Switch headers Switch to TIGweb.org

Are you an TIG Member?
Click here to switch to TIGweb.org

HomeHomeExpress YourselfPanoramaCorruption is a Crime against Humanity
a TakingITGlobal online publication

(Advanced Search)

Panorama Home
Issue Archive
Current Issue
Next Issue
Featured Writer
TIG Magazine
Short Story
My Content

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Corruption is a Crime against Humanity Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Wilfred Mamah, United Kingdom Sep 19, 2007
Human Rights   Opinions
 1 2 3   Next page »


The war against corruption in Nigeria is winning and losing at key battlefronts. It is winning because it has strategically positioned the corruption discourse on the front burner. But, it is losing at the utilitarian front of serving as deterrent to official corruption.

If a graph is plotted to depict the incidences of corruption from 2000 to 2007, it would show an upward slope. Our political office holders are yet to learn anything and the general populace seems to perceive official corruption as a misdemeanor that should be expected from political office holders, on the porous argument that having “sowed” so much in their bid to win or rig elections, they ought to reap or recoup, in financial terms.

Business terminologies like “return on investment” have also been applied in very a confusing manner to justify the ongoing broad day robbery in Nigeria and Africa. Curiously, a generality of our people are yet to see a nexus between pen robbery and armed robbery or between corruption and Nigeria’s chronic poverty. Painfully, this conceptual inadequacy equally finds expression in our anti corruption legislation and raises deep questions about how our society weighs the seriousness of offences and attach punishment.

This article argues that corruption, in present day Nigeria, is worse than treason and armed robbery. I would seek to demonstrate that the type of corruption in Nigeria, qualifies as a crime against humanity and that the failure of the current legal regime to view corruption as such may perhaps explain the reason for the unrepentant attitude of most of our political office holders and the ever growing corruption in this country.

A proposal for tightening the “noose” using the sentencing tool of “life jail” for any public official that is found to have been corrupt in office would be explored. Interestingly, life jail, as a fitting punishment for corruption has been successfully applied in the Philippines, in the corruption case, involving the country’s former President, Joseph Estrada.

This paper is aware that the punishment for treason in Nigeria, a lesser offence, in comparison with corruption, is death penalty but because of the writer’s stiff opposition to capital sentencing, life jail becomes the only acceptable middle course, despite the seriousness of this crime of corruption, which this article defines as a crime against humanity.

The link between Nigeria-style corruption and crime against humanity is not far-fetched. For instance, Article 7 (1) of the International Criminal Court Treaty, provides a definition of crimes against humanity under customary international law. Summarily, the section states that Crimes against humanity means acts, like murder, extermination, forcible transfer of a population, torture, rape, enforced prostitution when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack.

Official corruption in Nigeria is systematic, widespread and it is directed against the Nigerian civilian population. It could be directly linked to all the enumerated acts above. I will illustrate this with some of the examples and leave the reader to further extrapolate.

Let’s take murder and robbery for instance; the systematic and widespread robberies and murders in Nigeria today are engineered by angry youths who have been pushed to crime by the high level of unemployment. The penalty for robbery is death and the ingredients required to prove robbery under the criminal code is simply to show that the accused stole and used violence “immediately at” or “immediately after” that act of “stealing”. What it means in effect is that people have been executed in Nigeria for “stealing” item, less than 1,000 Naira, in value, with violence.

There are countless Nigerians on death row for similar offences, and all efforts to convince this country to abolish the death penalty is yet to yield any fruit, but our so called elected Governors and legislators that have robbed the nation of millions of dollars and deprived thousands of people their livelihood, thus providing the motivation for violent crimes are free having “plea bargained”, yet we are told that justice is even handed.
The robber on death row was not born a robber.

Although, the criminologist Lomboroso had argued that criminal causation could be linked to genetic defect, he called the “stigmata”; his biological determinism thesis has long been discredited by Enrico Ferri’s deeper criminological explanation that sought to link criminal behavior to nurture, instead of nature.

It is very possible, therefore, that the repressive socio-political and economic situation in Nigeria, caused by the massive corruption turned our youths into robbers. Unemployment and the dearth of social amenities in Nigeria are the consequence of the massive corruption that fritters our resources into private pockets.

 1 2 3   Next page »   


You must be logged in to add tags.

Writer Profile
Wilfred Mamah

This user has not written anything in his panorama profile yet.

Mosh | Dec 2nd, 2007
All most all public office holder in nigeria are Corrupt. Mismanage public funds.

Mosh | Dec 2nd, 2007
All most all public office holder in nigeria are Corrupt. Mismanage public funds.

You must be a TakingITGlobal member to post a comment. Sign up for free or login.