This allAfrica.com article doesn't suggest that the Human Rights Watch report on Nigeria says anything new. Nigerians know the 2007 elections were a sham, that corruption is endemic (must have learned that phrase in primary school), and that as long as godfathers and corrupt politicians continue to gain more than they stand to lose, things are unlikely to change much. But why bother? Do such reports (like many before) shame our leaders into acting, or our people into demanding more from them? Whenever i meet a Pakistani, a friendly conversation usually gets kicked off by a shared acknowledgement of our countries' ongoing competition to be at the top of Transparency International's Most Corrupt list. SO WHAT will be the straw that breaks the camel's back.
Your views on the "findings" of this new report and the effects of such reports on the state of affairs are welcome...
Nigeria: Violence, Corruption Institutionalised - HRW Report
Nigerian leaders are so violent and corrupt that their conduct "more resembles criminal activity than democratic governance", according to a scathing report issued by Human Rights Watch on 9 October.
"Violence, corruption and impunity are not just problems that government has failed to tackle; they are systemic abuses that flow from the heart of the very same government institutions that should be working to combat them," the report, titled Criminal Politics: Violence, "Godfathers" and Corruption in Nigeria, said. In some Nigerian states, powerful political "godfathers" control politicians, the report said. "In return, the 'godfathers' have captured government institutions to serve their own interests."
In Oyo State, one of several examples cited in the report, the ruling "People's Democratic Party (PDP) godfather Lamidi Adedibu recruited gangs that sowed terror on the streets of the state capital Ibadan and other cities".
Besides surveying what it calls "systemic violence openly fomented by politicians and other political elites", the report shows "corruption that both fuels and rewards Nigeria's violent brand of politics at the expense of the general populace". The report also seeks to show "the impunity enjoyed by those responsible for these abuses".
According to author Chinua Achebe, winner of the 2007 Man Booker Prize, "Corruption in Nigeria has passed the alarming and entered the fatal stage; and Nigeria will die if we continue to pretend that she is only slightly indisposed."
At the same time, the report said corruption and mismanagement had led to the waste of record oil revenues that could have been used to tackle poverty and improve access to basic health and education services.
HRW said efforts to investigate and prosecute corrupt politicians "focused on enemies of the [former President Olusegun] Obasanjo administration, [thus] undermining if not destroying the credibility of those efforts altogether."
Written by senior researcher in the Africa Division of HRW Chris Albin-Lackey and consultant Ben Rawlence, the report is based largely on missions they conducted to Anambra, Delta, Ekiti, Gombe, Katsina, Lagos, Oyo and Rivers states and the capital Abuja before, during and after the April 2007 elections.
The report called for an end to impunity. "One obvious and important place to start would be for the federal government to enact and aggressively implement the long delayed Freedom of Information Bill, which would make it possible for Nigerians to peel back the veils of secrecy that allow many government officials to conceal the evidence of their misdeeds by denying access to even the most basic government-held information."
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]