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This research work focuses on Effects of Corruption in Nigerian Public Service: a Study of the Ebonyi State Civil Service. The objectives of the study were: to ascertain effect of corruption on the performance of civil servants, to find out the causes of corruption among civil servants, to determine the feelings of public officials and civil servants regarding the phenomena of corruption and to determine the strategies for combating corruption in Ebonyi State. The Study reviewed related literature which highlighted the views of other writers on this subject area and possibly examine the Effects of Corruption in Nigerian Public Service. Descriptive research survey design was adopted for the study with a sample size of 400 respondents using Taro Yamne formula. Data collected was analyzed using percentages. The study found among others things which are: corruption in civil service affects the performance of workers in all government agencies, corruption has taken up several dimensions in state civil service and it created a negative effects on workers’ productivity and that lack of transparency, poor pay incentives, and weak government institution are the causes of corruption among civil servants. Based on the findings the study recommended that: government should improve the socio-political and economic life of the people, government should enforce anti-corruption law in its fullest and without fear and favour of any individual no matter his or her designation.



1.1 Background to the Study

Right from the beginning, corruption has been a vermin that has been killing and discouraging Nigeria civil service from welcoming new innovations. From historical point of view, Nigeria governments had been in the hands of those who only care for themselves, putting aside the yearnings of the entire populace. Gone are the days when merit, accountability, honesty and transparency, has meaning in Nigeria government, and this was then actually helping the country to move forward, (Akinwale, 2007).

Corruption has been in every society from the inception, it has become like a plague which has eaten deep into the system of every society, through some are more pronounced in some societies while some societies try to cover their own from being exposed. The Nigerian public service is discovered to be corrupt, infact, it is no longer news, it has become part of the service culture, the system has become so corrupt that it brought about non-chaplaincy and lackadaisical attitude, recalcitrance and profligacy, diversion of funds meant for government work in to private purses and bank accounts, nepotism and favouritism etc, all these are characterized as corruption going on in the Nigeria public service.

“Effects of Corruption in Nigerian Public Service”. This topic is out to find the effect of corruption and the danger it could cause for any society that does not find a way to curb this hydra healed monster called corruption. Corruption dents or destroys the image of the society. Corruption destroys the government of the day; it also destroys the hope of the future generations. This issue, if neglected would lead to  dangerous consequences , that is why the research has chosen to find out the effect of corruption in the Nigeria public service using Ebonyi State civil service as a case study.

Like they say that what concerns any part of the body will affect the whole, the way a soup tastes, is not how that of a soap would taste. The research believe that as it is in Ebonyi State civil service so it is may be in every other public service of governments in Nigeria, that is why the researcher has chosen Ebonyi State civil service. This is a malady that has eaten deep into the fabrics of the Nigerian society.

Corruption has permeated into all sectors of the nation’s economy’. It is rampant and prevalent in both high and low places in the country. “It manifest in several forms, “It features in employment and staff management. When initial employment and future promotion have to be made; it features in award of contracts in the administration of funds, in investment decisions; continuous payments of non-existing (Ghost) workers, in the appointments of unqualified and un-experienced staff and the institutionalization to accept the bearer syndrome.

Okpata(2004) bemoaning the incident of corruption in Nigeria, agreed that corruption is endemic in our body politic. Nowadays, almost every discourse centre on the high tendency of corruption in our public life. There is the very strong perception that corruption will kill Nigeria or Nigeria will kill corruption. In summary, corruption had been institutionalized in the country. Policy designers and implementers alike, the typical Nigeria, accept money or money’s wrath before carrying out their statutory obligation; they consciously misinterpret and thus, misdirect the policy objectives to suit whatever shape or dimension corruption manifest, it is certainly anti- progressive in the course of implementation. Corrupt officials lack confidence and negate the effective implementation of any nation’s policy.


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 the 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”.

In Ebonyi State civil service, corruption takes the shape of embezzlement of public funds, committing fraud by some civil servants; bureaucratic red-tapism, nepotism and favoritism, erosion of discipline, insertion of cognitive inexperienced officers and indiscriminate promotions and transfers because they have people in high places in the civil service has become the order of the day in the Ebonyi state civil service.

  • The ghost worker “ syndrome”, has also become a part of the problems of the state civil service.
  • Setting of government offices ablaze to cover up crimes committed in order to destroy the records.
  • Collecting bribe to render services which are meant to be free of charge.
  • Under declaration of age and tampering with employment files (records) so as not to retire as and when due.

All these are being done in the public /civil service in quest for power and wealth, greed and selfishness among the civil servants and as such the civil service finds it difficult to carry out its task effectively. In any case, the research work will be concerned with how corruption in civil service has contributed to the state of poor performance, inefficiency and infectiveness in the civil service of the Ebonyi state.

As a result of this problem, to ensure maximum achievement of efficiency in the civil service in Ebonyi State, Ebonyi state government should realize the good measure that should be taken to wipe out corruption.

 In the process of the research work that the following research questions will arise:

How does corruption affect the performance of civil servants?

What are the causes of corruption among civil servants?

What are the feelings of civil servants regarding the phenomena of corruption in the Ebonyi State civil service?

How could the anti-corruption drive the strength to reduce or eliminate corrupt practices in the state civil service?

1.3 Objective of the Study

The broad objective of the study is to explore the nature of public sector corruption in Ebonyi State. The specific objective of the study include:

  1. To ascertain effect of corruption on the performance of civil servants
  2. Find out the causes of corruption among civil servants in Ebonyi State
  3. Determine the feelings of public officials and civil servants regarding the phenomena of corruption.
  4. To determine the strategies for combating corruption in Ebonyi State.

 1.4 Significance of the Study

 Fighting corruption is not a onetime campaign. It took England more than a century to bring corruption under control. Hong-Kong and Singapore, which are mostly cited as success stories in the fight against corruption long ago. For instance, in Hongkong, the anti-corruption drive commenced in 1974 and there is still corruption. In order to curb corruption in a relatively shorter period of time, therefore, designing effective anti-corruption strategies is indispensable.

 Accordingly, this study will have the following significance;

It will serve as a source of reference for others who would like to know more about corruption, and interested in undertaking further research on corruption and anti- corruption; it will also serve as important starting point for policy makers to understand the effect of corruption in civil service.

1.5 Research Hypothesis

  1. H1: There are the effect of corruption on the performance of civil servants.

H0: There are no effect of corruption on the performance of civil servants.

H1: There are causes of corruption among civil servants in Ebonyi State

H0: There are no causes of corruption among civil servants in Ebonyi State

1.6 Scope of the Study

The topic for this research work is “ effect of corruption in the Nigeria public service” a case study of Ebonyi State Civil service. Using Ebonyi State civil service as a case study is to limit the scope of studied. The study will cover the eight ministries in Ebonyi State.

 1.7 Limitations of the Study

There were excessive delays involved in getting materials and opinions from the Ebonyi State civil servants; hence, most of the officials that should have provided useful information are usually absent. There was an exhibition of non-challant and uncooperative attitude in providing information relevant to the study. Infact, due to the high rate of secrecy in the civil service most of them refused to give out information about whatever concerns the civil service.

 Moreover, there was dearth of finance for this research, due to harsh economic realities of this country and this made it difficult for the researcher to transport himself to and fro everyday to the government ministries.

1.8 Theoretical Framework

Based on the research topic, the researcher made use of the system theory. The system theory propounded by Budulig von Beth Handoff in Iwarimie-Jaja (2012) best explains the problems of the effect of corruption in the Nigeria Public Service, with focus on the Ebonyi State Civil Service. The system theory tries to explain that, the input when processed determines the output. In other words, what the public or civil service gives to the society, the society will accept. Thus when leaders or those who lead, do not lead well or show good example to their followers (the masses) the followers will definitely follow the same track and even do worse.

 The input when process determines output (feedback) what the civil service injects into the society, the society returns back to them. The civil service as stated by Udenta (1999) is responsible for the carrying out the day to day activities of the government. In other words, it is the circulatory system of the political system, the totality of civil bureaucracy set up by the modern government to administer, to execute their policies and programmes. In furtherance (Chukwu 2007) stated that the civil service is an organized institution that is responsible for carrying out the day to day activities of government. Without the civil service, there is no government. By this we ask, what do the civil service model? Well, since they are the societies backbone, if their model is corrupt, then entire society will follow suite. When the model disciplined, the society will follow as well.

This system theory from the researcher’s view is believed to do with corruption in the civil service. How it reflects back to the society at large. This is a system, it circulates, or revolves, whatever they push out will return back to them directly or indirectly.

1.9 Operational Definition of Terms

Corruption is a form of  dishonest  or unethical conduct by a person entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire personal benefit.Corruption may include many activities including  bribery  and  embezzlement , though it may also involve practices that are legal in many countries. Government, or ‘political’, corruption  occurs when an office-holder or other governmental employee acts in an official capacity for personal gain.

Effects is a change that results when something is done or happens : an event, condition, or state of affairs that is produced by a cause or a particular feeling or mood created by something. The mood created can be negative or positive.

Civil Service: this refer to either a branch of governmental service in which individuals are employed on the basis of professional merit as proven by competitive examinations; or the body of employees in any government agency apart from the military, which is a separate extension of any national government.

Public Service: is a service which is provided by government to people living within its jurisdiction, either directly (through the public sector) or by financing provision of services

Productivity: is an average measure of the efficiency of production. It can be expressed as the ratio of output to inputs used in the production process, i.e. output per unit of input. … Outputs and inputs are defined in the total productivity measure as their economic values.


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