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A Cancer of Corruption steals Nigerian Oil, Weapons & Lives| Watch the PBS Documentary



We are saddened each time we watch or read investigative reports on Nigeria. While it may be easy to accuse the foreign press of misrepresenting our great nation, in some cases, they are spot on.

PBS is currently running a series a week-long series “Nigeria: Pain and Promise“.

The part of the series focuses on “How a cancer of corruption steals Nigerian oil, weapons and lives

In Nigeria, where corruption is part of daily life, police officers routinely demand bribes, local government leaders pocket money meant for schools and the former national security advisor is accused of stealing billions from the military. As part of a week-long series “Nigeria: Pain and Promise,” special correspondent Nick Schifrin reports on the challenges of fighting corruption.

Below is the full transcript courtesy PBS
Click to visit their site

GWEN IFILL: We return again to our continuing series this week, “Nigeria: Pain and Promise.”

Tonight, special correspondent Nick Schifrin looks at corruption in the oil-rich nation, from allegations against the former government down to the police on the streets.

NICK SCHIFRIN: On the streets of Lagos, there is a saying: Every day is for the thief.

Godwin Ekpo’s thief was supposed to be his protector.

Do the police often ask for money?

GODWIN EKPO, Nigeria: They are still coming in Nigeria here, that police are taking money from people by force.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Godwin drove a taxi called a tricycle. Last month, the police officer stopped him to demand a bribe.

GODWIN EKPO: He requested for 2,000 naira.

NICK SCHIFRIN: That is about $10, what Godwin would have made working as a taxi driver that morning.

GODWIN EKPO: So, I say I’m coming from the church with my family.

NICK SCHIFRIN: He was with his wife and their three children. He refused to pay.

GODWIN EKPO: All of a sudden, I heard a gunshot twice. And now I went down, holding my jaw like this. And the blood was just gushing out.

NICK SCHIFRIN: So, the bullet came right through there?

GODWIN EKPO: Right through here.

NICK SCHIFRIN: The officer had shot him for refusing to pay $10.

GODWIN EKPO: What gave him the audacity to shoot the gun to innocent people? We were not robbers.

KEMI OKENYODO, Activist: The perception has been that the police is corrupt. You can abuse the rights of the average citizen.

NICK SCHIFRIN: Kemi Okenyodo studies police corruption. She says low salaries and a culture of impunity has led to this.

Videos on local media show police officers inside people’s cars demanding money.

MAN: Settle us. Give us the 10,000 naira.

GODWIN EKPO: The officer exhibits no shame. His victims reveal no surprise.

MAN: This is the number of the ATM. This is the code.

MAN: I don’t have 2,000 naira. I don’t have more than 2,000.

NICK SCHIFRIN: In Nigeria, this is daily life.

For some, when the person asking for money has a club or a gun, bribes are more like ransoms.

KEMI OKENYODO: The low-level corruption makes it worse, when you come in contact with police officers, when you go and report a case, and a case can easily be turned against the person that has come to report.

NICK SCHIFRIN: In Nigeria, the corruption is, sadly, everywhere. Shopkeepers here say police preside over a market for fake medicine. I have been asked for bribes by police officers, by soldiers, by airport security officers behind the X-ray machine. In Nigeria, the cancer of corruption has been spreading for years.

Often, it starts in childhood. The Kuletu school in Bauchi state looks like many rural Nigerian schools. This is the second grade classroom. No desks. No chairs. No pencils. No books.

MUSA MUHAMMAD, Principal: How can a student who sits on the ground listen to the teacher attentively?

NICK SCHIFRIN: Principal Musa Muhammad points out this is mostly not about poverty. The 2014 federal education budget was $2.4 billion. Mohammed accuses the government of pocketing money that’s supposed to educate children.

MUSA MUHAMMAD: The selfishness of some of the leaders — I cannot say all of them, but some, they have selfishness.

NICK SCHIFRIN: So, this was built in 2009?


NICK SCHIFRIN: He’s been asking the local government to fix this classroom. The wind blew the roof off six years ago.

The contractor used this wood instead of the wood they were supposed to use?

MUSA MOHAMMAD: Yes. They were supposed to use two-by-four. They used two-by-two.

NICK SCHIFRIN: The thinness of this wood, this is why the roof came down?

MUSA MOHAMMAD: That’s it. That’s it.

NICK SCHIFRIN: So, they’re keeping a part of the money they’re supposed to use.

MUSA MOHAMMAD: Yes. That’s true.

NICK SCHIFRIN: And they’re putting it in their pockets.

MUSA MOHAMMAD: Yes. That’s it. That’s actually what happened. And there is no follow-up on government.

NICK SCHIFRIN: Is that because the government is in on it?

MUSA MOHAMMAD: That’s it. That’s the problem.

NICK SCHIFRIN: Why is there not money coming to these schools?

SYLVESTER YIBIS, Human Rights Activist: It’s corruption from our leaders.

NICK SCHIFRIN: Sylvester Yibis is a local human rights campaigner. He accuses government officials of theft.

SYLVESTER YIBIS: During their campaign, they will say all sorts of promises, when they come on board, they will do this, they will do that.

But, at the end of the day, they will loot our money to foreign countries.

NICK SCHIFRIN: You might think a man who travels with people who call him king, who drives around with a police escort, and who rides in the back of a Rolls-Royce limo is a member of Nigeria’s corrupt class. But Muhammadu Sunusi is one of Nigeria’s most progressive voices.

MUHAMMADU SUNUSI, Emir of Kano: In Nigeria, there’s no accountability at all. And that’s why I think the Nigerian corruption is worse in many parts of the world, because it’s the worst type of corruption. It’s stealing.

NICK SCHIFRIN: Sunusi is the emir of Kano, Nigeria’s second highest Islamic authority. But he’s most famous for what he did wearing a suit.

MUHAMMADU SUNUSI: We don’t have development, because vested interests continue to rape this country and continue to take the money out.

NICK SCHIFRIN: That’s a TEDx conference in 2013, when Sunusi was Nigeria’s Central Bank governor. He accused former President Goodluck Jonathan, former petroleum minister Diezani Alison-Madueke, and the federal government of looting $20 billion of the country’s oil wealth. In response to his whistle-blowing, he was fired.

MUHAMMADU SUNUSI: Frankly, I think a billion dollars a month under Jonathan was about what we were losing.

NICK SCHIFRIN: Nigeria is Africa’s richest country because of oil. But the oil deals are as opaque as the oil being exported. U.S. and British officials told us Alison-Madueke might have personally overseen the stealing of $6 billion, the most common method, awarding oil contracts to companies owned by friends.

MUHAMMADU SUNUSI: Basically, all it does is allows a group of people who themselves don’t have any kind of operating background just to pay $50 million, OK, for access to the crude oil in blocks valued at over $2 billion. And they just take the crude, ship it out, and don’t return the money. And there is no trace of where the money has gone.

NICK SCHIFRIN: The second way to steal was by literally making oil on ships disappear. We obtained this document that shows, in February 2014, of 32 ships carrying Nigerian oil, 19, nearly 60 percent didn’t deliver the same amount of oil they picked up.

MUHAMMADU SUNUSI: Someone gets a contract to lift crude from the terminals to the refineries, and, in between, that crude is stolen. It’s stolen on the high seas.

NICK SCHIFRIN: Alison-Madueke’s lawyer declined to speak to PBS NewsHour. But, in London, where she is recovering from cancer treatment, she told a Nigerian journalist — quote — “How can $20 billion disappear? I challenge anyone to come forward with facts showing I stole government or public money. I have never stolen Nigeria’s money.”

MUHAMMADU SUNUSI: If she goes to court and if she’s jailed, for example, it sends a signal, I think, that there is a day of reckoning.

NICK SCHIFRIN: President Muhammadu Buhari has promised that day of reckoning. He was elected on a platform of fighting corruption.

President Buhari’s campaign against high-level corruption began on this street and this house, or more like this mansion. This is where the former national security adviser lives, and armed soldiers arrived here and took away five bulletproof cars, seven assault rifles, and arrested the former national security adviser for having them.

But Sambo Dasuki isn’t only accused of hoarding his own weapons. He’s accused of stealing billions of dollars from the military, when he was supposed to be supplying them with weapons.

MAN: They make money, instead of fighting the bad boys. They are not giving us that money. That is the corruption now.

NICK SCHIFRIN: This man is an active-duty Nigerian soldier. He was on the front lines against Boko Haram when he was shot through the knee.

MAN: People firing from both left and right. We had so many casualties.

NICK SCHIFRIN: He says he and his men were so short of resources, their weapons didn’t have bullets and their trucks didn’t have gas.

MAN: There wasn’t fuel in the vehicles.

NICK SCHIFRIN: You had to donate money even just to fill the truck with fuel.

MAN: The commanders came out categorically telling us that there’s no fuel and they don’t have money. They say they will either leave us there to die, or we find alternative.
NICK SCHIFRIN: It appears Dasuki had the money. This document obtained by PBS NewsHour is a request by Dasuki’s office for $47 million. A Nigerian official says the money left the Central Bank in cash, at night, in armored vans.

A second document shows Diezani Alison-Madueke’s name on the bottom. This transfer was for $289 million to the national intelligence agency. The problem with that, the official national intelligence agency budget was only $160 million.

BOLAJI OWASANOYE, Presidential Adviser: There’s no doubt that that situation is strongly linked with corruption.

NICK SCHIFRIN: Professor Bolaji Owasanoye advises Buhari on how to combat high-level corruption.

BOLAJI OWASANOYE: Because money that was appropriated wasn’t being used for purpose. That’s why I said corruption weakened and escalated our insecurity, because money that was appropriated for weapons, for welfare, it wasn’t getting to base.

NICK SCHIFRIN: Dasuki has denied the charges. His lawyer, Raji Ahmed, declined to be interviewed on camera. But he told me — quote — “All the procurements were made at the request of the military. They identified the contracts or the suppliers, and Dasuki merely sought the approval of the president.”

That explanation doesn’t satisfy the new government.

BOLAJI OWASANOYE: Those who have looted public funds are going to be prosecuted, and those funds are going to be recovered.

GODWIN EKPO: I’m feeling serious pain now.

NICK SCHIFRIN: But fixing this won’t be easy. There is a saying here: When you fight corruption, corruption fights back.

GODWIN EKPO: And now I went down, holding my jaw like this, and the blood was just gushing out.

That’s when I heard my children shouting, “Mommy’s dying, mommy’s dying, mommy’s dying.” I quickly stood up and went back to see my wife. And the blood was just pumping out. When I held her, I discovered the bullet entered here and came out here.

NICK SCHIFRIN: Godwin’s wife had been nursing their newborn when she was killed because her husband refused to pay a $10 bribe.

GODWIN EKPO: She cherished me so much and our children. She loved me so much. So, my friend died and left me. My wife that assisted me is gone.

I would like my children to be great men and women in this generation. And I’m going to train them. My God.

NICK SCHIFRIN: Corruption stole this man’s wife and these children’s mother. It will keep stealing Nigeria’s future, unless Nigeria finds a way to change.

Nick Schifrin, PBS NewsHour, Kano, Nigeria.

GWEN IFILL: In tomorrow’s final story, Nick will detail the abuse and mistreatment of gays in Nigeria.


  1. PR

    December 7, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Corruption has eaten deep into the fabric of the average Nigerian. It is not just about the politicians alone. I remember one of my former neighbors who worked with one government parastatal, she would go to work like once in every 6 weeks but was collecting salary regularly. Such people would open their mouths to say Nigeria is corrupt.. The change starts with us, finito.

    Institutions need to be strengthened for starters, there also needs to be punitive actions for those who break or twist the law. Injustice should not keep prevailing, like Mr Ekpo’s story above, it is sad, really sad.

  2. PR

    December 7, 2015 at 10:42 am

    Sadly, some will bring this article down to APC vs PDP.
    In that case, get ready to remain in the same spot / move backwards as a nation.

  3. Sarah

    December 7, 2015 at 11:43 am

    This is just sad

  4. californiabawlar

    December 7, 2015 at 11:44 am

    Chai!! why PBS?!

    At least if it was all those yeye CNN or Fox we can say it’s misrepresentation…PBS much like NPR do the best reporting in this part of the world.

    Unfortunately people will still get all defensive after watching this….Hop for Nigeria? ko jo.

  5. californiabawlar

    December 7, 2015 at 11:44 am

    At least if it was all those yeye CNN or Fox we can say it’s misrepresentation…PBS much like NPR does the best reporting in this part of the world.

    Unfortunately people will still get all defensive after watching this….Hope for Nigeria? ko jo.

  6. Tea

    December 7, 2015 at 11:50 am


  7. Mrs oluwole

    December 7, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Corruption it is not! It is a Cause! Ninu ri ri Kama je airi ogun afowo fa ni…..(when you are in the mist of plenty and still eating little or absolutely nothing, then something fundamental is wrong). One of the richest producer of oil, still no fuel to buy, it is a cause. God bless Nigeria.

  8. Mrs oluwole

    December 7, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    Why do you always pull out my comment bellanaija? It’s really a SHAME and we are praying for Nigeria to be good, is it not suppose to start from us.

    • Anon

      December 7, 2015 at 1:30 pm

      Be a bit more patient. They moderate all comments first.

      BTW, “cause?”

  9. damilola akomolafe

    December 7, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    I weep for Nigeria , I wish these stops someday. We have leaders whose conscience are dead. God please rise in your anger and destroy this mean people that have inflicted so much pain on us.

  10. Gold digger

    December 7, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    I have said it over and over again in Nigeria the word “accountable” means nothing. No one is held accountable for anything they do especially our leaders, the rich and people with power. I weep with Godwin and I am sure that police officer is somewhere else doing the same thing.

  11. Tim

    December 7, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    So sad that our society is destroyed by our selfish desires-Want to be rich just to oppress others, we need to check our mind-set. I weep for my dear nation, we have bullies,philanderers and pedophiles as leaders, people who only think about themselves and their family- they wanna be rich just to oppress and bully their neighbors;workers and common-man on the street. We need to change how we treat each other-we need to treat others with respects-poor or rich, but , in Nigeria , you are regarded as nothing as-long-as you are poor-that is the main reason why corruption has eaten so deep into our society today, everyone wants to be rich-want everyone to take bow before them and called chief or sir- the older elites-likes of Babangida,Abacha, Obasanjo, GEJ, are the reason why we are. What we are today, rotten and corrup, our nation is like a zoo, lawless and insecurity, they stole to enrich themselves and they are now celebrity in our eyes, bloggers praise and suck-up to,their family. We need revolution- Apc can’t give us the change or fight their various, we as a nation most start from our household-change our mind set, our love for money… Nigeria money come first before anyone, anything- we must change as individual.

  12. onyx

    December 7, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    With the way we love money in this country I doubt if corruption can end. We worship people with means. We adore their wedding pictures, we love their cars, their vacations, the jet set lifestyle and always tap into it and type “IJN” and “Amen”. We give them front row seats in church and ordain them deacons. This country is so immersed in that god of materialism most times I don’t know if I want to laugh or cry. Even in our love life if u nor get means as a man you’re done for ditto gold digging men too. We need to re- evaluate our standard first and make morals the be all and say all of our society and not money and filthy lucre.

    • nene

      December 7, 2015 at 3:34 pm


  13. Chynwa

    December 7, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    Our saying it for as many times aswe want doesn’t change anything. If we continue to wait for our ‘politicians’ change the nation, we willl wiat and grow ‘Metusela’ dat said; the sooner we individually choose a part of this nation’s probem that e want to solve, the better for us because ‘we are the change we have bee waiting for’. #findyourcrusade #bethechange

  14. Chynwa

    December 7, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    *to change

  15. ola

    December 7, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    I know some stupid people will come here to say is it only bad things they can report about Nigeria.

  16. Lol

    December 7, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    No but people keep saying what is Buhari doing.
    He is cleaning up that’s what he is doing.
    Too much shit has clogged up the toilet.
    If all buhari will do in his presidency is clean up I am fine with that.
    There is no money to do anything. Fool s are using $2 billion for religious purpose.
    It’s a long journey but it had started at least.

  17. Mz Socially Awkward...

    December 7, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    That man lost his wife because of N2,000. Two bloody thousand naira. Nothing said about what happened to the policeman who fired his gun at civilians… And the other policemen caught fully on camera extorting money. NPF!!! What the hell are you doing about these reports????

    • mrs chidukane

      December 7, 2015 at 5:16 pm

      The case is presently in court. The Policeman has been arraigned for murder. Dr Joe Odumakin took it up.

    • lala

      December 8, 2015 at 2:26 pm

      I was recently watching a video online about corruption in Nigeria. A police had shot a man and his wife on their way back from church over the man’s refusal to handover about £6 bribe to the police officer. A popular lawyer and civil rights activist, Dr Joe Odunmakin, took the case to court and the officer in question has been charged for murder. In the comment section of the blog where I watched the video, Nigerians lamented about the attitude of the political class. I don’t think the problem lies with the political class alone- after all, they are first Nigerians before they are politicians.
      I think we all can do something though. We can fund the cost of prosecuting police officers, even if we focus on police officers alone. We can make the funds available to people like Dr. Odumakin’s foundation or whatever cases she is helping with. God bless Gani Fawehinmi of blessed memory, he did stand up for the Nigerian masses.
      Our biggest problem though, is that as a people, we are the most docile people – ever waiting for someone else to start something. You start; others won’t follow, so there are very few Joe Odumakin’s left in Nigeria. Many have the intention to do what she’s doing, when they step out though, the rest hardly follow.

      Even from University, people would complain about lecturers intimidating them. I kept wondering, how is it possible? If you’re not timid, stand your ground without being offensive and you will ‘defeat’ any lecturer. I did it. Too many Nigerians are timid.

      As for the police force, the new recruitment about to be carried out (i believe it has to be included in next year’s budget first), the minimum entry level requirement has to be a degree. Perhaps, a degree could mean a more reasonable officer- less likely to be trigger happy.

      Our attitude to money is also wrong. I like having a lot of money, but it never occurs to me to rob it off on others. I would rather use it to live a comfortable like and help others- not to do big burials and buy Aso-ebi. I am not just preaching, it’s how I chose to live my life, more than 10 years ago. I have NEVER bought any Aso-ebi in my life. Why do we Nigerians onstantly feel the need to rob –off our way of life on others?

      Values my people, values. Look at the young ladies- many have no values. You are engaged to one man, yet accepting Brazilian hair from another- yet you have a job paying you about N50k per month. As a people, we are insatiable, greedy and extremely selfish. If something does not concern us, we throw our face the other.

      I know people earning N350k plus per month, yet they buy properties worth over N50 million. These are not politicians O! Yet, they are elders at church. I wonder where our conscience went. An Anglican priest in the UK resigned, because he felt he was no longer worthy of the role, as he had been cheating on his wife. For me, that is conscience. For the majority of us Nigerians though, we don’t have a conscience – yet we are religious.

      Women criticizing Alison Madueke, yet you demand money to do your own job. Imagine our attitude to our work? Somebody comes to you at your desk where you work at a public hospital, you ought to do your job, but you squeeze your face and frown and say you’re just helping people? Helping who? Is it not your job?
      Buhari, please we need war against indiscipline – bring it back. Imagine nurses in delta state and staff of the hospital board threatening their boss because she seized their local co-operative money. Meanwhile she did it because people refused to do their job and that was her last resort to instil any sense of purpose in the workers to focus on their jobs.
      Our values as Nigerians, not just the corrupt politicians are the problem. After all, where do the politicians come from? Is it not from amongst us?

      I tire jare.

    • lala

      December 8, 2015 at 2:30 pm

      I observed all my errors.

  18. NonNigerian

    December 7, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    if you stop corruption and stealing (which is in EVERY nigerians DNA thats why the whole world has BLACKLISTED YOU) how else can you showcase your million dollar wedding, red carpet and social media poses with your designer stuff. Please continue dont stop. Its in your DNA and will be passed from generation to generation, If nigeria looses corruption – it means they loose their identity – and nigerian showcasing materialistic wealth is your only sense of worth on this planet for ALL nigerians, so please dont stop. Continue 🙂

    • Who?

      December 7, 2015 at 6:04 pm

      So Mr or Madam NonNigerian, what are you doing on a Nigerian forum? And who asked for your opinion by the way. Gerrahia mehn.

    • Lol

      December 7, 2015 at 7:04 pm

      No sometimes I don’t understand. All these countries Dont like us yet you listen to our music, our men, our movies. Picking and choosing the parts you want. Judging like your country is any better.

  19. Koko

    December 7, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    It is called country shaming. Imagine you have five children and you keep shaming one of them to all the others and the world, not because your other children are perfect, but because you do not like the extent and type of imperfections that the one child has.

    The thing is that we have become supportive of country shaming, and it decreases our self esteem when we travel. Idiots from other countries (possibly doing much more corrupt things, not even just on street level), gain the audacity to shame individuals by virtue of their nationality. I thought with the Africa Rising story being focused on Nigeria, country shaming reduced a bit. However, it seems to be back in full force now, and all these comments are in full support.

    What should you do instead? Be the change you want to be in Nigeria, and PROJECT that change strongly in the world. Refuse to be pigeon-holed into a shitty place you don’t belong. I am Nigerian. I have too many good Nigerian friends. Yes, there is corruption. Trust me if you would only read local news in New York, Washington DC, with the Spanish royal family, in Italy, Greece, England, Germany, FIFA, you will see cases of corruption that are 1000X more worthy of PBS shaming sessions.

  20. kumi

    December 8, 2015 at 12:07 am

    I am always ashamed by Nigerian corruption. Shameless thieves. How they justify stealing is beyond me. We Nigerians should be the change we want to see instead of always turning a blind eye. In the words of Fela [suffering and smiling]

  21. fleur

    December 8, 2015 at 3:38 am

    Can we start a gofundme site for Godwin? That man suffered so much!! So much!! We have a nation of ANIMALS!

    • lala

      December 8, 2015 at 2:31 pm

      Yes fleur, please. Do you want me to or do you want to do it yourself? no need to have double funds for the same person.

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