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Corruption in Nigeria...Beyond What We Think

I am not going to mince words in saying that it looks like everyone is corrupt in Nigeria. I am no longer sure if I am not corrupt myself because after looking around and seeing no way out of paying the money I ought not to pay, I saw clearly the decadence in the system we are running!!! I saw how easy it is for anyone to aid and abet corruption or get the desire to trade in corruption!

When my friend was charged to court in January by her company who accussed her of misappriopration of funds- an accusation father from the truth - but because she has implicated herself in the statement made to the police, she needed surety or go to jail. Before we could rally round to organise all the necessary requests by the court, she was in Kirikiri prison!

That was when I start understanding how deep corruption is in Nigeria, how I no longer see it trickling down from politicians but trickling from other sectors to the politicians. The system is rotten. I am afraid that it will almost be impossible to get rid of corruption in Nigeria. Elections are here and am voting but there is still this feeling at the back of my neck; the feeling that corruption may be here to stay as part of our existence while another part of me is looking inward for innovative ways to curb this destructive act many have engaged in.

To digress, when I recounted the experience that am about to share to my cousin, who is a journalist, he wasn't surprised, he infact told me that when we are looking at the most corrupt establishments in Nigeria, the politicians are no longer leading. He said we should look into Business, Sport and the Press before we even touch the politicians. But with what I have seen, I will put the judicial system at the very top of this list!

I went to arrange the release of my friend and I was forced to part with money that was not justified but I had to because I could report this to no one! I had to because my attitude that would have being considered sanctimonious would have left her in jail for longer than seven days! We went to visit her at the prison, they made us pay before we could see her. I went to secure her bail, the prosecutor charged illegal fee of N20,000/$130 before doing her job of following the two guarantors including myself to access our houses! We complained, we said we did not have money, and she said nothing would be done if we did not pay! She even added another 5,000/$32 fee as the payment to the police officer whose job was to go get my friend out of the prison! And of course, we still needed to provide a car to pick her to our houses and back to the office!

All these payments are illegal and they are not new but very normal. I complained to a lawyer who only help as he said was to negotiate reduction of these illegal fees. he claimed nothing can be done. Then I realised that (some) laywers are in this too. I called another lawyer for a second opinion and he warned that we should take extra money to the prison for her release. How worse can this ever get? How far worse? If you have to pay through your nose for all illegalities, how can there ever be justice? What system is ever good enough and ready for the protection of the people of Nigeria. Should we even dare to trust the EFCC? NDLEA? Who can we trust? How many more people will take a cue from this to start their own chain or network of corruption?


Fungai Machirori's picture

Same in Zim

Toyin, Zimbabwe is becoming the same. Do you want to get a driver's licence? Well, if you do, you just have to pay a small fortune to the people at the Vehicle Inspection Department and they will get the document done for you! Some people don't really know how to drive and have driver's licences...

Do you want to get out of getting an official record for speeding? Just pay the traffic policeman some money 'for a drink'... and you will be okay.

Do you want a doctor to falsify your medical records? Once more, just pay him a bit of cash and he can write you a full medical report that says you are 1 000% healthy when in fact, you are closer to 10%.

Corruption is the curse of our continent and one of the reasons we do not progress. We do not follow procedures and systems and do as we simply please. We do not have a culture of integrity and that's our stumbling block! Oh, Africa, you need to realise that the begging bowl in your hand is the very reason why the rest of the world will always treat you like a dirty poor child.

Time for Africa to grow up!

from today i live out of my imagination
i am more than my yesterday
tomorrow i plant a new seed
nothing that lies behind easy
nothing that is ahead real
my within is all i have today
*Napo Masheane*

Oluwatoyin Ajao's picture

Re: Same in Zim

'culture of integrity', you nailed it head on! It is so tiring!

Toyin Ajao

olutosin's picture


Thanks for this, we are so tired of corruption that one do not really know what to say again.
It has come to the stage that when one is not corrupt, she looks like a sinner, dunce or stupid.

We must work, real work in our hands.
Thank sis for this post.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town


Oluwatoyin Ajao's picture

re: Nigeria

You are right Olutosin, the fight must go on but I felt so bad that where I could have stood firmly and said 'no' I could not. We need a system that will help those resisting corruption to have protection and to be able to report freely. Next time, I may have to try the EFCC...

Toyin Ajao

Breese's picture


Oluwatoyin - thank you for sharing this. It takes courage to speak out against such issues, but they are so important to address. Corruption persists around the world and remains a major barrier to povery reduction, and so many other aspects of society. I admire your strength in continuing to ask question and shed light on these issues, as well as that of Fungai and Olutosin!

Oluwatoyin Ajao's picture

Yes Breese

Thank you Breese, together, our voices will count!

Toyin Ajao

Sarvina's picture

Hi Toyin, Thanks for sharing

Hi Toyin,

Thanks for sharing this! Also my country, corruption corruption corruption....the word corruption has always been kept in my head. Your article made me remember my past when I was in school, my teacher didn't like me coz I had no money to give them. They rarely let me sit in class to learn from them, I had no scholarship coz of corruption - the rich people always buy the scholarship from the poor students anyways, those money won't be received by us... I am also tired with the corruption!

Your article is so inspiring!




Sarvina from Cambodia
VOF 2011 Correspondent

Oluwatoyin Ajao's picture


This is so gross and pathetic Sarvina!!! How could a country and a people be this mean? Even teachers asking for money and scholarship getting denied because of corruption. Thanks for sharing your experience Sarvina. What is this Sarvina?

Toyin Ajao

Atonement's picture

A Bold Step

Hi Toyin

Corruption damages both national character and the economy. But what hurts the common man is the bribery he confronts at every step. He is required to pay not to get an undue advantage but more often, just to avoid harassment, injustice or delay. Thus it has become extortion – ever worse than bribe.Pakistan is facing the same corruption level .You are so brave to speak out on this issue .


Oluwatoyin Ajao's picture

Re: a Bold Step

Thanks Tooba, your contribution has made me see how a corrupt society can extort the innocents and not make them accomplices. I pray that our effort will revolutionalise every unfair system in our communities. Thanks!

Toyin Ajao

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