One of the major challenges of governance in Nigeria is corruption especially in the public service. In response to this challenge, the Federal Government established the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) to combat corruption and promote transparency and accountability. Over the years however, the fight against corruption seems not to have achieved the desired result. The general objective of the study was to assess the institutional mechanism for dealing with corruption in the Nigerian public service for the period 1999 – 2020. Specifically, the study; examine the level of effectiveness of the anti- corruption institutions in combating corruption in federal public service, identify the problems faced by the institutions and suggest ways to make them more effective. Data were sourced using both primary and secondary methods. These were presented and analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistical methods. The study revealed inter alia that; the activities of the institutions, especially the EFCC were severely constrained by undue political interference. Both the ICPC and CCB were not adequately funded and that they all lacked financial autonomy. The study also discovered that punishments for corruption offences were not severe enough to serve deterrence. The study concludes that an increase in the level of autonomy of the anti-corruption institutions and an increase in the level of enforcement of punishments for corruption offences will among other things improve the level of effectiveness of the anti-corruption institutions. The study recommended that the anti-corruption institutions need to be free from political interference and be adequatelyfunded including giving severe punishments for corruption offences


Cover Page

Title Page i

Declaration ii

Approval Page iii

Dedication iv

Acknowledgements v

Abstract vi

Table of Contents vii


Background to the Study1

Statement of the Problem4

Research Questions5

Objectives of the Study6

Significance of the Study6

Scope and Limitations of the Study7

Definition of Concepts8


Corruption Reporting System8



Institutional Autonomy9

Anti-Corruption Institution9

Public Service9






Literature Review10

The Concept and Types of Corruption10

The Perceived Causes of Corruption in the Federal Public Service14

Strategies for combating corruption in the Federal Public Service17

Concept of Whistle-Blowing Policy20

Concept of Plea Bargaining22

Reporting Corruption23

Enforcement of Punishments for Corruption Offences24

Theoretical Framework26



Research Design28

Population and Sample Size for the Study29

Sampling Technique30

Sources of Data30

Method of Data Collection31

Method of Data Analysis31



Response of Questionnaire32

Data Presentation and Analysis33

Major Findings47



5.1 Summary of findings 50

5.2 Conclusions 52

5.3 Recommendations 53

Bibliography 57

Appendices 64


Background to the Study

One of the major challenges to governance particularly in the twilight of the twentieth and dawn of the twenty-first centuries is corruption. The dimension of the vice has over the years attracted attention of globally. This has placed the fight against corruption as a priority on most governments’ reform agenda. The significance of corruption as a factor that adversely affects the quality of governance has been universally recognised (Vitta, 2000). It is for this reason that the focus and tenor of the fight against corruption has attracted renewed vigor and come under fresh scrutiny as part of a broader good governance agenda. This is partly due to the rise in the incidence of corruption with impunity and mounting evidence of its multi-dimensional impact (African Development Bank (AfDB) 2006).

As a global malaise corruption which has been known to spare no country in the world. Its alarming pervasiveness in Nigeria has been militating against the country’s quest for accelerated socio-economic and political development, thus becoming a matter of public concern. Corruption has also been contributing towards the degrading of socio-economic and political bases of the country. Moreover, corruption is undermining our nascent democracy and legitimacy of government by subverting formal processes of governance. This has reduced peoples trust in their institutions and leaders. Similarly, corruption in elections and in electoral bodies has reduced accountability and representation in policy making. In public administration, it has resulted to ineffective service delivery (African Diaspora Initiative, 2007).

Corruption is manifested in different sections of the Public Service. These include inter-alia electoral malpractices, poor service delivery, contract inflations, bribery scandals, money laundering, ghost workers syndrome, and outright looting of the public treasury. For instance, while the country has been in darkness due to epileptic electric power supply over the years, political office holders in connivance with career civil servants were alleged to have diverted the sum of N5.2 billion meant for Rural Electrification Agency in a Contract Scam (Tell Magazine, June and July, 2009).

The Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy, section 15(5) of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended provides that, “the state shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power.” Prior to the Fourth Republic, successive administration in Nigeria established either permanent or ad hoc institutional mechanisms for fighting corruption. These include inter-alia; the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Decree of 1966 which was succeeded by the Corrupt Practices Decree of 1975; the establishment of the Code of Conduct Bureau in the Second Republic, the War Against Indiscipline (WAI) of 1983, and the War Against Indiscipline and Corruption (Bello – Imam, 2005).

The Federal Public Service also has self-regulating provisions for checking corruption. These include; the Civil Service Rules and Financial Regulations. Others are the Civil Service Hierarchy, the Legislature; the Judiciary; the Public Complaints Commission, the Auditor- Generals Report and the Public Accounts Committee Report among others (Adamolekun, 2006). However, since corruption in the Federal Public Service has become systemic and endemic, these conventional mechanisms have proven to be ineffective in fighting corruption.

After the return to democratic governance in 1999 and the persistent quest by people to fighting corruption in the Federal Public Service, the government in response established some institutions and mechanisms such as the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) established in 2000 and 2002 respectively. Others were the Public Procurement Act 2007, the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, and the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative Act 2007. This is in addition to earlier existing institutions such as the Code of Conduct Bureau and its Tribunal.

The ICPC was established vide the ICPC Act of 13 June, 2000 with the major objective of prohibiting and prescribing punishments for corrupt practices and other related offences. Specifically, the agency is to banish impunity for corrupt practices and other related offences through system study, education, public enlightenment and mobilisation. The EFCC was established in 2002 by an Act of National Assembly and Amended in 2004 vide the EFCC Act, 2004. The agency was established with the objective of sanitising the national economic environment by enforcing all economic and financial crime laws.

The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) was established through Decree No. 1 of 1989 and entrench and in section 153 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as one of the Federal Executive Agencies. The CCB was established to establish and maintain a high standard of morality in the conduct of government business and to ensure that the actions and behaviors of public officers conform with the highest standard of public morality and accountability.

Statement of the Problem

Historically, most regime changes especially by the military were ostensibly necessitated by the need to combat corruption. Despite these regime changes, not much success has ever been recorded at fighting corruption in the country (Njoku, 2007). The return to democratic governance in the country in 1999 more than ever before aroused the citizen’s quest to combating corruption and instituting accountability and transparency in governance. Consequently, the ICPC and EFCC were established among other institutions through enabling laws. This is in addition to already existing institutions such as the (CCB) and its Tribunal. In spite of all these, Ali (2007) reiterating the view of Mier (2000) observes that, corruption still remains the fastest way of getting anything done in Nigeria.

The anti-corruption institutions established appeared to be suffering from political intervention and inadequate autonomy. This is clear, with the unceremonious removal of most of the former Chairmen of the EFCC, namely; Nuhu Ribadu, Farida Waziri and very recently, Ibrahim Magu. Laws establishing the anticorruption institutions could not be upheld due to institutional weaknesses (Aduda, 2007). Furthermore, corrupt public officials seemed to be immune from the activities of the anti-corruption institutions as long as the presidents wished while perceived non- loyalist are hunted such as in the case of the former Delta State Governor, James Ibori (Shettima, 2010).

There seemed to be excessive secrecy in the business of government. Little is known about public servants and the business of governance. There seemed to be asymmetrical information and a lack of transparency leading to sub-optimal performance by anti-corruption institutions due to weak corruption reporting systems (FRN; 2003; Aduda, 2007). Most public servants tend to be unwilling to declare their assets and prefer to run the affairs of the public in secrecy.

This has brought the effectiveness of the institutional mechanisms of anti-corruption to question. Because, it has clearly shown that the provisions of the laws establishing them cannot be enforced. For instance, according to Ribadu as enunciated by Buhari in Zero Tolerance (2007), thirty-one out of the thirty-six former state chief executives between 1999 – 2007 were alleged to be corrupt. However, only the former Bayelsa State Governor (DSP Alamieyesiegha) was convicted on 26 July, 2006 but freed in 2008. Corruption charges against high profile persons drag on for years. The Chairmen of the EFCC and the ICPC have become disgusted with the way the judiciary handles corruption cases that they have called for special anti-corruption courts to be set up (Akinyemi, 2010). Nigerians do not believe that enough sanctions exist to deter people from corruption (FRN; 2003). In an empirical study, Aduda (2007) observes that majority (83%) of the respondents perceived the level of corruption in the public sector to be very high.

Transparency International’s (TIs) Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for Nigeria staggers between the lowest of 1.0 in 2001 to the highest of 2.7 in 2008 only to slip back to 2.5 in 2009 only for it to go higher in 2012 to 27 and 2015 it dropped to 26.

Research Questions

The questions arising from the research problem in 1.2 above were;

(i) How effective are the anti-corruption institutions for combating corruption in the Federal Public Service?

(ii) What are the problems associated with the effective functioning of these mechanisms?

(iii) What can be done to make the Anti-corruption institutions more effective in the federal public service in Nigeria?

Objectives of the Study

The major objective of this study is to assess the effectiveness or otherwise of the institutional mechanisms for dealing with corruption in the Nigeria Public Service between 1999 to 2020, the specific objectives of the study are to:

(i) Examine the level of effectiveness of the anti-corruption institutions in combating corruption in Federal public service.

(ii) Identify the problems facing the anti-corruption institutions in fighting corruption in the Federal Public Service; and

(iii) Suggests ways to make the anti-corruptions institutions more effective in the Federal Public Service.

Significance of the Study

This study has both theoretical and empirical significance.

Theoretically, the literature is largely recent. The data generated will certainly provide useful information to researchers. The findings of the study will likely challenge earlier researches and thus, provoke further research on how to make the anti-corruption institutions more effective.

To the staff of these anti-corruption institutions and other administrators, the findings of this study will provide them with more insight on the challenges of these institutions with a view to readjusting their skills and methods of operation.

Empirically, policy makers will gain from the study as it will enable them identify present policy lapses and loop holes in the existing mechanisms with a view to fine-tuning them.

Finally, though not exhaustively, the citizenry who are often the victims of corrupt practices in the public service and who are most desirous of fighting against the vice to ensure transparency and accountability entrenched in the Federal Public Service will equally find this study interesting. This is because it will provide them with more information and enlightenment about the workings of the anti-corruption institutions. It will also place them in a better position of contribution because, the fight against corruption is a fight for all. Stakeholders can thus access the study on internet, libraries and possibly have copies from the researcher as he is likely to relate and create a rapport with some staff of the institutions in the course of the study.

Scope and Limitations of the Study

Corruption occurs in both private and public sectors. However, this study covers corruption in the Public Service only. This does not mean that there less corruption incidence in the private sector. The choice of corruption in the Public Sector can be justified on the ground of being of greater concern to the general public. After all, a government which cannot influence the activities of its officials is unlikely to be able to reduce private sector incidence of corruption (Huther and Shah 2000). The study is also limited to the Federal Public Service in Nigeria bearing in mind that corruption also takes place in the state and local government services. The choice of Federal Public Service can be justified on the ground of its pervading nature and in order to give the study more focus and depth.

Although, there are many anti-corruption institutions in the Federal Public Service, this study focuses on the operation of the CCB, the ICPC, and the EFCC. This is aimed at making the study more focused. The study is also limited to the effectiveness of the anti-corruption institutions in the Federal Public Service bearing in mind that their mandate extends to the state and local government services.

The time frame for this study is for the period 1999 – 2020. The choice of this period can be justified on the basis of being a period of return to a sustained democratic rule in Nigeria. Principles of transparency and accountability are enshrined in democratic governance than is required of military regimes. Moreover, almost all the institutional mechanisms in this study were established between 1999 – 2020. This is because, the anti-corruption institutions ought to have proved their effectiveness or otherwise within this period. This study no doubt is bound to have some limitations. For instance, the primary data collected has as its target population the staff of CCB, EFCC and ICPC.

Definition of Concepts


Although, corruption is a very common term, it is any act or omission perpetrated contrary to existing rules or procedures with the intention to defraud.

Corruption Reporting System

It refers to the ability of the people to understand what constitute corruption and have knowledge of the channel through which at can be brought to the attention of the institution charged with the responsibility of dealing with such matters.


It refers to the extent a measure or measures put in place to achieve certain objective or purpose lives up to expectation. With regards to dealing with corruption, the effectiveness of anti- corruption institute depends on its ability to deal with corruption cases brought before up to the level of successful trial and conviction. To some extent the ability of the institution to serve as a deterrence is a measure of effectiveness.


It refers to the steps or action taken to ensure the implementation of punishment in execution of law.

Institutional Autonomy

It is the freedom of an organization to pursue its objectives and function without outside interference.

Anti-Corruption Institutions

This are establishment created by government, to investigate or adjudicate on matter of corruption or investigate public and private affair e.g. EFCC, ICPC and CCB.

Public Service

It refers to all the administrative institutions including personnel that perform government activities. They are involved in day to day formulation of polices and strategies of governmental and execution toward achieving the desired goals.


It can be defined as importance of hardship or some sort of restraint link to violation laws or regulations. In dealing with corruption cases punishment is expected to be commensurate with the nature of offence. It could be jail term, payment or both.


It refers to people having unfettered access to information on most of the activities of the government. The access should include but not limited to government finances, procurement, issues of electoral process and empowerment opportunities. There measure of transparence when people can report corruption cases to anti-corruption institutions with fear of molestation or any form of hindrance.




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