Nigeria's civil service: An engine of corruption By Isa Ali Pantami

Isa Ali Pantami

The prophetic parable of the sinking ship, which has been adopted as a divine framework for x-raying Nigeria’s sinking in the ocean of disaster has aptly captured our civil service in the Federal, State and Local government levels as the engine of corruption which helps negatively in sinking Nigeria in this self-inflicted disaster.

Our Lord has enunciated that whatever ugly situation we find ourselves in is a result of what our hands perpetrate in corrupt practices. Our Lord says: And whatever disaster strikes you, it is because of what your hands have earned (of corruption and evil deeds). And He (Lord) pardons much (Q42:30).

The civil service, an integral component of societal development in the developed countries of the world, has been converted to an engine of corruption in our darling Nigeria. Civil servants in sincere and/or developed countries are people of knowledge, integrity, discipline, justice, experience, dedication, honesty, commitment and trust. They are the engine of industrialisation and development, while the reverse is the case in Nigeria. Civil servants in our darling Nigeria are the architects of corruption; they design for political appointees and executive officers how to loot resources. Civil servants are the quantity surveyors of corruption; they quantify the amount to be looted. They are also the software engineers of corruption; they use Java programming language, write a source code and develop an algorithm for any corrupt practice. They are self-appointed special advisers of corrupters, they advise any incumbent officer on the need and necessity of looting, on the basis of regaining what he spent during campaign or lobbying. They are the forensic accountants of corrupters; they illegally, but professionally guide them on how to save their ill-gotten money without being traced or intercepted by the EFCC, ICPC or any other commission locally and/or internationally.  They are the lawyers of corrupters, they directly or indirectly protect and represent any corrupter before any Court or Commission of enquiry. They are the medical doctors of corrupters; they diagnose their monetary allocations/budget and prescribe the actual time of looting and amount to be looted. And they are the engineers of corruption, because no any successful looting and corrupt practice will be achieved without their “unofficial official intervention” in the process. They are indeed experts and professionals in this disaster of corruption, and this legally, but shamefully promoted them to the position of “engine” in the mechanical structure of corruption.

Corruption is a fundamental component of injustice, and no society will progress if  its leaders are corrupt and mischievous. I was terribly heartbroken psychologically yesternight, when I sincerely asked a group of people about four senior civil servants in the Federal government differently. “Can you please tell me only one permanent secretary whom you believe cannot loot, partake or assist in looting or perpetrating corruption?” I asked. They all replied “NO”, and even added that we can’t find any senior civil servant or director not involved in corruption, not to talk of permanent secretaries.

However, I personally believe we have very few honest officials but are insignificant to bring positive change. Sometimes they even hide their integrity and pretend they are corrupters, in order to survive and escape from war against discipline, justice and trust that is being promoted in the civil service silently and slowly, but surely.

Our Lord has warned us about the dangers of corruption and general injustice, and they are the sources of any calamity, because as a result of looting resources through financial crimes, so many schools are dilapidated without well grounded teachers, and many orphans and intelligent energetic youths are out of school. Hospitals are paralysed because of lack of skilled human resources, both in quality and quantity, in addition to lack of medical facilities and even fake drugs. Roads become death traps. Potable drinking water is beyond the reach of many Nigerians. Erratic power supply has become the normal life of common people; even today’s kids consider the service of PHCN (popularly known as NEPA) is to cut off power supply, not to provide it. Stand-by generators have replaced stand-out power supply, always causing environmental/air pollution and physiological trauma. Hmm, nobody cares for our darling Nigeria.

Corruption is one of the most dangerous calamities to befall Nigerians. Believe me there is no profession in our country that is free of corruption. Corrupt practices have been institutionalised and adopted in the executive, judicial and legislative arms of government, journalism, politics, academia, security agencies and even religious institutions and scholarship. However, my sincere apology goes to the few incorruptible and sincere people who have maintained their integrity in spite of the temptations around them. I don’t know them, but I believe my Lord knows them. I supplicate to Him, to bless them with the gardens of Heaven, ameen. Peace and blessings be upon them in this world and in the next, ameen.

The Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) says: Any flesh that grows from ill-gotten gains (corrupt practices) will definitely be in the Hell-fire (Saheehul-Jamee: 4495).  In explaining the above prophetic verdict, a renowned scholar of spiritual diseases, His eminence Dr Saleeh Almunajjid opined in his book entitled, “Almuharramat istahaana bihin Nas”, the person who does not fear his Creator does not care where he earns his money or how he spends it; his only concern is to increase his account balance, even if it is ill-gotten by means of theft, bribery, extortion, forgery, selling unlawful commodities, usury, consuming orphans’ wealth, earning from fortune-telling, immorality, looting from treasury or public property, taking people’s money by coercion and  begging when one is not in serious need, etc.

Consequently, Dr Saleeh emphasised that when he buys food, clothing and transportation with this ill-gotten money, and builds houses and furnishes it, and fills his stomach with the illegitimate money from looting, definitely he will be in hell-fire on the Judgment Day. On that Day, every person will definitely be questioned on how he earned money in this world, and on what he spent it, and there will be an atmosphere of doom and loss.

Finally, anyone who has money from an illegal source should hasten to return it and ask for forgiveness before there comes a Day in which Sterling Pounds, Euros, dollars and naira will be of no avail, and all that counts will be good actions attained through legal resources, sincerity and sacrifice.  May our Lord enrich us with lawful resources that are beneficial to us and the entire mankind in this world and in the hereafter. And may He rescue our sinking Nigeria from drowning ultimately, ameen.

Mr. Pantami (, an Islamic cleric, is a lecturer at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, and PhD Candidate (Computing & IT) in the United Kingdom


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