ECONOMIC CRIMES AND NATIONAL SECURITY: CHALLENGES FOR NIGERIA

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1  BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

The phenomenon of crime has existed since the dawn of time. Human society has never been free of criminal activity, from the time Adam disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden to today’s highly complex crime networks. Because human nature is rigid, crime, which is a byproduct of human existence, has persisted regardless of space, time, or age. Nonetheless, there are differences in the practices practiced by various cultures and societies.

Scholars have struggled to find a comprehensive definition of crime. This implies that there is no straightforward definition of crime. It is an unlawful act or the commission of an unlawful act or the failure to perform a duty imposed by a public law that qualifies the offender.

subject to the law’s punishment (Pillai, 2001:13). On the one hand, Adam Smith’s natural theory of law defines crime as “the violation of individual rights and man-made laws,” or simply “an illegal act” (ibid:14). There are various crime classifications and categories.

The FBI divides crimes into three categories: violent, property, and economic. Murder and homicide (voluntary manslaughter), forcible rape, aggravated assault, and robbery are examples of violent crimes, while burglary, arson, larceny, and motor vehicle theft are examples of property crimes. Economic crimes, on the other hand, include public-fund embezzlement, currency trafficking, and money laundering. Other types of economic crimes include tax evasion, AFF, and any other illegal acts that may harm the host country’s economy.

Since the conclusion

Many countries have seen significant advances in science and technology since the end of the Cold War. This technological advancement ushered in a revolution in ICT. With the world now globalized, the twentieth-century ICT revolution literally removed time and space barriers, increasing political and economic interactions among nations. This advancement created numerous opportunities for tourism, culture, and economic interaction among many countries. As a result, people, information, goods, and money can now move freely and quickly across international borders. Thus, using ICT, large sums of money could be transferred electronically across the globe in a very short period of time.

These new opportunities brought new challenges, such as the issue of economic crime and the associated insecurity. Economic

Crimes have since taken on a new level of complexity, with no regard for international borders. This has seriously jeopardized the global economy, as well as the physical security and socioeconomic well-being of many countries.

All countries are vulnerable to the negative consequences of economic crime. In the United States, daily foreign exchange transactions are estimated to be worth $1 trillion, with over $20 billion lost each year to economic and financial crimes (Robinson, 2005:5). Similarly, the UK loses $25 billion per year due to fraud (ibid:6). According to Edward Jurith, acting director of the US ONDCP, the amount of money involved in this crime is roughly $1 trillion per year. This is primarily realized through drug trafficking (Jurith, 2002:212). This

implies that the volume of economic transactions across global economies in a single day is enormous. As a result, it is difficult to track down suspicious transactions in the midst of legitimate payments.

Economic crimes have a greater impact in African countries due to their weak economic structures, corruption, high rates of unemployment, mass poverty, and unequal wealth distribution. These are prerequisites for economic crime to thrive. When youths are unemployed and poverty threatens their very survival, they become vulnerable to anything that ensures their survival. As a result, in the majority of cases, Internet fraud, AFF, and drug trafficking become their most viable options. Similarly, when corruption has eaten into a nation’s fabric, economic crimes such as embezzlement of public funds, money laundering, tax evasion, and currency fraud emerge.

Human trafficking has become the norm.

Economic crime has become a growing threat in Nigeria. A profitable stock market, a well-capitalized banking sector, and a weak financial regulatory mechanism provide an ideal environment for economic crime to thrive. Similarly, the lack of stringent anti-corruption policies has encouraged many politicians and government officials to embezzle public funds without fear of repercussions. Several politicians and government officials have been charged with stealing public funds in the last decade (Ribadu, 2010:4). Furthermore, illegal oil bunkering and pipeline vandalism are reported on a regular basis, resulting in a decrease in crude oil output. Furthermore, AFF and internet scam incidents have persisted over the last decade. These illegal economic activities have had a negative impact.

on the Nigerian economy and her international image. One of the cumulative effects on Nigeria is a decrease in FDI and a disruption in economic development. These have directly affected Nigeria’s national security (ibid:5).

Border conflicts, bad governance, ethnic conflicts, militancy, underdevelopment, and corruption, such as economic and financial crimes, are among the threats to Nigeria’s national security, according to AS Mukhtar (2007:4). As a result, the rate of economic crime poses real threats to the country’s national security.

The fight against economic crime is not new in Nigeria, but it has spread its tentacles across every sector of the economy. Though economic crime cannot be completely eliminated from society, it can be greatly reduced through careful planning.

as well as calculated measures. As a result, several anti-corruption agencies have been established in Nigeria to combat economic and financial crimes. Among these agencies are the EFCC, ICPC, NDLEA, and NAPTIP. The activities of these agencies have given rise to optimism that economic crime in Nigeria can be reduced.

In 2006, the World Bank identified Nigeria as one of 26 countries at risk of collapse due to poor governance, corruption, and a high rate of economic crime (Alobo, 2006:62). Economic crimes undermine financial institutions’ integrity and discourage FDI. These are serious economic challenges for Nigeria that could jeopardize the country’s national security. Against this backdrop, this researcher is motivated to conduct research on the effects of economic crimes on national security. security and the challenges they constitute to the anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria.

1.2    STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Since colonial times, economic crimes have existed. Economic crimes, which were initially limited in scope and given little importance, began generating public concern in Nigeria around 1984, when a decree specifying, among other things, the death penalty for drug traffickers was promulgated and backdated. Two citizens found guilty retroactively were subsequently executed, raising public awareness about an otherwise little-known crime.

Other economic crimes, such as embezzlement, tax evasion, fraud, money laundering, illegal oil bunkering, arms and human trafficking, and pipeline vandalism, quickly became more prevalent. Since Nigeria’s independence in 1960, the World Bank estimates that up to $200 billion has been lost due to corruption and mismanagement (Zero Tolerance, 2008:17). Ribadu, the then-EFCC chairman, stated on the floor of the EFCC in 2007.

’31 out of 36 governors were indicted for acts of embezzlement of public funds,’ according to the Senate (Newswatch, 2007:6). Despite ongoing efforts to reduce these crimes, the phenomenon has grown, threatening national security and long-term development.

Economic crime has also harmed Nigeria’s image in international relations. The United States has blacklisted Nigeria for failing to do enough to reduce Nigerian involvement in economic crimes. Nigeria, for example, was decertified in July 2002, and Americans were advised to “be wary of transacting business with Nigerians” (Sule, 2004:4) Similarly, Transparency International ranked Nigeria as the world’s second most corrupt country after Bangladesh in 2003. However, by 2010, Nigeria’s ranking had fallen to forty. The world’s fourth most corrupt country. However, this does not imply that the rate of corruption in Nigeria has decreased, but rather that other countries have become more corrupt than Nigeria. Nigeria’s CPI is still very low. So far, the government’s efforts to combat economic crime have yielded little fruit.

1.3    RESEARCH QUESTIONS

In light of the foregoing, this study aims to provide answers to the following questions.

a. What is the connection between economic crime and national security?

b. What impact do economic crimes have on Nigerian national security?

c. What efforts has Nigeria made to combat economic crime?

d. What factors have worked against the abolition of economic crime in Nigeria?

e. What strategies are best suited for combating economic crime in Nigeria?

1.4    OBJECTIVE OF STUDY

The purpose of this research is to look into the impact of economic crimes on national security in Nigeria. Following that, strategies for eradicating the threat will be suggested. The study’s specific goals are as follows:

a. Determine the link between economic crime and national security.

b. Investigate the impact of economic crimes on national security.

c. Examine Nigeria’s efforts to combat economic crime.

d. Investigate the factors that work against the abolition of economic crimes in Nigeria.

e. Make recommendations for strategies to combat economic crime in Nigeria.

1.5    SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This study is significant because it aims to provide the FGN, policymakers, and anti-corruption agencies with a clear picture of

Economic treason. Furthermore, it will aid in informed policy formulation and the implementation of more effective anti-economic crime measures. It also aims to add to the existing body of knowledge, spark further debate, and raise public awareness about the threat of economic crime to society. It will provide new basic reference materials for scholars and researchers to use in future research on the subject.

1.6    SCOPE OF THE STUDY

Given the breadth of economic crimes, this study focused on fraud and drug trafficking as they affect national security, with a focus on Nigeria’s experience from 1999 to 2010. Fraud and drug trafficking were specifically chosen for investigation due to their extremely negative impact on the nation’s image and impact on national security. Nigerians are frequently suspected and treated as criminals at international border crossings into other countries simply because they are Nigerians. Unless this issue is resolved, the country’s efforts to attract foreign investment and accelerate development will be futile.

The study spanned the years 1999 to 2010. This time period was chosen due to the government’s renewed efforts since 1999 to combat corruption at all levels and in all areas.

1.7    LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

The main limitation encountered during this study was the poor record-keeping practices of most agencies and institutions. Similarly, the confidentiality of information and documents was a limitation of this study. As a result, despite several visits to such agencies, obtaining vital up-to-date information was difficult. Another limitation of the study was the unwillingness of some government officials to participate in interviews. Despite these limitations, the researcher used secondary sources to supplement the dearth of primary sources. The internet was also used effectively. As a result, these limitations had no negative impact on the study’s reliability and validity.

 

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