Tag Archives: bribes

Which came first – the corrupt citizen or the corrupt government?


The past few governments have truly had their work cut out for them, after all, swindling the country’s money is hard-work and time-consuming. So much so that they haven’t had the time to pay attention to industries other than oil, or run a general election without it becoming an absolute joke.

With the elections that were meant to take place last Saturday being postponed for a whole week, the world has been reminded of what a corrupt country Nigeria is.  Not only does the whole registration/election process highlight severe corruption, it also highlights the disorganisation that Nigeria seems cursed with in all political and social affairs.

It’s easy to blame the people sitting in power. Of course they are certainly the ones making immoral and moronic decisions that impact negatively on the people they are meant to serve. The government should be responsible for infrastructure, education, nourishing and protecting home industries and making sure international trade is as beneficial as can be.

But Goodluck Jonathan, Namadi Sambo, and those under and around them did not arrive on a spaceship from planet Corruption. They are, after all, former ordinary citizens.

I came across a Nigerian forum awhile ago in which the issue of tax was being debated. One poster claimed that it was probably for the best that Nigeria wasn’t fully developed because perks of evading tax made life, for him, a lot more comfortable. He went on to tell an anecdote about how his brother was taken to court in the United Kingdom over refusing to pay a TV licensing fee, and described how systems such as these were “a nuisance”. I remember watching a news programme years ago asking young Nigerians what they would do if they were in power. One boy, aged around 10yrs, said “chop [steal] money.”

Heritage.org had this to say about Nigeria’s corruption rankings (notice the word I have highlighted in bold):

“Corruption is perceived as pervasive. Nigeria ranks 130th out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2009, a drop from 2008. Corruption is endemic at all levels of government and society, and the president, vice president, governors, and deputy governors are constitutionally immune from civil and criminal prosecution. Domestic and foreign observers” recognize corruption as a serious obstacle to economic growth and poverty reduction.

In Nigeria, it’s normal to play ‘the game’. From bribing airport staff when one enters the country to paying 20N to policemen at so-called ‘checkpoints’ dotted along the main roads to allow you to get on with your journey.

Travelling to my father’s house in Ibadan from abroad we were stopped by policemen, armed with guns, who demanded a search of our car. In the glove compartment was a sum of money given to my father, by friends, to pass on to their relatives. Of course the policemen demanded a large portion of that money. Money that had entered the country legally and money that was not theirs to take. After much pleading, they finally accepted a smaller proportion of the money and went on their way.

Corruption, like any virus, has spread throughout all sectors of society. From politics, to education, from the top to the bottom. No one seems to be immune. But Nigeria is going to need some sort of cure – some sort of revolutionary change in mindset to change the status-quo. It’s easy to blame ‘them’ but what ‘you’?

WikiLeaks: Nigerian Oil: Bribes and piracy part 1


Selected Extracts from the WikiLeaks site on oil concerns,piracy, bribery and worries about Yar’Adua’s declining health:

(S/NF) SUMMARY: Shell's regional executive vice president for
Africa Ann Pickard and government relations representative Peter 
Francis met with the Ambassador on January 27 in Abuja and provided
an update on problems in the oil and gas sector. Pickard said that
things were going from bad to worse, especially the security
situation. She said that Nigeria now had one of the highest negative
ratings for maritime operations, creating problems for Shell in
hiring oil tankers to load, as tanker operators will work only under
highly selective conditions. Last year there were about 80 piracy
attacks on land and water combined. This year already 15 have been
tallied, which includes 3 for Shell and 3 for Exxon. On corruption,
Pickard said that Nigerian entities control the lifting of many oil
cargoes and there are some "very interesting" people lifting oil.
Oil buyers would pay NNPC GMD Yar'Adua, Chief Economic Advisor Yakubu 
and the First Lady Turai Yar'Adualarge bribes to lift oil. Pickard
also reported an instance of the Attorney General Aondoakaa allegedly
soliciting a $20 million bribe to sign a document. The International
Oil Companies (IOC) are quite concerned about the "very flawed" new
petroleum sector energy bill. The IOCs will be asking U.S., Dutch,
and U.K. COMs to convey points on the bill to GON policymakers.
Pickard agreed that the President's health is a guessing game. She
said that in her recent meetings with Yar'Auda he seems alert, though
very drawn in the face, thin, and frail. Her information is that the
President was not in danger of dying soon, but also was unlikely to
ever fully recover from his ailments. (Note: see septel on oil/energy
sector issues for the Ambassador's meeting with the new Minister of
Petroleum Resources. End Note). END SUMMARY.
- - - - - - - - -
FROM BAD TO WORSE
- - - - - - - - - 

3. (C) The Ambassador took the opportunity to share with Pickard that
the Mission was in the midst of completing its Strategic Plan and
asked Pickard where she thought Nigeria was headed. Pickard said that
things were going from bad to worse, especially in terms of security.
She said that Nigeria now had the highest negative rating for
maritime security, creating problems for Shell in hiring oil tankers
to load; tankers will work only under highly selective conditions.
She also noted that late on the evening of Saturday January 17,
Nigerian militants attacked and boarded two vessels at a Shell crude
oil loading platform in Bonny and took eight crew members hostage.
Standard procedure on the tanker was followed: the ship went into
immediate lock down; there were no injuries or fatalities from the
boarding. The eight Nigerian crew members who were taken hostage were
later released. The pirates who went through the sections of the
boat to which they were able to gain access, smashing and stealing
computers, electronics, and personal items of the crew members. The
second vessel was a tug boat towing a supply vessel from Bonny to
Calabar. Last year there were about 80 incidents of piracy; this
year already 15 had been tallied, which includes 3 for Shell and 3
for Exxon. GON officials have told Shell to "hire more security."
The price of doing business in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria
continues to climb she concluded. [Note: The International Maritime
Bureau (IMB), a division of the International Chamber of Commerce -
www icc-ccs org - reports that the waters off the Gulf of Guinea
(Nigeria) remain the second worst, with 40 incidents in 2008 to the
Horn of Africa (Somalia) with 42 recorded incidents. The IMB notes
that in 2009 the Horn of Africa will be more intense as Spring comes
due to the large number of foreign warships in the region on active
patrol to ensure the safety and security of vessels. The same
increased security is not expected for Nigeria in 2009. End Note]

(to be continued)