Looting the Looters: The Paradox of Anti-Corruption Crusades in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic (1999-2014)



The ubiquitous nature of corruption in Nigeria's political boulevard has been a cogged wheel that backpedal developmental liberation in the country. Consequently, Nigerian government embarked on major reform that led to the creation of Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to eliminate the scars of corruption in Nigeria's political map during Olusegun Obasanjo's regime.  However, the anti-corruption institution has received a lot of criticism among the general populace in Nigeria. The agency has been accused of politicization, selective operation, lack of transparency and as an instrument of political persecution. Therefore, this study investigates to what extent Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) becomes a political device in the hand of politicians in facilitating further looting and persecuting political enemies. The paper argues that various regimes in Nigeria's fourth republic, ranging from Olusegun Obasanjo's administration (1999-2007), Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s regime (2007-2010) and Goodluck Jonathan’s political dispensation (2010-2014) employed anti-corruption agency as a shield to foster corruption and persecute political opposition. A drastic measure is suggested for the efficiency, effectiveness and absolute autonomy of the agency in Nigeria.


Corruption, Anti-Corruption, Democracy, Politics, Fourth Republic, EFCC, Nigeria

Full Text:



Adegbamigbe .2009. Corruption in Nigeria under Obasanjo administration, eWash News, June 2, 2009

Adekunle .T. 2013. ‘Plea bargaining and the Nigerian penal system: Giving judicial imprimatur to corruption’. New Ground Research Journal of Legal Studies Research and Essays, 1(1), pp. 10-17

Adeleke .F. and Olayanju .O. 2014. ‘The role of the judiciary in combating corruption: aiding and inhibiting factors in Nigeria’, Commonwealth Law Bulletin, pp. 589-607

Afigbo .A. 1991. ‘Background to Nigerian federalism: Federal features in the colonial state’. Publius: The Journal of Federalism, 21(4), pp.13-29.

Agbiboa, D. 2010. ‘The Corruption-Underdevelopment Nexus in Africa: Which Way Nigeria?!. The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies, 35(4), pp. 474-509.

Aka .J. 2012. Great Presidents of Nigerian 4TH Republic: Obasanjo-Yar’Adua-Jonathan; Trafford Publishing, USA

Aibieyi .2007. Anti-Corruption strategies and development in Nigeria: A case study of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial CorruptionCommission (EFCC); Lwati: A Journal of Contemporary Research

Ako-Nai, R. 2004. The politics of marginalization in Nigeria: Challenges of the fourth republic. Nigeria and Globalization: Discourses on Identity Politics and Social Conflict, pp. 371-387.

Alao .A. 2013. The Evolutionary Travails of the Nigerian State and Political System 1914-1999 ‘’in’’ Obiyan .S. and Amuwo .K. (ed) Nigeria’s Democratic Experience in the Fourth Republic: Policies and Politics, pp. 464-482; University Press of America, Boulevard, USA

Albin-Lackey .C. & Rawlence .B. 2007. Indicting the opposition; The Guardian News, 23/3/2007

Aljazeera .2015. Corruption blights Nigerian army's fight against rebels, 25 Mar 2015

Amadi, L. and Ekekwe .E. 2014. Corruption and development administration in Africa: Institutional approach. African Journal of Political Science and International Relations, 8(6), pp. 163-174.

Asobie .H. 2012. Meaning and Nature of Corruption in Nigeria, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Audu .M. and Osuala .U. 2013. The ‘Hallowed Chamber’ And The Skulduggery of Sleaze in the Fourth Republic, 1999 – 2007,International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Invention, pp. 9-16

Azeez, A. 2004. The dynamics of ethnic politics and democratic consolidation in Nigeria: A prognosis. Nigeria and Globalization: Discourses on Identity Politics and Social Conflict. CBAAC: Ibadan: Stirling-Horden Publishers (Nig.) Ltd, 327-342.

Bamidele .O. 2013. Corruption, Conflict and Sustainable Development in African States; The African Symposium: An online journal of the African Educational Research Network, Volume 13, No. 1,

Bayley, D. 1966. The Effects of Corruption in a Developing Nation. The Western Political Quarterly, 719-732.

Bayart, J. F., Ellis, S., & Hibou, B. 1999. The criminalization of the state in Africa. International African Institute.

BBC News, 2005. Nigerian Governors to be Impeached, Wednesday, 23 November 2005

BBC, 2007. Nigeria speaker goes in graft row, 30 October 2007

BBC News .2007. Court puts Nigeria poll in doubt, 16 April 2007

BBC. 2011. Nigeria's EFCC 'failing to tackle corrupt politicians; 25 August 2011{Online}Availablefrom:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/worldafrica14671687{Accessed on 24January 2015}

BBC News .2010. Nigeria's Goodluck Jonathan sworn in as president, May 6 2010

BBC. 2011. Nigerian speaker Dimeji Bankole arrested for 'fraud', 06/06/2011

BBC News .2014. Is Nigeria serious about tackling corruption?, 12 March 2014

BBC News .2012. Former Nigeria governor James Ibori jailed for 13 years, 17 April 2012

BBC .2014. Nigeria bank chief Sanusi told to resign by Goodluck Jonathan, 9 january 2014

BBC 2006. The politics of Nigerian corruption; BBC News, 13/09/2006

Bracking .S. 2007. Corruption and Development: The Anti-Corruption Campaigns; Palgrave Macmillan, England

Brook .G. Walsh .D. Lewis .C. and Kim .H. 2013. Preventing Corruption: Investigation, Enforcement and Governance; Palgrave Macmillan, U.S.A

Byrne .E., Arnold .A. and Nagano .K. (2010) Building Public Support for Anti-Corruption Efforts: Why Anti-Corruption Agencies Need to Communicate and How;The InternationalBank

for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank Communication for Governance & Accountability Program (CommGAP) External Affairs

BSN News .2013. Nigeria officials Steal $7 Billion in Corruption, u.s. says in Report, April 24 2013

Chabal .P. and Daloz .J. 1999. Africa Works: The Political Instrumentalization of Disorder. Bloomington, IN: International African Institute in association with James Currey and Indiana University Press

Coldham .S. 1995. Legal Responses to State Corruption in Commonwealth Africa; Journal of African Law, 39, pp. 115-126

Country Reports .2008. Country Reports on Human Right Practices for 2007; U.S Department of State, Vol 1

David .N., Manu .Y. and Musa .A. 2014. Elections, Electoral Process and the Challenges of Democratization in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic; Research on Humanities and Social Sciences

Diamond .L. 1988. Class, ethnicity, and democracy in Nigeria: The failure of the first republic. Syracuse University Press.

Dibua, J. 2006. Modernization and the crisis of development in Africa: the Nigerian experience. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd..

Echezona .N. 1987. ‘‘Strategies for National Integration in Africa’’ in Olugbemi .S. (ed) Alternative Political Future for Nigeria, Nigeria Political Science Association

Economic Commission for Africa 2009. African Governance Report II: 2009; Oxford University Press

Economic Commission for Africa 2010. Assessing the Efficiency and Impact of National Anti-Corruption Institutions in Africa; {Online} Availablefrom:http://www.uneca.org/sites/default/files/publicatins/anticorruprion_document.pdf 16 {Accessed on 24 January 2015}.

EFCC .2014. The Establishment Act; Economic and Financial Crime Commission, Economic and Financial Crime Commission

Ejimudo .K. 2014. Democracy/Environmental Justice Challenge in Nigeria’s Niger-Delta and the Developmental Leadership and Governance Culture Imperative; Journal of Economics and Sustainable Development

Eme, (2010). “Corruption in Nigerian Government Institutions: A Case of Police Equipment Fund.Journal of Liberal Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, pp. 440-45

Enweremadu, D. 2010. Anti-corruption Policies in Nigeria Under Obasanjo and Yar'adua: What to Do After 2011?. Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.

Enweremadu .D. 2006. The struggle against Corruption in Nigeria: the Role of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (ICPC) under the Fourth Republic; IFRA Special Research Issue

Fadakinte .M. 2013. The nature and character of the Nigerian state, explaining election crisis in a Peripheral state. British Journal of Arts and Social Sciences, 12(11), 275-287.

Falola .T. and Heaton .M. 2008, A History of Nigeria; Cambridge University Press.

Falola .T. & Oyeniyi .B. 2015. Africa in Focus: Nigeria; Published by ABC-CLIO,LLC, Califonia USA

Heilbrunn .2004. Anti-Corruption Commissions Panacea or Real Medicine to Fight Corruption?. World Bank Institute. {Online} {Accessed on 24 January 2015}. Availablefrom:http://siteresources.worldbank.org/WBI/Resources/wbi37234H ilbru n.pdf

Human Right Watch .2007. Criminal Politics: Violence, ‘‘Godfathers’’ and Corruption in Nigeria, Human Right Watch

Human Right Watch .2011. Nigeria: Firing of Anti-Corruption Czar Won’t Fix Agency; Human RightWatch.{Online}Availablefrom:http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/11/23/nigeriafir ng-anti-corruption-czarwon-t-fixagency{Accessed on 24 January 2015}.

Human Right Watch .2011. Corruption on Trial? The Record of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission; Human Right Watch

Igbuzor .O. 2008. Strategies For Winning The Anti-Corruption War In Nigeria; Action Aid Nigeria Briefing Paper No. 2. {Online} Availablefrom:http://www.actionaid.org/sites/files/actionaid/winning_anticorrution_war_in_ geria1.pdf{Accessed on 24 January 2015}.

Iheduru .O. 2014. Nigeria ‘in’ Kopstein .J. Lichbach .M., Hanson .S. (2014) Comparative Politics: Interests, Identities and Institutions in a Changing Global Order; Fourth Edition, Published by Cambridge University Press

Ikejiaku .B. 2013. Political Corruption, Critical Governance Problem Facing the Nigerian State: Comparative Assessment of various Regimes, The Journal of African Policy Studies Volume 16 No. 2,

IRNG News .2015. Exclusive! Patience Jonathan sacks EFCC, Allocates Anti-Graft Agency’s office to ADC…As officials Loots, Share Government Properties, April 8 2015

Kurtzleben .D. 2009. NIGERIA: Endemic Corruption Draining Human, Economic Resources; Inter Press Service. {online} Available from: http://www.globalissues.org/news/2009/06/11/1793 {Accessed on 17/06/2015}

Leadership Newspaper .2015. What Does ‘Corruption’ Really Mean?, February 12, 2015

Lipset .S. and Lenz .G. 2000. Corruption, Culture, and Markets, in Culture Matters, Harrison .L. and Huntington .P. eds., New York: Basic Books, p.112.

Mohammed, U. 2013. ‘Corruption in Nigeria: A Challenge to Sustainable Development in the Fourth Republic’. European Scientific Journal, 9(4).

Monday .O. 2010. ‘Elite Recruitment and Political Stability in the Nigerian Fourth Republic’. Journal of Social Science, vol 24(2), pp.129-133.

National Daily Newspaper, 2014. 25 Judges in N5 billion corruption scandal, 11 August 2014

News Express 2013. Nigeria’s EFCC, a crude instrument for political control, 27/10/2013

News Punch .2015. EFCC: A Toothless Bulldog under President Jonathan Administration, 24/05/2015

Newswatch Magazine, May 19, 2008

Nigerian 1999 Constitution {online} Available from:http://www.icnl.org/research/library/files/Nigeria/constitution2.pdf {Accessed on 20/06/2015}

Nigeria Intel .2012. The Nigerian Pension Scam: How They Looted The Funds, July 1 2012

Nigerian Tribune, 2009. Successive Governments have diminished our Nation, February 17, 2009

Nwabughiogu 2015. Swiss govt to help Nigeria reclaim Abacha’s $370m loot in Luxembourg – Ambassador, Vanguard Newspaper, April 28, 2015

Nwagwu .E. 2014. Legislative Oversight in Nigeria: a Watchdog or a Hunting Dog?. Journal of Law, Policy and Globalization, 22, pp. 16-24.

Obuah, E. 2010. Combating Corruption in Nigeria: The Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). African Studies Quarterly, 12(1), 17-44.

Ocheni, S. and Nwankwo .B. 2012. The Effectiveness of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Enhancing Good Governance and Sustainable Developmental Growth in Africa: The Nigeria Paradox Under Obasanjo Administration, 2003-2007. Canadian Social Science, 8(3), 16-21.

OECD 2014. Background Brief: The rationale for fighting corruption; Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Okome, M. 2005. The Nature of the State, Gender Politics, and the Empowerment of Women in the Twenty-First Century ‘in’ Odogu (ed) Nigeria in the Twenty-first Century: Strategies for Political Stability and Peaceful Coexistence, Africa Word Press, Inc

Omeje, K. 2006. The Rentier State: Oil-related Legislation And Conflict In The Niger Delta, Nigeria: Analysis. Conflict, Security & Development, 6(2), pp. 211-230.

Osaghae, E. 1998. Crippled giant: Nigeria since independence. Indiana University Press.

Osaghae .E. 2003. Explaining the changing patterns of ethnic politics in Nigeria, Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, vol. 9:3, pp. 54-73,

Otite .O. 1990. Ethnic Pluralism and Ethnicity in Nigeria. Ibadan: Shaneson C.I. Ltd

Ovienloba .A. 2007. The Weeping Child; Primus International Network for Education and Developments (PINED), New York, U.S.A

Perry .P. 1997. Political corruption and political geography. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate.

Peters .J. 1997. The Nigerian military and the state (Vol. 4). IB Tauris.

Ploch .L. 2010. Nigeria; Congressional Research Service, U.S.A

Pope .J. and Vogl .F. 2000. Making Anticorruption Agencies More. Available from: http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2000/06/pope.htm Effective; International Monetary Fund, quarterly magazine Volume 37, Number 2. {Online} {Accessed on 24 January 2015}

Premium Times Newspaper .2013.Why we sacked Justices Naron, Archibong – NJC, February 21, 2013

Premium Times .2012. The 155 billion naira presidential scam: How Jonathan approved transfer to ex-con, others, May 24 2012

Premium Times Newspaper .2013. Ex-Senate President, Wabara, to face corruption trial, Supreme Court orders, February 22, 2013

Premium Times .2015. Top 10 Corruption Scandals Nigeria’s National Assembly Hasn’t Resolved, April 26 2015

Raimi, L. Suara .I. and Fadipe, A. 2013. Role of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices & Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) at Ensuring Accountability and Corporate Governance in Nigeria. Journal of Business Administration and Education, 3(2).

Robbins, P. 2000. The rotten institution: corruption in natural resource management. Political Geography, 19(4), 423-443.

Sampson .I. 2014. Religion and the Nigerian State: Situating the de facto and de jure Frontiers of State–Religion Relations and its Implications for National Security. Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, 3(2), 311-339.

Sahara Reporter .2007. Obasanjo Is The Most Corrupt Nigerian-Gani Fawehinmi, May 31 2007

Sardan .J. 1999. A Moral Economy of Corruption in Africa? Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 37, No. 1, pp. 25-52

Shaapera .S. 2012. Theories Of The State: Perspectives on the Nigerian Variant, European Scientific Journal, vol. 8,

Sen .A. 1999. Development as Freedom; New York: Anchor Books, p.275

Shenge .A. 2004. ‘‘Indigene’’ and ‘‘Settler’’ Status and Identity Politics in Nigeria: Lessons from the Jukun-Tiv Crisis and the Role of the Media, in Oni. D., Gupta .S., Omoniyi .T., Adegbija.E. and Awonusi .S. (ed) Nigeria and Globalization: Discourses on Identity Politics and Social

Conflicts. CBAAC: Ibadan: Stirling-Horden Publishers (Nig.) Ltd,

Smith, D. J. (2010). A culture of corruption: Everyday deception and popular discontent in Nigeria. Princeton University Press.

Szeftel .M. 2000. Clientelism, Corruption & Catastrophe; Review of African Political Economy, Vol. 27, pp. 427-441

The Nation Newspaper .2012. Our Society of corruption; November 29th 2012

The News 2014. Obasanjo: Why Ribadu was sacked by Umaru Yar’Adua, 10/12/2014

The Sun Newspaper .2014. Obasanjo on National Assembly, December 4, 2014

The Punch Newspaper 2012. Obasanjo is a joker, liar, he was behind third term-Nnamani, others, 04/08/2012

The Punch Newspaper, 2013. Supreme Court orders fresh trial of Wabara, others, February 23, 2013

The Punch Newspaper .2013. N255m Car Scandal: Finally, Jonathan Moves against Oduah, October 29, 2013

The Punch Newspaper, 2012. $620,000 bribe: IG, three CPs grill Farouk Lawan, 14/06/2012

The Sun Newspaper, 2014. Dimeji Bankole: The man who beat the law, February 19, 2014

The Punch Newspaper .2013. The Maina pension mess, February 27, 2013

The Punch Newspaper .2014. Sharing centenary award with Abacha, an insult — Soyinka, March 2, 2014

The News, 2014. Obasanjo: Assembly Members Looters, Jonathan Mismanage Nigeria, 27 November, 2014

The Sun Newspaper 2015. Corruption: Demonising Lamorde and EFCC, 28/05/2015

The Times of Nigeria 2007. President Yar’Adua Fires EFCC Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, 27/12/2007

ThisDay Live 2015. Obasanjo as Nigeria's Moral Compass, 18/01/2015

ThisDay Newspaper 2011. Jonathan fires Waziri, replaces her with Lamorde as Acting EFCC Chairman, 23/11/2011

ThisDay Newspaper .2011. Jonathan fires Waziri, replaces her with Lamorde as Acting EFCC Chairman, 23 November 2011

Transparency International 2015. Working Together, Transaprency International

Ukase .P. & Audu .B. 2015. The Role of Civil Society in the Fight Against Corruption In Nigeria’s Fourth Republic: Problems, Prospects And The Way Forward. European Scientific Journal, 11(2).

UNDP .2010. Staying on Track: Tackling Corruption Risks in Climate Change, United Nations Development Programme

United Nation .2004. Handbook on practical anti-corruption measures for prosecutors and investigators, Vienna, September 2004

USIP 2010. Governance, corruption, and conflict; United States Institute of Peace Washington, D.C.

Uzonwanne, G. 2011. The Political Economy of Development in Weak States: An Institutional Analysis of the Nigerian State. Available atSSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1886363 orhttp://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1886363

Vanguard Newspaper .2012. Faroukgate: Police uncover fresh $10m bribe, June 29, 2012

Vanguard Newspaper, 2013. Why I sacked Farida Waziri-Jonathan, September 12, 2013

World Bank 1997. Helping Countries Combat Corruption: The Role of the World Bank. {online} Available from: http://www1.worldbank.org/publicsector/anticorrupt/corruptn/corrptn.pdf {Accessed on 02/06/ 2015}.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/8794


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2016 JOHN SUNDAY OJO

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Share us to:   


  • How to do online submission to another Journal?
  • If you have already registered in Journal A, then how can you submit another article to Journal B? It takes two steps to make it happen:

1. Register yourself in Journal B as an Author

  • Find the journal you want to submit to in CATEGORIES, click on “VIEW JOURNAL”, “Online Submissions”, “GO TO LOGIN” and “Edit My Profile”. Check “Author” on the “Edit Profile” page, then “Save”.

2. Submission

  • Go to “User Home”, and click on “Author” under the name of Journal B. You may start a New Submission by clicking on “CLICK HERE”.
  • We only use three mailboxes as follows to deal with issues about paper acceptance, payment and submission of electronic versions of our journals to databases: caooc@hotmail.com; css@cscanada.net; css@cscanada.org

 Articles published in Canadian Social Science are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY).


Website: Http://www.cscanada.net Http://www.cscanada.org 
E-mailcss@cscanada.net, css@cscanada.org

Copyright © Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture