The United States, yesterday, dismissed Nigeria’s war against corruption alleging “massive widespread and pervasive corruption affected all levels of government and the security forces”.
In its 2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, which was submitted to Congress by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, it said the law provides criminal penalties for official corruption; however, the government did not implement the law effectively, and officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity.
According to the report: “Public officials, including the president, vice president, governors, deputy governors, cabinet ministers, and legislators (at both federal and state levels), must comply with financial disclosure laws, including the requirement to declare their assets before assuming and after leaving office. Violators risked prosecution, but cases rarely came to conclusion.
“There was a widespread perception that judges were easily bribed and that litigants could not rely on the courts to render impartial judgments. Citizens encountered long delays and alleged requests from judicial officials for bribes to expedite cases or obtain favourable rulings.
“Police corruption remained rampant, particularly at highway checkpoints. Police routinely stopped drivers who did not commit traffic infractions, refusing to allow them to continue until they paid bribes. The Office of the Inspector General of Police attempted to strengthen the Police Monitoring Unit, which was charged with visiting police stations to search officers for signs of accepting bribes; however, the unit remained ineffective and made no arrests by year’s end. Citizens could report incidents of police corruption to the NHRC; however, the NHRC did not act on such complaints during the year, and no other mechanism existed to investigate security force abuse.
In August 2010 HRW released Everyone’s in on the Game, a report on corruption and human rights abuses by the police. HRW compiled information from 145 interviews and documented pervasive police extortion with impunity committed by police officers throughout the country. Police demanded bribes, threatened arrest and physical harm, and enforced a system of “returns” in which officers must pay up the chain of command a share of the money they extorted from the public. This system undermined the rule of law and created a large disincentive for superior officers to hold their subordinates accountable for extortion and other abuses.
“Civil society groups introduced a number of cases at the national and state level to test the FOIA during the year. For example, in September the SERAP brought a case against the Oyo State government after being denied access to information on state funding for primary education. The case continued at year’s end.