Why Corruption Pays in Nigeria

The decision of President Muhammadu Buhari backed by the National Council of State to grant state pardon to some ex-convicts who were serving different jail terms for corruption has been described as illegal and endorsing corruption to thrive in the country.

 

It would be recalled that the council granted state pardon to two former governors; Joshua Dariye of Plateau State and Jolly Nyame of Taraba States. The two former Governors were among the 159 prisoners pardoned at the council’s meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on April 13, 2022. Others include former military general and Minister under the late Sani Abacha regime, Tajudeen Olanrewaju, an army lieutenant Colonel Akiyode, who was an aide of former deputy to general Abacha, Oladipo Diya and all the junior officers jailed over the 1990 abortive Gideon Orkar coup. Those pardoned were sentenced for various offences bordering on misappropriation of public funds, drug barons, forgery, bribery and other offences that have actually plundered the nation’s fortunes.

They were pardoned on health and age grounds when they still have several years to complete their jail terms

 

 Day in and day out, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) keeps inundating us with pictures of young men arrested inside hotels or their hideouts with their laptops for cybercrimes or other related offences, some of them are jailed while others are still being tried.

 

 In Nigeria, it seems corruption has been institutionalized in recent times and that is why some people are of the opinion that whoever that wants to steal should better steal big money. This is because those that have been pardoned have shown reasons to steal big to others because at the end of the day if you steal big money and is caught, you will be able to get the best of lawyers to defend you, you will be able to see whether you can influence the judicial system and if your case is so bad that you have to be sentenced, once you are a friend to those in corridor of power or their cronies, you can get away with the crime committed.

In other words, the pardon implied that in Nigeria corruption surely pays because of political permutation. Somebody somewhere gets clemency and is free to spend billions of naira stolen.

 

But digging deep into some of these crimes committed and those that have been pardoned, it appears that the Buhari regime is supporting corruption and impunity. His regime came to power under the pretext of fighting corruption that was prevalent under the PDP government.

 

The fact is that corruption has been in Nigeria for many decades back. And because of Nigeria’s position in Africa and Nigeria’s corrupt nature, Africa has remained underdeveloped till date.

 

It is important to state that when convicted individuals who looted billions of naira are released, there is no way that the international community will take Nigeria’s anti corruption efforts seriously, especially when attempts are being made to recover stolen assets outside the country.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari should stop paying lip service to the issue of corruption. His body language implies that he is reviving, nurturing and watering corruption with state powers.