Impact of Corruption on Nigerian Economy

Corruption and the Nigerian Economy

Obviously, corruption is responsible for under-development in Nigeria. In this article, we take a look at the impact of corruption on Nigeria’s economy.


Corruption can be defined as a dishonest or illegal behavior by an official or people in position of power especially when they accept money in exchange for doing things for someone.

However, it is important to note that corruption is neither limited to people in authority nor is it just bribery.

A housewife who cheats on her husband or a husband who as well cheats on his wife is corrupt. Similarly, a person who gives the people in authority or positions something to get what does not belong to him or to access secret information is corrupt.

A more direct and concise definition of corruption describes corruption as the pervasion or abandonment of a standard. This means that to measure corruption, there must be an approved standard. One will be said to be corrupt when he begins to act in contradiction to the standard.

The Scope of Corruption in Nigeria

Indeed, corruption in Nigeria has reached an alarming stage. The entire nation seems to thrive on corruption.

The scope of corruption has no bound in Nigeria because it is found among government administrators including heads of states, senators and speakers of House of Representatives and state house of assembly and their members. The local government chairman and councilors are not exempted. It is also found among the bourgeois and the proletariats.

The BBC has this to say about Nigerian leaders and corruption. “All leaders in Nigeria have pledge to eliminate such practices (corruption) only for several of them later to be accused of theft on a spectacular scale”.

This statement was made by BBC in 1999 when chief Obasanjo assumed the mantle of leadership of Nigeria.

At the low level scope of corruption, there are various reports about policemen on duty extorting money from motorists. The refusal of such demand of 50 naira, from bus drivers has resulted in the killing of either driver or conductor of the bus. University authorities are accused of taking bribes before giving admission to students, lecturers are accused of demanding money and other cash and kind gift to award marks. Students on the other hand are accused of engaging in examination malpractices as well as inducing lecturers with different items. Fuel dealers are accused of adjusting their meters to cheat unsuspecting customers.

Some other government workers have been accused of cheating the government and not justifying their salaries by coming to work late and leaving from office earlier. Medicine patent dealers are accused of dealing on fake drugs. Religious men are accused of using their members for rituals. In fact the scope of corruption in Nigeria has touched every circle of life. Although there is no nation that is exempted from corruption what is worrisome in the case of Nigeria is that owing to its persistence and pervasiveness, indicators point to the fact that everyone in Nigeria is corrupt in varying degrees, and that corruption in Nigeria has become a way of life.

Unfortunately, Nigeria is yet to have a patriotic leadership who is accountable to the people and who genuinely detest corruption. As a result, corruption continues to eat deep into our fabric.

Effects of Corruption to Nigeria Economy

The effect of corruption on Nigeria’s economy is so enormous. These areas include infrastructural decay, hunger, poor medical facilities, fall in academic standard, and increase in unemployment.

1. Infrastructural Decay:

Undoubtedly, the availability of basic infrastructures is one of the factors that must be considered before an industry is sited. Therefore, the poor state of infrastructures such as electricity, roads, etc discourages investment whether by local or foreign investors.

This is the aspect that corruption in Nigeria has touched painfully. Railway transport thrived in Nigeria during the colonial era and collapsed as soon as Nigeria got independence. Road transport effectively replaced railway transport but it is greatly suffering because of poor road network in Nigeria. No vehicle no matter how new and how strong can travel from Onitsha to Jos for one year without developing serious problems which can siphon all the profit made within the period. The effect of this poor road network is tremendous.

Road: There is no doubt that the absence of road and other rural network thwarts and impedes economic growth in which the poor paid the highest price. When there are adequate communications network; roads, storage facilities and electricity, farmers can obtain what they need to grow the most profitable cost, store them, move them to the market and receive the best price for them. In other words, road transport is the heart of a formidable socioeconomic development in a nation.

Despite the huge sum of money that have been sunk in road project in Nigeria, these roads are still unbuilt and the ones built are plagued by a number of problems ranging from faulty design, inadequate drainage system, pot holes, fallen bridges and poor maintenance culture.

Electricity: This is another area of neglect due to corruption. Electricity supply has remained unreliable as power outages and rationing has become very frequent. Power supply has been so unreliable that many cottage industries had folded up while some and high income households have resorted to purchasing private generating plants at prohibitive costs. The use of generating plants by individuals and companies equally have some adverse effect. They bring about pollution, noise and emission of greenhouse gases which contribute to global warming. As a result of high cost of generators, many industries could not produce with it. The result was that some of the industries closed down while some had to retrench workers. The effect was that unemployment continued to grow.

When chief Obasanjo came to power in 1999, he laid emphasis on energy and power and promised to increase the capacity of power generation to 10,000 MW by the end of 2007. Based on this projection, he injected N10 billion in national integrated power project (NIPP). However, Nigerians did not feel the impact of this injection. This is because the usual load shading and rationing of electricity continued.

2. Decline in Standard of Education

Education:  sector is not spared in the effect of corruption. The standard of education in Nigeria has consistently continued to fall due to poor infrastructures both human and material infrastructures. This is because our schools; primary, secondary and tertiary institutions lack adequate man power to function with.

The way forward

To address the corruption problem in Nigeria, there is the need to rebrand leadership and governance in the country. There is the need for a leadership that is committed to development of the nation. Furthermore, there is the need for government to solidify the authority of the anti-graft agencies such as EFCC and ICPC by giving them complete autonomy. This will give them the impetus to fight corruption without fear or intimidation.


In this article, we examined the impact of corruption on Nigeria’s economy. Corruption is bad and serves as an obstruction to the wheel of progress and development. It has crippled various sectors of Nigeria economy. Therefore there is need to work towards combating corruption.


Research Cyber Team hopes this article was helpful. For your research project (both under-graduate and post-graduate), term-paper, report, or article; kindly call Thompson – 0703 022 8325. Regards!

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