ICT and the fight against corruption

Information Technology is the use of computers and computer software to convert, store, process, transmit and retrieve information. In every sector, information and communication technologies (ICT) is a powerful tool for controlling corruption.

Corruption is defined as inducement to do wrong by bribery or other unlawful or improper means. Corruption has remained one of the most complex problems that have impeded development in Nigeria. According to analysts, nothing more has ravaged the foundation of the nation than corruption.

Pioneer Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, in 2006, stated that corruption is one of the most dangerous social ills of any society because corruption, like a deadly virus, attacks the vital structure that makes for society’s progressive function, thus putting its very existence into serious perils. According to the former anti-graft czar, corruption involves a deliberate use of one’s position to get illegitimate benefit and undue advantage, which could be financial, or in other forms.

The history of corruption in Nigeria is strongly rooted in about three decades of military rule, out of 54 years of our nationhood. During this period, various governments have attempted to fight corruption through the establishment of agencies, commissions of enquiry and other tools. However, the jury is still out on the achievements or otherwise of most of these agencies.

Several arrests, prosecution and recovery of public properties have been made in the past, yet corruption has been on a rapid increase. Most Nigerians are of the view that the fight against corruption is sometimes selective while others believe that some corrupt persons have become ‘untouchable’. For example, Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) stated in 2008 that the country’s political leaders have perfected the art of successfully evading justice.

The Nigerian maritime sector is not immune to this malaise. Many believe that the sector’s growth has been tragically stunted by the avarice and corrupt tendencies of its drivers.

In view of the above listed and other related reasons, it is necessary to seek other approaches of preventing or fighting corruption. One of such measures is the adoption of ICT.

Generally, ICT has become essential in controlling corruption as it operates by shining a bright light on institutional processes. ICT enhances transparency while offering opportunities for easier access to public records and establishing linkage among geographically separated systems for better accountability. It has been successfully used to control or at least minimize corruption in developed countries of the world.

Information communication technology provides powerful tools that can be used to curb, control and eliminate corruption in the maritime sector. Therefore, all government agencies operating in the sector as well as other stakeholders must as a matter of priority, begin to deploy ICT in executing their briefs and in interfacing with their publics.

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