Capital punishment won’t eradicate corruption in Nigeria, says NIPSS


The National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies in Kuru, Jos, Plateau State, on Thursday, warned that the death penalty for corrupt public officers as suggested in some quarters would not curb corruption in Nigeria.

The institution said that instead, Nigeria should embrace behavioural change approaches to reducing graft in the country.

The Director-General, NIPSS, Prof. Ayo Omotayo, stated this in Abuja during an interview with journalists during the validation of the curriculum on institutionalising behaviour-change approaches to reducing corruption in the public and private sectors in Nigeria.

According to him, there were strong anti-corruption regulations and campaigns to reduce corruption in the country, adding that the measures have worked to some extent.


Omotayo, however, suggested that an engendering change in the behavioural orientation of public and private sector actors as well as other citizens, constituted a cardinal strategy towards reducing and halting corrupt practices in Nigeria.

The approach, he said, goes beyond the emphasis on law and order to focus more on behaviour and norm change.

He said, “Corruption has levels, if a policeman takes a bribe of ordinary N100 from you, that is a corrupt practice. But will they execute someone for taking a N100 bribe? So corruption has levels. And of course, I still do believe that this state is not supposed to be a punitive state to the extent of shooting people or tying them to the stick and executing them for being corrupt and it might just be a whiff of action at some points.

“So killing people for corruption practices is not something that we at NIPSS want to encourage. If we can reduce corruption to 50 per cent levels, our society will be okay. So corruption in Nigeria has not gotten to a level that we will be executing people.”

Omotayo also spoke on the present tactics used in fighting corruption in the country.

He said, “You see, if you continue to do certain things in a certain way and you continue to get the same result, then you have to review your approach.

“We have come to the conclusion that we have all the laws or the legislations to ensure that we do not have corruption in Nigeria. But all of these have not been effective enough.

“So, we thought of some other ways by which we can fight corruption. We felt that we needed to have a whole paradigm shift to behavioural change. We ask ourselves: can we get people to change their attitude? Forget about the law, forget about the order, let us start by changing our attitudes to behavioural changes.

“I believe that when people personally decide not to encourage corruption, we will be able to fight corruption without even having to resort to all the legislations.”

The President, Alumni Association of the institute, Ambassador Emmanuel Okafor, lamented that Nigeria’s previous efforts at behaviour change and value reorientation to address the highlighted challenges, including Civic Education, Ethical Reorientation, War Against Indiscipline, among others achieved very little success.

He said this was due to the fact that the approaches were neither participatory, comprehensive, scientific, nor sustained.

“These shortcomings and other challenges like poor funding, policy somersault and  genuine economic empowerment of the people must be addressed, to reduce resistance to behaviour change and value reorientation initiatives; because economic realities and legitimate opportunities are critical to both behaviour change and reduction of corrupt practices.”

The national chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Council, Yabagi Sani, who said that corruption undermines the rule of law, said Nigeria needed a strong institution to eradicate the menace.

While commending NIPSS for developing the curriculum saying that it is vital to having a society free of corruption, Sani said that all the modules in the curriculum are relevant to political parties.

Presenting the curriculum, Prof. Plangsat Dayil of the Department of Political Science, University of Jos, said that the curriculum has seven modules.

She said they include, theories and practices for behaviour change initiatives in Nigeria, and social norms approach to reducing corruption in the public and private sectors in Nigeria.

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