Nigeria has been described as a kleptocracy of ethno-religious and political robber elites in a new book, Nigeria: What Everyone Needs to Know, written by a former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, and former US intelligence community expert on Nigeria, Matthew Page.
The book released on July 2, extracts of which were obtained by THISDAY, says Nigeria is caught in a difficult demographic situation made worse by violent ethno-religious sentimentalism. It says government and public officials in Nigeria loot the national treasury at the expense of more than 180 million Nigerians, while President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption war does very little to check sleaze.
Campbell and Matthew also states that fraudulent enrichment by the political class have increased, despite the administration’s anticorruption campaign.
According to the book’s introductory page, “However, if Nigeria is a democracy, it is also a kleptocracy, a nation characterised by a type of corruption in which government or public officials seek personal gain at the expense of those being governed. Throughout the post-independence period, wholesale looting of the state by members of the political class has accelerated.
“On a smaller scale, corruption has become deeply embedded in virtually all aspects of national life.” It says, “Chiefs of state regularly denounce this malfeasance, and President Buhari has taken concrete steps against it, but with little effect. Kleptocracy and government dishonesty have corrosive effects on popular confidence in governance. Official and unofficial corruption undermines the democratic trajectory and risks overwhelming it. It is among the most important hindrances to the country’s economic and social development.”
Page had last October affirmed that Buhari’s integrity was at stake following the $25 billion contracts allegedly awarded by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) without due process.