years. In a bid to harness the new wealth to leverage infrastructures – roads, bridges, airports etc, huge contracts were awarded without regard for normal processes. Government spent money without much control, paving the way for corruption to take hold. Ever since, it has spiraled out of control.

Nigerians suffered because corruption made it hard to run government transparently. Scandals became rife. Projects were plagued by corruption which even seeped into so many private areas of people’s lives. Something needed to be done urgently.

Cognizant of the destructive effects of corruption on Nigeria, the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo, on coming to power in 1999, vowed to confront this problem decisively.

One thorny area that needed immediate attention was the long-standing problem of financial crimes, especially the advance fee fraud known generally as “419”. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was set up to tackle financial and related crimes with astounding successes so far. The pervasiveness of 419 had made business prospecting a problem for genuine Nigerian businessmen who were being increasingly spurned by the international business community because of distrust brought about by advance fee fraud. Many fraudsters have been arrested and prosecuted by the EFCC since it started. It has also prosecuted officials involved in corrupt enrichment and is currently pursuing the prosecution of a former Inspector General of Police on so many charges of corruption.

The other organ also set up by the Federal Government to fight corruption in public office is the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC) which too had scored remarkable successes since inception.

The government’s campaign against corruption manifests also in the setting up of the Due Process Office. This office oversees and demands that standard processes be followed in the execution of government activities and projects, thereby plugging avenues for bribery and corruption.

Part of the reasons for granting Nigeria debt forgiveness by the Paris Club is the renewed drive to curb corruption in the land and for transparency in government affairs.

With renewed confidence in the government to combat and reduce financial crimes and other corrupt practices, foreign investors have the guarantee of achieving their objectives in Nigeria.

While the problem of corruption has been around for a while, it is instructive to note that the will to combat it has become more resilient and with the expected co-operation of the international community, it will be reduced if not completely eliminated from Nigeria in due course

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