Nigeria: Cost of Corruption

President Buhari
It is no longer news that corruption
have increased astronomically in recent years in Nigeria. A skeletal scan
through the pages of several newspapers now depict cases of persons
fraudulently diverting public funds, former public holders standing trials in
different courts for one case of 
economic crime or the other. Some suspected persons are allegedly said
to be returning part of the looted funds back to the coffers on the government.
Assuming, this is true, I’d give kudos to the government for the laudable
efforts, which is also giving a signal to the international community that it
isn’t business as usual anymore.

 As someone who thinks most times in
monetary terms, I think returning a looted fund is not enough. What happens to
the humongous interest foregone on such amount? We are no longer in the stone
age where monies were buried in the ground for safe keeping. These monies would
have been kept in a bank, either foreign or local. Some suspected persons may
even use those funds to acquire properties and later decide to crystallize it
to cash when they notice the heat is getting too much. It seems no one is
talking about that aspect. This can also be likened to a businessman who
borrows money from a bank but decides to pay only the principal thereby leaving
the interest element unpaid. This then brings us to the issue of the cost of
corruption to Nigeria as a country

The cost of corruption on the
Nigerian economy is now unknowingly at a staggering height. This is because of
the stance of the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration on the war
against corruption. There is no tangible compensation for the social and
infrastructural damage done to economy by this criminal act. Not to mention the
inestimable costs such as the loss of lives due to accidents on our bad roads and
poor health system delivery, just to mention a few, which funds were initially
embarked to cater for. Since it would be high impracticable to ascribe a
definite figure to the total cost of corruption, it is however necessary to
call our consciousness to some of the cost elements involved in the fight
against corruption.
An important element is law
enforcement which encompasses the cost of maintaining the Nigerian police, its
support staff, cost of training and development, equipment, buildings and so
on. The cost of effectively operating court system which involves the judges,
court reporters, clerks and other workers should also be taken into
consideration. This cost may even go up as some pressure groups , opinion
leaders and legal practitioners are clamouring for special courts for
corruption related cases.
The world is now a global village;
there is the need for more investments in technology and other sophisticated
methods of tracking and investigating corrupt practices. Since no one is an
island of knowledge, it is highly imperative to also increase the capacity and
capability of the staffs of the enforcement agencies such as the EFCC and ICPC.
They should be sent on more exchange programmes and refresher courses. This
will allow and aid some forms of cross fertilisation of knowledge amongst them
and their counterparts in other climes. We can’t afford to operate in isolation
if we want to be ahead and apprehend corrupt persons who are constantly
researching on how to get their activities unnoticed, uncovered and earthed for
There’s also the need to invest
financial resources on the sensitization of the general public on the negative
effects of corruption and how it has plagued the fortune and development for
our great nation. Cost of billboard, radio and TV jingles should also be
factored. In line with the Ghanaian byword, “Catch them young, and they
shall be yours forever”. Monies should also be spent on recruiting school
instructors who will lecture kids on why being incorruptible is desirable. The
local communities shouldn’t be left behind. All these lofty initiatives will
cost a huge amount of money.
Finally, I call this the
incarceration cost which consists of monies to house, train, and feed,
supervise and provide medical care for inmates after those charged for
corruption have been successfully sentenced to jail. In as much as we want our
looted funds recovered, it would be a thing of joy to see them turn a new leaf
and live a life of integrity. It is of no benefit to Nigeria to see inmates die
in prison due to lack of proper care.
With the pace at which the
government is moving, I hope all these costs will be taken into consideration.
The war against is not insurmountable, we will surely win it.
God bless Nigeria.

focuses on accounting, audit, tax and business advisory. He trained with EY. He
holds a MBA in financial management. He is a member of Association of Certified
Chartered Accountant (ACCA), Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN)
and the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN