Domestic and foreign observers identify corruption as a serious obstacle to economic growth and poverty reduction. Nigeria ranked 154 out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perception Index.
Businesses report that bribery of customs and port officials remains common and often necessary to avoid extended delays in the port clearance process, and that smuggled goods routinely enter Nigeria’s seaports and cross its land borders.
Since taking office in 2015, President Buhari has focused on implementing a campaign pledge to address corruption, though his critics contend his anti-corruption efforts often target political rivals.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Establishment Act of 2004 established the EFCC to prosecute individuals involved in financial crimes and other acts of economic “sabotage.” Traditionally, the EFCC has achieved the most success in prosecuting low-level internet scam operators. A relatively few high-profile convictions have taken place, such as a former governor of Adamawa State, a former governor of Bayelsa State, a former Inspector General of Police, and a former Chair of the Board of the Nigerian Ports Authority. The EFCC also arrested a former National Security Advisor (NSA), a former Minister of State for Finance, a former NSA Director of Finance and Administration, and others on charges related to diversion of funds intended for government arms procurement. EFCC investigations have led to 5,562 convictions since 2010, with 2,200 in 2021. In 2020 the EFCC announced that the Buhari administration convicted 1,692 defendants and recovered over $2.6 billion in assets over the previous four-year period. In 2021, EFCC’s investigation of a former petroleum minister resulted in seizure of properties valued more than $80M.
The Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act of 2001 established an Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to prosecute individuals, government officials, and businesses for corruption. The Corrupt Practices Act punishes over 19 offenses, including accepting or giving bribes, fraudulent acquisition of property, and concealment of fraud. Nigerian law stipulates that giving and receiving bribes constitute criminal offences and, as such, are not tax deductible. Between 2019-2020 the ICPC filed 178 cases in court and secured convictions in 51 cases. The ICPC announced in early 2022 that it had recovered cash and assets valued at 166.51 billion naira (about $400 million at the official exchange rate) from corrupt persons in the preceding two and half years.
In 2021, the Deputy Commissioner of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) and Chief of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Abba Kyari, often publicly referred to as “Nigeria’s Supercop,” was suspended from the NPF and arrested for drug dealing, evidence tampering, and corruption for reportedly accepting bribes from a Nigerian internet fraudster Ramon Abbas, popularly known as “Hushpuppi,” who pleaded guilty to money laundering in the United States. The Nigeria Police Service Commission finalized the suspension of Kyari on July 31, following the release of unsealed court documents filed in a U.S. District Court ordering the arrest of Kyari for his involvement in a $1.1 million fraud scheme with Abbas. Kyari is alleged to have solicited payment for the detainment and arrest of Abbas at Abbas’s behest.
In 2016, Nigeria announced its participation in the Open Government Partnership, a significant step forward on public financial management and fiscal transparency. The Ministry of Justice presented Nigeria’s National Action Plan for the Open Government Partnership.
Implementation of its 14 commitments has made some progress, particularly on the issues such as tax transparency, ease of doing business, and asset recovery. The National Action Plan, which ran through 2019, covered five major themes: ensuring citizens’ participation in the budget cycle, implementing open contracting and adoption of open contracting data standards, increasing transparency in the extractive sectors, adopting common reporting standards like the Addis Tax initiative, and improving the ease of doing business. Full implementation of the National Action Plan would be a significant step forward for Nigeria’s fiscal transparency, although Nigeria has not fully completed any commitment to date.
The Buhari administration created a network of agencies intended to work together to achieve anticorruption goals – the EFCC, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) – and which are principally responsible for the recovery of the ill-gotten assets and diverted tax liabilities. The government launched the Financial Transparency Policy and Portal, commonly referred to as Open Treasury Portal, in 2019, to increase transparency and governmental accountability of funds transferred by making the daily treasury statement public. The Open Treasury Portal mandates that all ministries, departments, and agencies publish daily reports of payments in excess of N5m ($13,800). Agencies are also required to publish budget performance reports and other official financial statements monthly. Anticorruption activists demand more reforms and increased transparency in defense, oil and gas, and infrastructure procurement.
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Act of 2007 provided for the establishment of the NEITI organization, charged with developing a framework for transparency and accountability in the reporting and disclosure by all extractive industry companies of revenue due to or paid to the Nigerian government. NEITI serves as a member of the international Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which provides a global standard for revenue transparency for extractive industries like oil and gas and mining. Nigeria is party to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. Nigeria is not a member of the OECD and not party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery.
Foreign companies, whether incorporated in Nigeria or not, may bid on government projects and generally receive national treatment in government procurement, but may also be subject to a local content vehicle (e.g., partnership with a local partner firm or the inclusion of one in a consortium) or other prerequisites which are likely to vary from tender to tender. Corruption and lack of transparency in tender processes have been a far greater concern to U.S. companies than discriminatory policies based on foreign status. Government tenders are published in local newspapers, a “tenders” journal sold at local newspaper outlets, and occasionally in foreign journals and magazines. The Nigerian government has made modest progress on its pledge to conduct open and competitive bidding processes for government procurement with the introduction of the Nigeria Open Contracting Portal in 2017 under the Bureau of Public Procurement.
The Public Procurement Law of 2007 established the Bureau of Public Procurement as the successor agency to the Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit. It acts as a clearinghouse for government contracts and procurement and monitors the implementation of projects to ensure compliance with contract terms and budgetary restrictions. Procurements above 100 million naira (approximately $243,000) reportedly undergo full “due process,” but government agencies routinely flout public procurement requirements. Some of the 36 states of the federation have also passed public procurement legislation.
Certain such reforms have also improved transparency in procurement by the state-owned NNPC. Although U.S. companies have won contracts in numerous sectors, difficulties in receiving payment are not uncommon and can deter firms from bidding. Supplier or foreign government subsidized financing arrangements appear in some cases to be a crucial factor in the award of government procurements. Nigeria is not a signatory to the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement.
Resources to Report Corruption
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission:
Headquarters: No. 5, Fomella Street, Off Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja, Nigeria. Branch offices in Ikoyi, Lagos State; Port Harcourt, Rivers State; Independence Layout, Enugu State; Kano, Kano State; Gombe, Gombe State.
Hotline: +234 9 9044752 or +234 9 9044753
Eagle Eye App (Google Play and the App Store)
Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission:
Abuja Office – Headquarters
Plot 802 Constitution Avenue, Central District, PMB 535, Garki Abuja
0800-CALL-ICPC i.e 0800-2255-4272
MTN: 0803-123-0280, 0803-123-0281
GLO: 0705-699-0190, 0705-699-0191
Phone/Fax: 234 9 523 8810 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wahala Dey App (Google Play and the App Store)