Strategic technical assistance to Nigerian anti-corruption agencies will contribute to stronger disincentives to loot public funds
Corruption is endemic in Nigeria and presents serious challenges and risks to the development and future of the country. Corruption in the public sector has been on a grand scale, with embezzlement and diversion of public funds its most common forms. Studies suggest that public funds of between US$300 and US$400 billion have been lost to corruption since Nigeria became independent in 1960.
The cost of corruption to the country’s growth and development has been enormous. It has created weak government institutions and structures, and undermined democracy and good governance, by subverting the rule of law, reducing accountability and corrupting elections. Corruption has distorted provision of government services and presents an unacceptable burden for people who are already struggling to afford basic necessities like putting food on the table or accessing medical care. The legitimacy of government has been undermined, thus eroding public trust in government. In addition, corruption also has indirect and non-monetary costs for the poor that are difficult to define, identify and quantify.
In 2019, DFID launched the Anti-corruption in Nigeria Programme (ACORN) with the goal of creating “more accountable formal and informal institutions that deliver better services, an improved environment for business and investment, improved performance on security (including on exported harms to the UK) and contribute to inclusive growth and poverty reduction”.
The ACORN programme has three outputs of which Adam Smith International is implementing Output 1, a £4.5m project to be implemented over three years with the aim of building and supporting enforcement agencies’ capacity and ability to detect, investigate, prosecute and convict those that break the rules, and recover fraudulent assets.