Leading article: The price of corruption

Share
Related Topics

Talk about the "Nigerian Taliban" makes for spicy headlines, but the cause of the four days of violence in which hundreds of people have died, and thousands have fled their homes in the north of that country, is something rather different.

The Islamic sect leader who died at the hands of the Nigerian police yesterday as his uprising was crushed was certainly an extremist. His movement opposes everything from books to medicine, democracy to capitalism. It wants a more fundamentalist version of sharia law than has been imposed in many northern states of Nigeria for the past nine years. But this was nothing to do with al-Qa'ida. If you ask why this tiny minority wanted sharia applied more thoroughly, the answer is revealing. It is because the radical social welfare schemes of sharia were not introduced to address the dire poverty in the area. Nigeria is one of the richest nations in Africa, as well as one the most populous. But most of that huge population see none of its massive oil wealth.

Nigeria is run by an elite of millionaires so corrupt and ineffective they do not deliver even basic services such as running water and electricity. Disenchantment is rife, not least among the 85 per cent of the nation's graduates who are unemployed. In such circumstances extreme solutions have their attractions.

But ever more extreme forms of Islam are not the answer. Good governance is. To say that is not a pious ideal. Progress is possible, as was shown when Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was Nigeria's finance minister from 2003 to 2006. She introduced reforms and things improved. Nigeria went from the most corrupt nation on earth to just the sixth most. It was big progress for just three years. But the corrupt elite got rid of the reformer and things are slipping backwards.

The solutions have all been set out. Nigeria needs openness about government revenues and budget allocations. It needs Western governments to prosecute Western firms that pay big bribes there. It needs transparency in the procurement of government contracts and much more. But above all it requires political will, both in Africa and in the West. The elites can continue to ignore all that, of course. But the events of recent days show what will happen if they do.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Note Taker - Scribe

£10 per hour: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an experienced note taker...

DT Teacher - Resistant Materials

£4800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: A full time...

IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

SENCO

£21000 - £36000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: SENCO - Benfleet - J...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Tory whips have warned the Prime Minister that he could face a Tory revolt over the European arrest warrant  

A bizarre front for the Tories’ campaign against Europe

Nigel Morris
 

Daily catch-up: EU news, and other reasons to be cheerful

John Rentoul
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker