Nigeria: October 11, 2003


The latest worldwide survey of corruption again puts Nigeria near the bottom (but not at the bottom, a position now occupied by Bangladesh). The new, democratically elected government that was installed in 1999 promised to address the corruption issue. There have been attempts to do this, but there have been no results. The climate of theft and dishonesty still extends throughout society. Only within ones family or tribe is a measure of honesty expected. As a result, government does not really function, it only provides the spectacle of elected and appointed officials getting rich by looting the public treasury. The huge oil revenues disappear into a the pockets of government officials and don't reach the bulk of the citizens. Increasingly, violence is seen as the only way to enforce reform or, more often, to get a share of the loot. Such an atmosphere is common throughout Africa, and often leads to bloody, endless civil wars. As Africa's most populous nation, a civil war in Nigeria would be horrendous. But that's where the nation is headed.


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