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Punishment For Corruption Under Nigerian Law

Punishment for Corruption under Nigerian Law – Offences of Corruption and Abuse of Office: Definition, Consequences, Punishment.

If there is one thing a multi-ethnic and multi-religious Nigeria agrees on, it is that corruption has torn the structure of the country asunder.

In the many ways it manifests, it leaves a painful trail of failure: failure of public promises, failure of public trust, failure of public institutions, failure of public policies, failure of public infrastructure to name but a few.

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Punishment For Corruption Under Nigerian Law
Corruption Under Nigerian Law – Photo Source:

The effects have been high and hard and the net effect is that Nigeria has not taken its place in the pantheon of   developed countries in spite of the   its cornucopia of human and natural resources.

Closely tied to the   hydra-headed monster of corruption is the spectre    of abuse of office. When a public office is abused   as a perverse alternative to its efficacious use for the good of the public, its effects are deleterious and generational. This is because when a public office is abused its   ugly effects are reserved even for posterity.

To be sure in spite of the  rampant glee with which they  rampage and ravage public institutions, in spite of the recklessness with which they ravish public trust, the twin monsters of corruption and abuse of  office are enemies of the law. The law proscribes them in their entirety and always seeks to punish them.

The law unfailingly maintains this   attitude when confronting these monsters in spite of the fact that they are high stake offences   mostly  perpetrated by powerful individuals who tread the corridors of power.

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Corruption and Abuse of Office defined

The 7th Edition of the Oxford Advanced Learner `s Dictionary, International Student`s Edition, at page   329, defines “Corruption” thus:

“Dishonest or illegal  behavior, especially people in authority.”

The Deluxe Ninth Edition of the Black`s Law Dictionary, at page 397   defines “Corruption  ” as:

“The act of doing something with an intent to give some advantage inconsistent with official duty  and the rights of others ; a fiduciary`s or  official`s  use of  a station or office  to procure some benefit  either personally  or from  someone  else, contrary to the rights  of others.”

The New International Webster`s Comprehensive Dictionary of the English Language (Deluxe Encyclopedic Edition) at page 293 defines “Corruption” thus:

The act of   corrupting  or the state of    being corrupted. A corrupting   influence as   bribery.  ”

The Deluxe Ninth Edition of the Black`s Law Dictionary, at page 10   defines “Abuse” as:

A departure   from legal or reasonable use; misuse.”

Wikipedia chimes in with a description of what “abuse of power” which is  synonymous  with “abuse of office” is. It says:

“Abuse of power in   the form of ‘malfeasance in office” or ‘official misconduct’ done in an official capacity   which  affects the  performance  of official   duties. Malfeasance is often grounds for a cause removal of an elected official by statute or recall election.”

Corruption strangles a nation and in response, in defiance, the law ceaselessly seeks to excise it like the malignant cancer that it is.

The Criminal Code Act criminalizes corruption  

In keeping with the constitutional requirement that an offence must be criminalized and penalized in a written law before anybody  can be punished for it, Nigeria apex criminal legislation the Criminal Code Act forbids corruption and abuse of office.

Section 98 of the Criminal Code Act provides thus:

a. Any public official  who –

b. Corruptly asks for, receives  or obtains any property or benefit of any kind  for himself  or any  other person; or

c. Corruptly agrees or attempts to receive or obtain any property or benefit of any kind for himself or any other person,

On account of:

a. Anything already done or omitted, or any favour   or disfavor already shown to any person, by himself  in the discharge  of his official duties or in relation to any matter  connected with the functions, affairs or business of  a government  department, public body ,or other organization or institution in which he is serving as a public  official; or

b. Anything to be  afterwards done or omitted, or any favour ; or disfavor to be   afterwards shown to any person, by himself in the discharge of his official duties or in relation  to any such matter as aforesaid, is guilty of   the felony  of official corruption and  liable to imprisonment for seven years.

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Section 98A of the Criminal Code Act   imperils those who give bribes on account of actions of   public officials.

Section 98A provides thus:

Any person who:

Corruptly gives, confers or procures any property or benefit of any kind to, on or for a public official or to, on or for any other person; or

Corruptly promises or offers to give or confer or to procure  or attempt to procure any property or benefit of any kind to, on or for a public official as is mentioned in section 98(1) (i) or (ii)  of this Code, is guilty of the felony of official corruption  and is liable to imprisonment for seven years

If in any proceedings for an offence under this section of this Code it is proved that any property or benefit of any kind, or any promise thereof, was given to a public official, or to some other person at the instance of a public official, by a person-

Holding, or seeking to obtain, a contract, licence or permit from a government department, public body or other organization or institution in which that  public official is serving as such; or

Concerned or likely to be concerned ,in any proceeding or business transacted, pending or likely to be transacted  before or by  that public official or a government department, public body or other organization or institution in which that public official is serving as such or by or from any person acting on behalf of or related to such a person, the property, benefit  or promise shall, unless the contrary is proved ,be deemed to have been given corruptly on account of such a past or future act, omission, favour   or disfavor as is mentioned in section 98(1) (I ) or (ii) of this Code.

Section 98B of the Criminal Code Act stipulates a 7-year jail term for any one who invites bribes on account of actions of public official.

Section 99 of the Act   proscribes “Extortion by public officers” as a felony and slams a   3-year jail term on it.

Section 101 of the Act criminalizes some instances when public officers are interested in contract. It declares it a felony and punishes it with up to 3-year imprisonment.

Section 103 punishes “False claims by officials” as a felony and prescribes a three year jail term for it.

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The Criminal Code Act criminalizes abuse of office.

The Criminal Code Act   further prescribes instances when a public official can be said to have abused his office.

Section 104 of the Criminal Code Act provides thus:

“Any person who, being employed in the public service, does or directs to be done  in abuse of the authority of his office, any arbitrary act or prejudicial to the rights of another, is guilty of a misdemeanor  and is liable to imprisonment for two years.

If the act is done or directed to be done   for purposes of gain he is guilty of a felony, as is liable to imprisonment   for three years.

The offender cannot be arrested without warrant.

A prosecution for any offence under this or any of the last three preceding   sections shall not be instituted except by or with   the consent of a law officer.

Section 105   punishes   an issuance of  a false certificates   by public officers as a felony   and punishes it with a three year imprisonment.

Section 106 punishes anybody who administers an extra-judicial oath without   authority with imprisonment for one year.

Section   107   denounces “False assumption of authority” as a felony and punishes it with imprisonment for up to three years.

Section 108 punishes anyone   who   personates public officers as a felon and   punishes it with imprisonment for three years.

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a. A felony is a serious crime usually punishable   by imprisonment   for more than a year or by death. Examples include   burglary, arson, rape, and murder.

b. Official corruption is a felony   punishable   by a 7-year jail imprisonment- Section 98 of the Criminal Code Act.

c. Giving bribes to public officials is part of official corruption and it is punishable with 7 years imprisonment.

d. Section 98A forbids anyone from giving   any property or benefit or the likes to any public official to influence some favour.

e. Under Section 99 of the Criminal Code Act, extortion by a public official is a felony which attracts a 3-year jail term.

f. By Section 104 of the Criminal Code Act, abuse of office is a felony and is punishable with a 3-year imprisonment.

Always Remember:

a. That as a Nigerian citizen under Sections 25,26 or 27 of the 1999 Constitution, your fundamental rights are guaranteed under Sections 33 to 46 of the same Constitution.

b. That the Constitution guarantees you equal rights, obligations, opportunities   and easy accessibility to court under Section 17.

c. That com   works with a team of lawyers to inform you of your rights, obligations and opportunities under the law.















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Kenechukwu Obiezu

Kenechukwu Obiezu is a Legal Practitioner and a Content Developer at InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Ibanga. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Ibanga. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

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