When Corruption Strikes Back

Corruption, we have written on numerous occasions, is part and parcel of human societies. As such—absent some unforeseen change in human nature– it can be combatted, cut down, and reduced, but never completely eliminated.

Ronald K. Noble, founder of RKN Global, emphasizes the importance of transparent institutions and proper checks and balances in helping reduce the amount of corruption.

Nigeria has faced a series of corruption scandals recently, which have shed light on the anti-corruption efforts in the country. Last year, a national law enforcement operation led to the arrest of a number of judges on allegations of corruption, and just this past April, allegations of corruption, involving $43 million of cash found in an apartment in Nigeria’s and Africa’s largest city, Lagos, led to the suspension of the country’s head of national intelligence.1

It is in this context that last week’s shooting of Austin Okwor occurred. Mr. Okwor, an investigator for Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, was tasked with investigating corrupt judges, and had received a number of threats in recent months. Last week, a gang of criminals surrounded Mr. Okwor and shot him repeatedly when he left work.

Fortunately, Mr. Okwor survived the shooting and received appropriate medical care in the hospital.

RKN Global founder, Ronald K. Noble, notes that when dangerous criminals’ enterprises are threatened, there is a significant risk that they will respond with violence. This can lead to dangerous, and even tragic consequences, like the killing of the same investigatory body’s forensic division several years earlier, and the death of a policeman who was protecting prosecutors.2 These attacks indicate that the efforts of law enforcement and investigatory bodies are enjoying a measure of success at exposing and disrupting the criminal enterprises they are targeting.

We hope that investigatory bodies with the power and mission to root out corruption continue to succeed in Nigeria and around the world, and that the desperate efforts of criminals to resort to violence and murder to protect themselves fail completely.

Those who work in law enforcement and anti-corruption capacities around the world should be commended by the public for the crucial, life-saving and society-saving work that they do.

1 “Nigeria corruption investigator Austin Okwor survives shooting,” bbc.com, 28 June 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-40438385#

2  Akinkuotu Eniola, “Gunmen shoot EFCC official investigating judges,” Punch, 29 June 2017, http://punchng.com/gunmen-shoot-efcc-official-investigating-judges/

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