A Major Cause of Insecurity in Nigeria: Corruption

Cause of Insecurity in Nigeria: Corruption

Corruption and insecurity are two problems facing Nigeria despite efforts made by successive administrations to address them. The aim of this post is to examine the relationship between corruption and insecurity in Nigeria. Findings show that corruption is a major cause of insecurity in Nigeria. In Nigeria, corruption by public officials has caused alienation, deprivation, alienation, conflict, and insecurity in Nigeria. Furthermore, we make recommendations on how to reduce the incidence of corruption and insecurity in Nigeria.

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Corruption and Insecurity in Nigeria

The increasing incidence of the twin evils of corruption and insecurity in Nigeria pose great challenge to governance and have thus, become issues of public concern.

The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.”

Similarly, another section of the constitution provides that “the state shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power.”

In order to ensure adequate security of lives and properties, successive administrations in Nigeria have made various attempts towards reforming the security sector.

Some of these include exponential increase in national budgetary allocation, emergence of institutions such as Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), among others.

However, corruption still manifests in different sectors of governance in Nigeria. For instance, between 2005 and 2007 alone, state Governors and politicians, allegedly embezzled US$250 billion.

In the 2019 corruption perception index published by transparency international, Nigeria ranked 146 out of the 180 countries dropping two places. Of the 19 countries in the West African region, Nigeria was ranked the fourth most corrupt country.

On the other hand, the alarming rate of insecurity is equally disturbing despite the reforms undertaken and substantial share of budgetary allocations for national security.

Insecurity in Nigeria has been occasioned by incidences of organized crimes, armed robbery, kidnapping, election related violence, Boko Haram insurgency in northern Nigeria, including oil bunkering, and ritual killings.


Transparency International in 2003 defined corruption as the abuse or misuse of public office or power for private gain or benefit.

However, it is important to note that corruption is not only undertaken for personal or self gain, as it can also be undertaken for the benefit of a third party or both.

Corruption manifests itself in many ways. Some of the elements that constitute corruption include bribery, trading in influence, graft and patronage, nepotism and cronyism, electoral and vote fraud, embezzlement, kickbacks and involvement in organized crimes.

Some factors responsible for corruption in Nigeria’s public sector include poor public sector wages, inadequate media freedom, extra budgetary accounts, poor government monopoly and excess government regulation of the market, and lack of public accountability. Thus, corruption is high in Nigeria because the chances of being caught are low and the consequences when caught are often non-existent or minimal.

Thus, corruption thrives in Nigeria due to government monopoly, regulation of the economy,

The likelihood of being caught is slim due to weak institutions and even when caught the penalty is not severe to serve as a deterrent.


The concept of security has to do with the safety and survival of the state and its citizens from harm or destruction. Security denotes safety from threats, anxiety and danger; as well as the absence of fear that threat, anxiety or danger will occur.

The term security is multi-dimensional; social, economic, political and environmental.

At the level of an individual, security entails safety of the person, safety from domestic political persecution, and social unrest; as well as the freedom from violent crimes.

At the national level, security has to do with the safety from cross-border conflicts, government involvement in armed conflict and the extent of domestic armed conflict, as well as the number of internally displaced persons and political refugees.

The term ‘insecurity’ denotes prevalence of physical and or potential threat of fear, anxiety or danger which is detrimental to the safety and survival of individuals, groups and the state at large.

Insecurity could be economic, political, social, and environmental.

In Nigeria, insecurity comprises of the increasing occurrences of armed robbery, kidnapping, militancy, Boko Haram insurgence, electoral violence, communal clashes, ritual killings, etc.

Some of the causes of insecurity in Nigeria include the corruption, politicization of ethnicity, competition for scarce resources such as the extraction of oil in the Niger Delta and the resultant environmental degradation, proliferation of arms from war-turn countries, etc.

Link between Corruption and Insecurity in Nigeria

Corruption in Nigeria has created incentives for unregulated competition for resources and power.

It has undermined the capacity of Nigeria to mitigate normal social conflict and create avenues for redressing injustice as with the Boko Haram.

Indeed, corruption in Nigeria has intensified desperate conditions of socio-economic exclusion of majority of Nigerian people.

Corruption in the security sector particularly has diminished the capacity of the Nigerian state to maintain effective law and order across the country in the mist of violent crimes as the Nigeria police was rated the most corrupt public institution in the country.

Corruption results in deprivation in the form of unemployment, poverty disparities and poor service delivery. Corruption is an act of greed and its effects cause deprivation, alienation, inequalities and grievances leading to conflict and insecurity.

Conclusion and Recommendations

There exists a strong relationship between corruption and insecurity in Nigeria. That is to say, the high level of corruption in Nigeria is one of the factors responsible for the high level of insecurity in the country.

Corruption by public servant has brought about the grievances expressed by the citizens owing to deprivation and alienation.

The problems of corruption and insecurity in Nigeria can be blamed on government. In order to address these issues, there is need to address the root causes of corruption in Nigeria.

Moreover, there is the need for effective accountability frameworks, transparency in governance, adequate public sector wages and stiff penalties for corruption offences. There is the need for political will to enforce penalties deterrent enough to reduce incentives for corruption.

There is the need for the reform of the electoral system for more credible elections and responsible representation at the various levels of government. A more responsible legislature will ensure greater accountability.

There is the need to increase public sector wages.

These recommendations, if implemented, can improve the quality of governance, reduce incentives for corruption, and reduce deprivation, inequality, alienation and insecurity in Nigeria.


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