Nigeria’s Problem Is Not Corruption, When Will Babachir Lawal Be Punished /Oderinlo Lee James

A police stations in my community was nick named “Alagolo” in the nineties. The name was coined from the shameless practice of the police. They placed a can some metres away from their post into which would be offenders drop their bribes.

I don’t think there is any nation on earth where majority of its people are not corrupt.

According to Transparency International corruption is abuse of power for private gain. Corruption can be classified as grand, petty and political, depending on the amounts of money lost and the sector where it occurs.

Grand corruption consists of acts committed at a high level of government that distort policies or the central functioning of the state, enabling leaders to benefit at the expense of the public good.

Petty corruption refers to everyday abuse of entrusted power by low- and mid-level public officials in their interactions with ordinary citizens, who often are trying to access basic goods or services in places like hospitals, schools, police departments and other agencies.

Political corruption is a manipulation of policies, institutions and rules of procedure in the allocation of resources and financing by political decision makers, who abuse their position to sustain their power, status and wealth.

According to Merriam Webster dictionary corruption is dishonest or illegal behavior especially by powerful people (such as government officials or police officers). It can also be defined as inducement to wrong by improper or unlawful means (such as bribery).

From both definitions it is obvious that the incentive for corruption is power, which is simply possession of control, authority and influence over others. So anyone that has authority, influence or control can abuse it, it implies that a clergy or even parents can also be corrupt. Therefore, just like I asserted earlier almost all humans have the tendency towards corruption those that don’t only display restraint. Since it is not peculiar to any nation it cannot be the reason Nigeria as a nation is experiencing slow growth. In order to solve any problem the cause must be rightly diagnosed if not the solution is not in sight.

A relative started discovering boils all over her body after child birth, initial first aid treatments were administered but the situation got worse and the pain and shame continued for years. Several tests were administered but the cause remained undetected, until she came across a doctor that advised that higher grade tuberculosis test be carried out on her. The test result showed that she had been infected with tuberculosis all the while. With the correct diagnosis the right treatment was administered on her and those boils disappeared. I shared this story to explain how important it is to identify a problem in order to come up with the appropriate solution.

You may ask if our problem is not corruption, then what is our problem. If corruption didn’t stop China, USA or Russia from growing there is no reason it should slow down our growth. Some years ago I traveled from Nigeria to Togo through illegal routes for a burial ceremony. So I bribed to pass through borders on my way to a town in Togo, out of the two borders I traveled through the most porous is the one Nigeria shared with Benin Republic. I wouldn’t know if other routes existed but the border between Benin and Togo is secured, the only way you could have crossed without your international passport is to bribe. Though there is free passage across West Africa countries, for citizens of those countries to move around legitimately you need to present your passport at the borders, since I didn’t have I had to bribe to pass through. So, custom officers in Nigeria, Benin and Togo collect bribes. Something happened while I was in Togo I discovered that though their police officers likewise collect bribe it was done with pride. The taxi I boarded was stopped by a police officer without guns; all he needed to do was blow a whistle. The taxi stopped a few metres away; the driver alighted to meet with the officer I was informed he had to bribe the officer to gain his freedom such money exchanged hands secretly. I was flabbergasted how can a officer stop a vehicle by blowing just a whistle, ……


Nigeria’s Problem is Not Corruption, When Will Babachir Lawal be Punished

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