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Since the attainment of Independence, Corruption had been one of the major problems facing the country. The Nigerian Customs Service is the second Revenue Generation mechanism and it is one of the Major Corrupt Services in Nigeria.

This research is a study of the function of the Customs Service, the causes of Corruption and the impact of Corruption in the service.


Title page





Table of Contents




Background to Study

Aims and Objectives

Scope of Study

Sources and Methodology

Literature Review

Definition of Relevant Concepts

Significance of the Study

Limitation of Study

Chapter Synopsis





Introduction Corruption in Nigeria.

General Yakubu Gowon Era.

Babangida Era.






Causes of Corruption in the Nigerian Customs Service

Types of Corruption in the Nigerian Customs Service

Tackling Corruption in the Nigerian Customs Service

Reforms and Antidote to Corruption

The establishment of EFCC






How to Combat Corruption References.











Corruption and bribery behaviors occur throughout the world, but it is endemic in Nigeria as a developing country. Widespread corruption is a symptom of a poorly functioning state.

Corruption can undermine the political, social and economic growth of a developing country like Nigeria. Corruption, bribery and transparent behaviour have become the order of the day; it cut across the society and involves powerful groups that continue to benefit from the negative vices. After the common office bribes, corrupt practices have grown from award of contracts and collection of kickbacks with favour toward kith and kin, to use of undue influence in government offices. Government officials nowadays award federal and state contracts to their school mates, religious cronies and club associates.

Bribery and corruption has become a virus for a country like Nigeria with abundant natural resources. It has developed into higher degree that has made government social benefits difficult to reach the ordinary citizens. Since corruption and untransparent behaviours are considered evil, its mere existence is often a cause for concern. This unethical behavior has given Nigeria a bad image. It is high time government embark on possible antidotes 1'01' this social menace.

The lack of mechanism to check corrupt practices among the society, has made Transparency international, an international organization at Switzerland monitoring corruption and untransparcncy behavour around the world to enlist Nigeria as the most corrupt nation in the year 2000. Therefore what is corruption?

Corruption can be defined as behaviour, actions and deeds that is immoral against the societal ethics. Corruption has to do with offering and accepting of bribes to hasten official transactions or to get a favour done. It also hinges on some dishonest behaviours that is against the norms of the society.

Corruption in the Nigerian Customs Service is inevitable, it started during the military era in Nigeria, and the issue surrounding the curbing of crime in the Nigerian Customs Service has been a major challenge in the system, this only show that corruption cannot be completely eradicated, it can only be minimized. The Nigerian Customs Service is the Second revenue yielding economic outlet in the country, its functionalities cuts across collection of excise duties, collection of duties and levies on imported goods, Inspection of sea and airports and their associated. bonded warehouses, enforcement of the government fiscal policies such as the prohibition of certain goods and curbing the movement of illegal immigrants in the country" .However, with all this functions, the control of corruption in the Nigerian Customs Service is a reflection of general behavior within the society and in developing countries like Nigeria where worker salaries cannot support the lifestyle and comfort, one will look elsewhere to make ends meet. The federal government hardly disburses monthly salary to the Customs Service, and the people have family to cater for .The temptation to engage in corrupt practices is then open to the people. The salaries paid to Customs Men abroad are enough to cater for the workers and maintain a decent life, but in Nigeria reverse is the case.

The environment under which Nigerian customs men work is very poor, no promotion for many years, officers uniforms are not replaced, while the service is under-staff.

Above all, majority of the Customs men are stagnated on the same salary for years, therefore, the Customs Service force is susceptible to Corruption, from dubious businessmen/women that want to clear their goods and has no regard to the clearing of goods procedures. Corruption in Nigeria Customs service today is an everyday affair. Asides these facts the corruption that exist in the Nigerian customs service include, god fatherism, Craven instinct for wealth, peer group influence.

Corruption is a global phenomenon, intelligible only in its social context. It can also be defined as practice of conferring improper benefits contrary to legal and moral norms, and which undermines the authorities capacities to secure the welfare of all citizens. In Nigeria it became the principal means of private accumulation during the decolonization period, in the absence of other means, and came to shape political activity and competition after independence. All subsequent regimes, military and civilian, have been pervaded by Corruption. Aided and enhanced by oil revenues, this has created a deepening crisis of kleptocracy sown in its most extreme form since 1984.

According to Lami Abdul's, corruption has resulted into a combination of scandalous wealth among the ruling class with growing poverty, misery and degradation among the mass of Nigerians. Political life has become dominated by winner-take-all factional struggles, political cynicism and violence, while the economy and social institutions have been driven into decay. Corruption has not thus become a way of life in Nigeria, one which existing government wishes to, nor can control.

According to Professor Esko Toyo in his book Nigerian Public Office and Issues of Transparency and Accountability, transparency in the Nigerian Customs Service means to be honest in official dealings with customers of the general public, state official in Nigeria lack the virtue of honest, because majority of them engage in unethical conducts that made them to be dishonest to be honest to the system and the government.

Transparency has to do with character and personal integrity of individuals. A transparent officer usually tries to set standards for him\herself and live by example, such public officers would not engage in any corrupt practice or misconduct that can smear their reputation and image. This means that a transparent personality must extol good virtues in public service. How many public officials, civil servants, lawyers, Customs officers and the executive arms of government can stand up and say he/she is honest and transparent in his her official conduct.

It is against this background that this research seeks to evaluate Corruption in Nigeria in the light of the Nigerian Custom service.



The objective of this study is to ascertain the following.

·        To highlight the practice and genesis of Corruption in the Nigerian Customs Service.

·        To identify the role of the Nigerian Customs Service in the national economy.

·        Ascertain the impacts of corrupt practices by Customs men and women on Nigeria's economic development.

·        Finally, to determine whether the Nigerian environment actually aided and abetted Nigerian Customs men and women corrupt behaviors.



The scope of this study covers corruption in Nigerian Custom Service in two distinct regime Gowon and Babangida. Gowon regime was chosen because it was during this period that corruption of public institution particularly the Nigeria custom service was pronounced.



Scholars have written literatures and journals on the issues related to these work, some of which would be reviewed. This Study would draw from Literature on International Relations, border and land policies and the Nigerian Customs service.

In this research, Information will be obtained from both primary and secondary sources.

The primary sources include Archival materials, government documents, Oral interviews and Newspapers. The Secondary sources include published books, journals, and monographs etcetera. The interpretation of the pieces of information will be based on historical method of analysis.



Reviewing a book titled, smuggling, the crime, the law written by professor Kofo Olugbesan, an assistant comptroller General of Custom (rtd), I saw the book as presenting a landmark achievement for "The department of the Nigeria Customs and Excise Service" and the book was written to feed the public what it needed to hear(public relations) , Undoubtedly ,this book did not critique the customs officers in the area of corruption, smuggling, transparency. Instead it praised their effort and asked the government to support their interest by providing more funds to them. According to the author, these Customs Officers were Nigerian patriots" Furthermore, this book covers up the main bone of contention facing the system which is smuggling and corruption"


Another book titled, EYES RIGHT Nigerian Customs Service on the Dais written by jerry Alagbaoso, this work critically discusses the Olusegun Obasanjo administration, It discusses policies that were enacted during his regime like the creation of the Presidential committee for the Restructuring of the Nigerian Customs Service, The G.F BUBA-Ied administration was also discussed and total emphasis were placed on his biography. The failures of this book were the negligence of the writer to analytically access the achievement as well as the failures of the Nigerian Customs Service. In chapter 7 of the book, fiscal capital generated to the government in form of tax exceeded the normal amount, this only goes to show some of the irregularities in the activities of the service.

Furthermore, the book also did not treat the issue of corruption, the work also lacked objectivity.

The book also goes ahead to viewing only the perspective of removing faults and weakness and strengthening good qualities of the service, it failed to analyze the problems of the country.

100 years of Nigerian Customs and Excise 1891-1991 edited by I.E.S Amdii, this work attempts to look into the evolution and metamorphosis of the Nigerian Customs Service between 1891 and 1991. The period considered represents a century of Customs Service activities in Nigeria, this book analytically discusses phases of revenue sourcing by the department activities of the clearing and forwarding and also partner organization in the service.

The book went further too analytically discuss the question of our artificial borders and the problems which arise from such historical designs. The failure of this book is inability of the author to examine the Customs department during the Military era, when military head of states proposed policies that affected the Nigerian economy negatively. Furthermore, in the area of smuggling fake drugs and used cars, the service during the military era was not active in combating this crime this according to the author, was because the government refused to fund the service. But arguably, this was because of the inefficiency of the service officers.

Nigerian Port Authority, Shipping Portland Clearing written by Dr. J.O.K Idornigie (JOKI), a reputable clearing and forwarding agent in maritime, this work looks into the affair of the maritime business .clearing and forwarding at that sector ,the book was able to assess the responsibility of the clearing and forwarding department in assisting the customs in the process of clearing goods. The involvement of the clearing and forwarding department with importers and exporters and also the issue of smuggling, the failures of the book is its inability to analyze the cumbersome paper works involved in the process of clearing and the monitoring of taxations in the systems .The problems involved in clearing and forwarding are the issues of embezzlements of public funds as well as goods seized are retained by some of the officers.

In Paul Brook's Work "Concept of Corruption and Practice in Modern Society" defines Corruption as the international Mis-performance or neglect of a recognized duty or the unwarranted exercise of power by Customs Officer with the motive of gaining some advantage more or less directly personal. Here corruption was discussed in the public service as a major setback in the Nigeria Customs Service, the book discusses way of combating these problem , the failures of the book includes the fact that it lacked objectivity especially in describing corruption in public service.

Senturia's Work, “Corruption in the National Business Organization and the Effects in Business Transaction”, analyses the fact that corruption is eminent in businesses, the book defines corruption as the misuse of public power for private gains, the book explains how corruption disrupt service delivery in public administrations and businesses, it explains emphatically how corruption started during the military Era. The book had its failures, the writer omitted Corruption in the Customs Service system.

Jibril Hammed, Nigerian Customs Service role in the National Economy Agenda, reveals that Corruption exists in the Nigerian Customs Service, Chapter 5 of the text reveals how this Customs Officers abet smuggling as they collect bribes for goods coming into the country. It goes further to say that the Nigerian Customs Service determine economic development through the collection of taxes and disciplined adherence to combating smuggling, the failure of the book is that it did not explain collaborative efforts of the Nigerian Customs Service with other security personnel like the Nigerian police force, Nigerian Navy, Anti bomb, Quarantine and so on. No man is an island, so in terms of national security and economic development the Nigeria Customs Service work hand in hand with other security personnel. Furthermore the book failed to the explain the lack of training and the lack of maintenance culture in the Nigerian Customs, the question here is .where are the Capital allocated to this course.

Richard Alatas in his work Corruption and the impacts on the organization, characterized corruption as the abuse of trust for the sake of private benefits. According to Femi Odekunle Corruption is simply expressed as social vices that are ant ethical to the norms and Customs of the society. It is a virus that can breakdown law and order of the community if not checked. While Bode Onimode defined corruption as an immoral behavior common in every society. It has to do with betrayal of trust or set standard by the society. Thus a person who put his relation's interest above the larger society, or seeks personal gain in conduct of official business has committed Corruption.

The fact that Nigeria is not the only place where Corruption exists and Corruption does not in any way minimize the harm that it has brought on Nigerians. It is a fact that people have to have to bribe their way to get even the most basic service in Nigeria public institutions.



1.6.1 Corruption refers to anti-social behaviour, it also means dishonesty for personal gain or exploitation of power for personal gain.

1.6.2 Conduct describes the way of life and manner things are carried out.

1.6.3 Ethics refers to the study of moral standard and how they affect human conduct, it also entails code of conduct

1.6.4 Deviation means departure from expected behavior, it is also defined as a change or difference from what is usual, accepted, expected or planned

1.6.5 Bureaucracy is an administrative system, especially in a government, that divides work into specific categories carried out by special department it is also official procedure.

1.6.6 Indiscipline refers to lack of control, discipline or bad behavior.

1.6.7 Scams means scandals or allegation on behavior.

1.6.8 Perjury the telling of a lie after having taken an oath to tell the truth, usually in a court of law, it also means false declaration.

1.6.9 Legislature arm: An organ of government that makes laws.

1.6.9 Looting refers to stealing from public coffers.

1.6.9 Sabotage means to deliberately damage or destroy property or equipment and to undermine the system.



The study will throw light on how corrupt practices have ruined the national economy and how the government can tackle the virus in the Nigerian society.

The study will identify the effects of corruption on some parastatals and organizations that collect revenue for national economic development in Nigeria, using Nigerian Customs Service as a case study.

Furthermore, the study is significant because its recommendation at making Nigeria a corrupt free country. Above all, the project will also benefit the following stakeholders:

The Federal Ministry of Finance as a supervisory body for Nigerian customs service. The federal inland revenue in service in terms of the management in the country.

The management of Nigerian customs service in its crusade to curb the corrupt practice within the service.

Finally, such other relevant organization that are in charge of minimizing corruption in Nigeria. It is also useful to history and international relations as it would educate them on corruption in the Nigerian Custom service. It would also be in fulfillment to the award of the Bachelor of Arts degree in History and International relations



In the course or the Research, certain limitations were encountered. The researcher found it difficult to select which information was vital and most relevant for the work. The Researcher also faced time constraint in the course of the research. Customs Officials also failed to release vital information relevant for these work. However, efforts were made to achieve the stated objectives.



Chapter 1 Gives the introduction of this work, the background to the study, objectives of Study, significance of study, scope of study, Sources and Methodology, Literature review, limitation of study and definition of relevant concepts.

Chapter 2 Examines Corruption in Nigeria from independence till date. Issues that would be discussed are corruption in Nigeria during Gowon Yakubu and during the Babangida years.

Chapter 3 Examines Corruption in the Nigerian Customs Service, here issues that would be discussed would be the functions of the Nigerian Customs service and Corruption in the system.

Chapter 4 Gives the impact of Corruption in the Nigerian Customs Service.

Chapter 5 Gives the summary of chapters, conclusion and recommendations.

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