Civil Society Groups on State of Fight against Corruption in Nigeria and Malicious Attacks on Anti Corruption Agencies

Across the country, millions of Nigerian citizens have invested their hopes in our democracy. There is a groundswell of expectations that as our fledgling democratic system of government takes shape; it will address the deprivations faced by long-suffering citizens.

However, in spite of the lack of significant and sustainable progress in our nascent democracy over the past twenty-four years, the people at the grassroots level in Nigeria still maintain their faith in and desire for a democratic system. Despite its flaws, democracy remains the most effective means for citizens to actively participate in governance and for us as a nation to achieve our collective goals. It is important to remember that millions of Nigerians bravely fought for democracy making significant sacrifices in the process.

State Of Corruption and the Struggle against it

It’s widely accepted that transparency and accountability are crucial elements that enable democracies to flourish. In Nigeria however, our so-called “democracy” has persistently functioned under a veil of secrecy and lawlessness. The management of the country’s resources has consistently disregarded the fundamental principles of democracy. Over the past few weeks, we have observed with great concern, the malicious attacks and deliberate efforts to blackmail anti-corruption agencies through sponsorship influencers, incentivised opinion publications in some national dailies, online and electronic platforms, all targeted at discouraging anti-corruption efforts and shielding the kleptocrats from thorough investigation. The pattern is clear, there is an unfolding plot of surreptitious moves to backpedal on the progress made by anti-corruption progress that we outline below:

1. Judicial Corruption

Judicial corruption constitutes a major challenge to anti-corruption work in Nigeria. The looters have repeatedly used their influence to manipulate the judicial process and system, to block and/or delay the arrest or prosecution of suspects. This blatant disregard for the rule of law has eroded public trust and reinforced the perception that Nigeria’s democracy is nothing more than a facade. Clearly, the judiciary is not living up to its responsibility of ensuring that the rule of law and provisions of the constitution are upheld.

There have been several allegations of judicial officers receiving bribes from politicians and politically exposed persons in-order to circumvent the law. This has watered down the respect, trust and confidence of citizens in the judiciary and negatively impacted the fight against corruption. Nigerians have witnessed too many situations where courts have granted injunctions which deterred anti-corruption agencies from inviting and prosecuting corrupt government officials and politically exposed persons.

  1. Corruption Enablers in Nigeria

Nigerians have witnessed with alarm numerous cases featuring a high number of foreign enablers from Switzerland, Monaco, Panama, British Virgin Islands and the United Kingdom (UK) facilitating corruption. Enablers from the UK are particularly strongly linked to Nigerian cases. Of course, Nigeria also has a number of domestic enablers involved in cases. Out of 87 enablers captured, 5 enablers are from Nigeria: 3 lawyers/law firms and 2 real estate agents. This is due to cases involving, for example, Nigerian lawyers managing trusts on behalf of their clients that are then used to move funds abroad.

  1. Procurement of Political Power

Procurement of political appointments by some suspected or investigated looters who are serving under the current administration as ministers, legislators, or occupying leadership positions of the ruling party, has exposed anti-corruption work to serious setback and deliberate sabotage that cripple the efficiency of the anti-corruption agencies. It is distressing to see people facing corruption allegations being appointed by the President to handle various positions of authority. Today, many serving law makers and ministers have corruption allegations against them. This is producing a culture of impunity, where politicians engage in corrupt practices without fear of consequences. This has eroded public trust in the government and undermined the legitimacy of the democratic process.

  1. Inadequate Budgetary Allocation to Efficiently Fund Investigations and Prosecutions

The budgetary allocations to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices & Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and Nigeria Police, among others are inadequate. Poor resource allocation is a calculated attempt to gradually push these agencies towards extinction. By limiting their resources, the government is effectively crippling their ability to function effectively and independently.

  1. Rising Disinformation on the Anti Corruption Effort

There are desperate efforts by corrupt elements to disinform, mislead, misinform and confuse Nigerians on the efforts of various anti-corruption institutions in Nigeria. We are worried over the poor understanding of the work and mandates of the anti-corruption agencies by many Nigerians including the youth, who recently played an active role in preventing the arrests of some prominent looters of the public treasury, not minding the negative impact of the loots on rising unemployment and economic downturn being experienced and the ailing critical sector that endlessly plague our economy.

  1. Recruitment of Youth into Criminality

One of the most dangerous developments in the country is the massive recruitment of young persons into different forms of criminality. These include traditional sectors such as political thuggery and cultism but also new sectors such as cybercrimes and human and drug trafficking. More youth are daily becoming engaged in criminal activities including ritual killings, cyber-crimes, kidnapping, prostitution, robbery and banditry. In the process, the youth, whose collective future has been continuously mortgaged by our morally bankrupt and corrupt politicians have to take a clear stand today. A good future for them would require that they take a clear stance in the struggle against corruption and all forms of criminality.

  1. The Undermining Of Sub-National Anticorruption Institutions

We are also concerned by the recent withdrawal of Police from the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission. This withdrawal of about 40 Police officers who were responsible for security and investigative tasks has not only hampered the work of the anti-corruption agency in Kano State, but also endangered the Police’s obligation to operate with impartiality and independence. It appears that this move is not unconnected to the attempt to frustrate the ongoing investigations into corruption allegations levelled against the National Chairman of the ruling All-Progressives Congress (APC) and former governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.


To effectively combat corruption and make significant strides towards progress, it is crucial to adopt a cohesive strategy that addresses all elements that support Nigeria’s growing corruption system. Corruption poses a significant obstacle to establishing effective governance in Nigeria. By diverting resources and subverting transparent systems designed to ensure the delivery of good public services, corruption hinders the nation’s capacity to develop. To address the growing crisis facing anti-corruption programmes, we recommend as follows:

1.​Growing concerns over the declining levels of autonomy and integrity of the judiciary must be addressed. The National Judicial Council must diligently monitor its members and promptly remove any corrupt judicial officer found to be compromising the judicial system.  By doing so, it will significantly contribute to the restoration of sanity and the promotion of accountability within the nation.

2.​To truly establish a flourishing democracy, transparency and accountability must be strictly adhered to in governance. This requires holding politicians accountable for their actions and inactions, strengthening institutions to combat corruption, and ensuring that the allocation of resources is done in a fair and equitable manner. Only through these measures can Nigeria overcome its socio-economic challenges and build a democracy that truly serves the interests of the citizens.

3.​We urge the ruling All-Progressive Party (APC) and other political parties to take decisive action in purging its ranks by denouncing and breaking support with their members who are currently being investigated by anti-corruption agencies. This can be operationalised by suspending all members tainted by corruption allegations and ensuring they are held accountable before the law.

4.​Adequate resource allocation to the Anti-corruption Agencies has become imperative to uphold their independence and enhance efficiency in the anti-corruption process. It is essential to prioritise adequate funding and support for anti-corruption agencies to prevent corruption and promote accountability. Through this, the present administration will demonstrate its commitment to fighting corruption.

5.​Religious leaders have a unique platform to influence their followers and promote ethical behaviour. They can use their sermons, teachings, and religious texts to emphasize the importance of honesty, transparency, and accountability in all aspects of life. By speaking out against corruption and promoting integrity, they can help shape the moral compass of their communities and inspire individuals to resist the temptation of engaging in corrupt practices.

6.​Community leaders, such as local government officials, traditional chiefs, and grassroots activists play a vital role in combating corruption. They are often the first line of defence against corrupt practices at the local level and can work to create a culture of transparency and accountability within their communities. By leading by example and holding themselves and others accountable for their actions, they can help build trust and foster a sense of collective responsibility for combating corruption.

7.​Opinion leaders, including journalists, academics, and social media influencers, have the power to shape public discourse and raise awareness about the negative impacts of corruption. By using their platforms to expose corrupt practices, hold public officials accountable, and advocate for anti-corruption measures, they can help mobilize public opinion and pressure governments to take action against corruption.

8.​We urge IGP Egbetokun to promptly reinstate the police personnel withdrawn from the Kano State Anti-Corruption Commission, to facilitate the effective execution of Commission’s duties. Nigeria Police must avoid actions that may portray it as being submissive to politicians.

9.​Civil society organizations, such as non-governmental organizations, advocacy groups, and watchdog organizations also play a crucial role in the fight against corruption. They can conduct research, monitor government activities, and raise awareness about corruption issues. By working with other stakeholders, including religious leaders, community leaders, and opinion leaders, they can help build coalitions and mobilize collective action to combat corruption at all levels of government and society.

Let us stand to be counted in the struggle for a corruption-free Nigeria!


  1. Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)
  2. Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre)
  3. Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED)
  4. Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD)
  5. African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL)
  6. Borno Coalition for Democracy and Progress (BOCODEP)
  7. BudgIT Foundation
  8. Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA)
  9. State of the Union (SOTU)
  10. Tax Justice and Governance Platform
  11. Transition Monitoring Group (TMG)
  12. Women in Media Communication Initiative (WIM)
  13. Zero Corruption Coalition (ZCC)
  14. Alliance for Credible Elections (ACE)
  15. Centre Democracy and Development (CDD)
  16. Accountability Lab, Nigeria
  17. Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID}
  18. Say NO Campaign – Nigeria
  19. Femi Falana Chamber
  20. Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF)
  21. Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP)
  22. Good Governance Team

23.21st Century Community Empowerment for Youth Initiative

  1. OCCEN-Kano
  2. Mothers and Marginalised Advocacy Centre (MAMA Centre)
  3. Social Action
  4. Centre for Transparency Watch
  5. West Africa Civil Society Forum WASCSOF
  6. Global Rights

30 African Centres for Leadership, Strategy & Development (Centre LSD)

  1. Partners West Africa
  2. Order Paper
  3. Say No Campaign
  4. Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria. ERA
  5. Center for Fiscal Transparency and Public Integrity
  6. Amnesty International Nigeria
  7. RULAAC – Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre
  8. Connected Development (CODE)
  9. Centre for Democratic Research and Training (CRDDERT)
  10. Praxis
  11. CLEEN Foundation
  12. Spaces for Change
  13. Abuja School of Social and Political Thought
  14. Yiaga Africa
  15. Policy Alert
  16. Socio Economic Research and Development Centre
  17. Procurement Observation and Advocacy Initiative
  18. Media Rights Agenda
  20. Centre for Social Justice

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