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1.1 Background of the Study

Corruption is a social menace that has eaten deep into the fabric of the Ebonyian polity. Generally, the global perception about corruption and graft in Ebonyi State and Nigeria is that of pervasive phenomenon. It has been acknowledged that corruption and its practices are both endemic and systemic in both public and private sectors of Ebonyian economy. The debilitating effects of corruption on the state are enormous. It affects the routine processes of governance both in public and private sectors, and it pollutes the business environment generally.

It also undermines the integrity of government and public institutions. In the words of Obasanjo (2009), corruption has been responsible for the political instability of successive government since the First Republic. Every coup since then has been in the name of stamping out the disease called corruption. Unfortunately, the cure turned out to be worse than the disease. And Nigeria has been worse for it. Nigeria’s external image took a serious bashing, a sour beloved country began to fixture on every corruption index.

This statement shows the commonality of corruption in Nigeria which has permeated all the sectors of the economy, or aspect of the society For instance, beyond the mere enjoyment of public funds, the amassing of wealth by illegal means does not seem to trouble Nigerians. Today, Nigerians applaud and tolerate ill-gotten wealth which in reality is money stolen from public coffers. This is a pointer to the fact that corruption is endemic in Nigeria. It has permeated every facets of the society; the family, the church and even the traditional systems are not left out of this contagious disease.

Corruption therefore, affects the developmental efforts of successive government in Ebonyi State. This has been responsible for the non completion of projects and programmes that would have help in alleviating the sufferings of Ebonyians. Corruption has been adjudged to be responsible for Ebonyi’s underdevelopment.

According to Adamu (2007), corruption exists in one form or the order in all societies. The major difference in the case of Nigeria and Ebonyi State is the extent of its pervasiveness and its implication for good governance, its value system and political culture in particular. To Adamu (2007), an average Nigerians has accepted corruption as inevitable and uncontrollable, believing that the society as a whole is corrupt and beyond remedy. Additionally, Nigerians believed that nothing meaningful will ever get done to correct or punish those perpetuating these crimes.

At the inception of the Fourth democratic era in 1999, corruption had reached such an alarming rate and had eaten deep into every facet of Nigerian society. It has indeed become an integral part of the administrative, political, socio-economic and cultural system as well as a way of life of the citizenry. The situation in the Nigeria Public Service was succinctly described thus: Government officials had become progressively indifferent to propriety of conduct and showed little commitment to promoting the general welfare of the people and the public goods. Government and all its agencies had become thoroughly corrupt and reckless. Members of the public have had to bribe their way through in ministries and parastatals to get attention and government had to bribe another government agency to obtain the release of their statutory allocation of funds (Obasanjo, 1999).

Despite the structures (reforms) put in place to combat the malaise or at least reduce it to its barest minimum, corruption stills continues to be endemic, particularly in the Nigerian Public Service with its attendant implications for effective service delivery and welfare of the people. The effect of this is that majority of Nigerians are yet to enjoy the dividends of democracy and good governance.

The Nigerian public service is discovered to be corrupt, in fact, it is no longer news, that corruption has become part of the service culture. The system has become so corrupt that it brought about non-challancy and lackadaisical attitude, recalcitrance and profligacy in the diversion of public funds meant for government work. Those funds often end up in private purses and foreign bank accounts. All these are characterized as corruption going in the Nigeria public service.

In Nigeria, it is one of the many unresolved problems  that have critically hobbled and skewed development (Ayobolu, 2006). It remains a long-term major political and economic challenge for Nigeria (Sachs, 2007). It is a canker worm that has eaten deep in the fabric of the nation. It ranges from petty corruption to political/bureaucratic corruption or Systemic corruption (International Center for Economic Growth, 1999). World Bank studies put corruption at over $1 trillion per year accounting for up to 12% of the Gross Domestic Product of nations like Nigeria, Kenya and Venezuela (Nwabuzor, 2005).

Corruption is endemic as well as an enemy (Agbu, 2003). It is a canker worm that has eaten deep in the fabric of the country and has caused stunted growth in all sectors (Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), 2005). It has been the primary reason behind the country’s difficulties in developing fast (Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), 2006). This is evident because Transparency International has consistently rated Nigeria as one of the top three most corrupt countries in the world (Ribadu, 2003).

This issue of corruption if neglected, would lead to dangerous consequences. This is why this study has chosen to find out the effect of corruption in the Nigeria public service using Ebonyi States civil service as a study.


1.2 Statement of Problem

Corruption is a great enemy of development. According to Sen 1999, development can be understood as “a process of expanding the real freedoms that people enjoy”. Nevertheless, corruption does not allow these freedoms to flourish. “Corruption in one way or the other infringes upon the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals; it adversely affects all categories of rights”.

Generally, it is a well-known fact that corruption, which is prevalent in the Nigerian civil service administration, and affects the service effectiveness and efficiency of performance.

In fact, all activities in the civil service appear to have been impeded by this cankerworm. Corruption appears to be found in all human endeavors including individual families, other non-government and governmental organizations, but for the civil service, could be detrimental to the effectiveness of the services because of the role it plays in the government and entire society.

The general performance of the civil servants in their various offices seem to  be radically contaminated and as such has prevented majority of the services and in turn could tarnish the image of the country Nigeria both internationally and globally in her relation with other countries of the world.

The civil service which can  best be described as the life were of the nation, experienced several reforms over the years (Okutu, 2015). “In fact, it has required image of a sick –baby of the various government and the nation at large, its maladies internal range from gross effective and effectiveness to bribery and corruption” (Okutu, 2015). Unfortunately, these manifest itself in the civil servants, government top officers, police offices, teachers in various institutions in Ebonyi State.

In Ebonyi State civil service, corruption takes the shape of embezzlement of public funds, fraudulent activities by some political leaders (Okutu, 2015), nepotism and favouritism, indiscipline, recruitment of inexperienced officers and promotions and transfers of officers based on unmerit.

Other corrupt activities include setting of government offices ablaze to cover up crimes committed on records, collecting bribe to render services which are meant to be free of charge as well as under declaration of age and tampering with employment files (records) so as not to retire when due.

All these are being done in the public /civil service in guest for power and wealth as well as greed and selfishness among the leaders and civil servants and as such the civil service finds it difficult to carry out its task effectively. In any case, this research work is concerned with how high level corruption in civil service could contribute to poor performance, inefficiency and ineffectiveness of the service.

To this effect, this study is geared towards ascertaining the effects of corruption in Nigeria Civil Service using Ebonyi State Civil service as a study.

From the foregoing, the following research questions were formulated:

  1. How do corrupt practices affect civil service performance in Ebonyi State?
  2. How does lack of openness and transparency in public service serve as a factor responsible for corruption in Ebonyi State Civil Service?
  3. What are the measures necessary to curb corruption in Ebonyi State civil service?

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The general objective of the study is to examine the effect of corruption on nigeria civil service performance with ebonyi state civil service as a case study. The specific objectives of the study are:-

  1. To find out how corrupt practices affect civil service performance in Ebonyi State.
  2. To examine how lack of openness and transparency in public service  serve as factors responsible for corruption in Ebonyi State Civil Service.
  3. To explore strategies for combating corruption in Ebonyi State Civil Service.

1.4 Significance of the Study



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