73. DFID identifies weak governance as being one
of the major challenges to Nigeria realising its full potential.
The new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) emphasises that "governance
remains the main challenge at all levels of government" and
states that it "will be both a core theme and a cross-cutting
theme, an integral part of virtually every form of support"
provided under the CPS. The document sets out the donor partners'
key areas for governance support:
- Transparency and accountability
- Sector governance
- Capacity development
- Judicial reform and democratic governance.
Assistance will continue to be provided to initiatives
aimed at strengthening procurement processes, public financial
management, civil service reform and statistical capacity. 
Legacy of military rule
74. The decades of military rule which Nigeria suffered
"corroded governance structures, systems for basic service
delivery and infrastructure, and have hampered growth outside
the oil sector."
The DFID Minister was clear that "we have to recognise that
it is not that long ago that military rule came to an end"
and that one of the key roles for donors was therefore to help
Nigeria recover from the damage done during that 30 year suspension
] the systems that we would take for granted
in the UK to do budgeting and planning, to manage finances effectively,
simply were not there to the extent that we would recognise. You
have that huge legacy of a loss of effective civilian capacity
in key ministries [
] Part of the development challenge
has been how do you build up that capacity to manage things in
a more effective way [
The Minister told us that "the experience and
tradition of democracy, of political parties operating and having
their own internal democracy, of civil society engaging with those
political parties, is extremely young".
He believed that there was still "an awfully long way to
go" in rebuilding the necessary structures.
One of the most challenging symptoms of the weakness of democratic
structures is a lack of accountability and widespread corruption,
as we discuss below.
75. Under Nigeria's federal structure the 36 State
governments take lead responsibility, with the 774 local government
areas (LGAs), for delivery of basic services. States are not required
under the constitution to account to the Federal Government for
the use of the 50% of public funds allocated to them. Under the
30 years of military rule, many States operated without budgets
and public finance management is therefore a particular weakness.
The capacity of local government to manage and deliver services
is also weak.
76. DFID highlights that "inter-governmental
collaboration is weak, disparate and uncoordinated resulting in
poor service delivery and risks to macroeconomic stability".
The Federal Government has tried to overcome this obstacle by
setting up service delivery agencies in particular sectors but
DFID assesses that this "further crowds and complicates the
institutional landscape". It gives the example of education
where, in addition to the Federal and 36 State education ministries,
20 government agencies and institutions also operate.
77. Witnesses agreed that there were significant
structural weaknesses. Dr Raufu Mustapha believed that States
were deliberately keeping LGAs weak by preventing sufficient funding
from reaching them, despite the fact that LGAs share responsibility
for delivering important services such has health and education.
Aboubacry Tall of Save the Children told us that the lack
of co-ordination between the different tiers of government meant
that progressive and useful Federal policies, for example on health
care, had not survived the "translation" down to State
and local level.
78. We met the Minister for National Planning in
Abuja. The Ministry houses the National Planning Commission which
is responsible for the co-ordination of forward planning across
the country. He said that co-ordination was "easier said
than done" under the Federal system but he believed that
there had been a drastic improvement under this Administration;
a meeting with all 36 State Governors is now held every month.
79. Some witnesses identified a lack of a common
vision within Government and amongst the elite in Nigeria on future
directions for the country, which resulted in personal agendas
The President's Vision 2020 plan, to be launched on Independence
Day on 1 October 2009, aims to make Nigeria the world's 20th largest
economy by 2020. We asked the DFID Minister for his assessment
of the potential of Vision 2020. He believed that the Federal
Government had "more work to do" to ensure that its
objectives were realistic and achievable. The Head of DFID Nigeria
is a member of the Steering Group for Vision 2020. DFID believed
that what emerged from the Vision 2020 process would not be very
different from the previous Administration's policy frameworkthe
Nigerian Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS).
80. DFID says that "Nigeria's political system
has largely developed as a mechanism for exploiting and sharing
oil revenue, by its rulers and the elite".
As is the case in many resource-dependent countries, stability
and political power have been maintained by its leaders "sharing
the spoils" to ensure that they keep the support of allies
and limit the influence of potential political rivals. Using oil
resources to maintain political power has prevented the development
of a "social contract" between the government and the
people. Political leaders see themselves as owing their position
to other members of the elite rather than to the people who voted
for them. 
81. Dr Mustapha told us that "elites do not
believe in elections; until they are forced to take elections
seriously I do not think we will ever get any accountability from
Unom, an independent consultant, highlighted that the existence
of "cynical politicians who just do not care" was a
major obstacle to proper accountability. He believed that this
would come about only if there were free and fair elections in
which incumbents risked losing their position and which therefore
"impose a cost on politicians" for unacceptable behaviour.
82. 2007 saw the first transition between democratic
regimes since independence, although the election was identified
as being seriously flawed.
DFID says that, following the 2007 elections, it undertook lesson-learning
exercises on the impact of its support for the process.
The main lesson was that the international community and
Nigerian bodies should avoid concentrating only on the elections
as a single event; they should support changes in the wider electoral
process. DFID regards its support to the electoral process as
"contributing directly to the wider goal of improving the
accountability of Nigeria's government to the legitimate demands
of Nigeria's people". It says that it will adopt "a
more holistic approach" to its support to the next elections
in 2011, with a broader programme seeking to strengthen the capacity
of key democratic organisations, including "the National
Assembly, electoral management bodies, political parties, the
media, civil society, and conflict prevention mechanisms"
to make them more effective, accountable and responsive.
83. Michael Peel, formerly the West Africa correspondent
for the Financial Times, pointed to the weak response
from the international community to the flawed elections of 2007.
He challenged DFID's view that "questions around the legitimacy
of the election overshadowed the tenure of the new President until
an election tribunal upheld the result at the end of 2008"
He believed that few Nigerians would accept that the tribunal
had removed the doubts about the election results.
84. The Minister accepted that DFID had a responsibility
"to work with government on trying to make the next round
of elections a further significant improvement on what has gone
before". However, he believed that the challenge went wider
than the electoral system: "the whole process of governance
and democracy in Nigeria clearly needs to develop and change in
a very significant way.
The President's Electoral Reform Commission was established in
August 2007 and has presented a report to the President.
The Minister told us that the President had now accepted 170 of
the Commission's 186 recommendations and published them in a white
paper. DFID wished to see the implementation of these recommendations
as a minimum requirement in terms of electoral reform. Another
priority for DFID was for:
] the Electoral Commission to be able
to function on its own and to have a source of funding from the
government which does not make it dependent on the government
to operate on a day to day basis. That would be one of the most
important reforms that we could see and should expect to push
government for. 
Sam Unom stressed that electoral reform had to deliver
the "credible elections which the Nigerian people are yearning
85. Fair and free elections are not the only element
in a functioning democracy but they are an essential one and give
a clear indication of whether a developing country is making the
necessary progress towards proper governance. The 2007 elections
demonstrated that Nigeria is a long way from achieving this. The
political elite needs to do more to demonstrate that it understands
that politicians are accountable to the people, that political
power must be bestowed by the people through the ballot box, and
that it has moved away from a situation where power is carved
up between those with vested interests, in a crude "sharing
of the spoils". We believe that donors, including DFID, need
to apply increased pressure on the Nigerian authorities, and work
with them, to continue to reform the political system. This should
include a new and fully independent Electoral Commission, whose
recommendations are properly considered and implemented.
The inter-relationship between politics and oil wealth is discussed
86. We have made clear in the past our view that
DFID does not devote enough attention to strengthening parliaments
in developing countries.
We highlighted that, although DFID funding for governance increased
from about £85 million in 1997 to over £322 million
in 2008, the allocation for parliamentary strengthening was still
only £14 million (4.3%). In our Report on the 2008 DFID Annual
Report, we welcomed the Permanent Secretary's indication that
DFID would increase its work on building parliamentary capacity
and recommended that this was accompanied by a significant uplift
87. In its White Paper published in July 2009, DFID
undertook to do more to improve transparency and accountability
in developing countries: "The UK will commit to setting aside
an amount equivalent to at least 5% of its budget support funds
to strengthen mechanisms for making states more accountable to
their citizens." However, no special role is identified for
parliaments in developing countries; they are simply grouped in
with "citizens groups, local media, [
] audit bodies
and others" who are seen as having a role in monitoring how
governments use their resources.
88. The Minister was not able to tell us how much
of this increased funding for accountability would be spent specifically
on support for the Nigerian parliamentary system.
DFID has, however, provided significant support to the National
Assembly in the past, through its Strengthening the National Assembly
Programme (SNAP), to which it has allocated £2.7 million
over the past three and a half years. DFID says that its support
has resulted in:
- Awareness-creation and capacity-building
for new members and administrative staff on committee functions,
use of Nigeria's debt relief gains, and budgeting for achievement
of the MDGs;
- Support for passing of key economic reform legislation
including the Fiscal Responsibility Act, the Public Procurement
Act and the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative
- Establishment of a civil society liaison office
to strengthen linkages between civil society organisations (CSOs)
and the National Assembly on MDG issues, and training for CSOs
on advocacy and lobbying skills.
89. The National Assembly is bi-cameral, with a 109-member
Senate and 360 members in the House of Representatives. It is
assessed by DFID as "still developing, lacks institutional
memory, and needs assistance to build its capacity."
In Abuja, we met the Chair of the National Assembly Committee
on International Donors and Civil Society. She welcomed the support
which DFID had provided for the Assembly and specifically for
her Committee, including funding for "retreats" in which
committee members could engage with donors and civil society.
She regarded the high turnover at Nigerian elections as a serious
issue: only 25% of parliamentarians retained their seats in the
2007 elections resulting in a loss of experience and capacity.
She favoured further electoral reform to improve the conduct of
elections, and a properly independent Electoral Commission and
believed increased donor assistance for such reforms was needed.
She believed it was also an important part of the reform process
for politicians themselves to show a much greater willingness
to accept defeat in elections.
90. DFID's SNAP programme will end in September 2009.
There will be a broader successor programmeDeepening Democracy
in Nigeriawhich is still in the design phase but which
DFID says will seek to strengthen the Assembly's capacity "to
be a more effective venue for the articulation and scrutiny of
reform policies and legislation." It will also improve the
technical support available to legislative committees.
DFID expects to allocate £20 million to the programme as
a whole, although it is not yet clear how much of this will be
spent on the parliamentary element.
91. We have made clear in the past our view that
parliamentarians have a specific and important role to play in
promoting transparency and accountability in developing countries.
Nigeria has a long way to go in this respect and it is vital that
the National Assembly is assisted by the international community
to understand and fulfil its scrutiny role. We are not convinced
that DFID yet understands the centrality of parliaments to effective
governance and this is reflected in the small proportion of DFID's
governance budget which goes to parliaments. We urge DFID to live
up to the renewed commitment to transparency and accountability
made in the White Paper by ensuring that support to the Nigeria
National Assembly is a central and properly funded pillar of its
new Deepening Democracy in Nigeria programme. DFID should provide
specific support to the National Assembly to help develop robust
mechanisms for holding the government to account, and to assist
individual parliamentarians and parliamentary committees to become
92. Corruption is described by DFID as being "endemic"
at every level of government in Nigeria and across society more
position in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions
Index improved from a ranking of 152 in 2005 to 121 in 2008. However,
DFID points out that the 2008 report is based on 2007 data, so
it does not necessarily reflect the current situation. At
a roundtable meeting with civil society in Abuja, we were told
that an estimated 60% of public procurement expenditure was lost
to corruption. Tackling corruption is one of the priority areas
in President Yar'Adua's 7-point agenda.
93. Michael Peel believed that a promising start
had been made on tackling corruption under the previous Administration
and that limited gains had been made but that those had been lost
because of "a change in the political temperature".
DFID agreed that momentum has not been sustained.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was established
in 2003 and began to make an impact with a number of high-level
prosecutions. Between 2005 and 2008 convictions increased from
20 to 200 and assets recovered rose from $1 billion to $5 billion.
The DFID Minister told us that under the Obasanjo administration:
] between 2005-07 we saw about $5 billion
of assets recovered that had been corruptly purloined and the
prosecutions of about 82 comparatively senior people. I think
there was a significant improvement in terms of accountability
for people who were guilty of corruption.
However, more recently there have been reports of
increased political interference and influence over the EFCC,
particularly since the dismissal of its former Chairman, Nuhu
Ribadu, which the DFID Minister said did "not send the best
of signals in terms of the future direction of the work of the
He told us that there were "some questions being asked [
about the current Government's commitment to working with the
EFCC" and pointed to frustration arising from slow progress
in cases against Governors and a number of cases being adjourned.
94. Dr Mustapha believed that former President Obasanjo
had taken personal risks in tackling corruption but that it was
now really only being addressed at State rather than at Federal
level. It was also only officials who were being investigated
now, rather than politicians. Corruption cases were being pursued
against thousands of bureaucrats at enormous administrative cost
and with little real impact, rather than trying to deal with the
key individuals at the top.
The Head of DFID Nigeria thought this could be viewed in different
] quite a lot more people are being looked
] There are a lot more federal officials, for example,
being investigated. You can obviously take that in either of two
ways: it is good in that the net has been broadened, or you can
say it is bad and that is putting the spotlight on to different
people and off others. It is extremely difficult to say which
The Minister also highlighted a lack of capacity
in the EFCC with a shortage of investigators and prosecutors.
DFID would continue to support the Commission to build up its
effectiveness but higher level action was also required:
The international community, including ourselves,
needs to continue to press at ministerial level in particular
for the Federal Government and, indeed, state governments to take
the issues of corruption seriously and seek to move Nigeria on
to the next level in terms of addressing corruption.
95. The Head of DFID Nigeria was emphatic that "governance
is at the core of everything we do in Nigeria". It was important
to recognise that it was not just through the obvious, direct
measures that corruption was being tackled:
You also tackle it through programmes like GEMS
[Growth and Employment in States], for example, [
helps to take discretion out of the system, that helps to reduce
the number of licences that you need to open a business and, therefore,
reduces the number of opportunities there are in that process
for graft. We need at least a three-pronged approach: one is working
upfront in the anti-corruption effort; the other is helping to
build the systems; but then you also need to reduce the opportunity
Reforms to improve transparency and tackle corruption
in the public services which DFID is supporting include:
- The Federal Government's financial
allocations to States are now published monthly on the internet.
- Budget and payroll systems have been improved,
leading to the removal of an estimated 70,000 ghost workers from
State and Federal budgets. One State reduced its pension bill
- Nigeria is a leader in the Extractive Industry
Transparency Initiative (EITI) which promotes transparency of
revenues from natural resources (see below).
- The Pharmaceuticals Licensing Body (NAFDAC) is
taking a stronger stance against corruption, leading to a dramatic
reduction in counterfeit and fake drugs.
Sam Unom pointed out that corruption was now an inescapable
front-page issue in Nigeria: it could no longer be "swept
under the carpet", which was an important development in
96. We support DFID's approach that puts good
governance at the core of its programme in Nigeria. It is right
that corruption should be tackled both through direct and overt
support for bodies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
and through programmes which reduce opportunities for corruption
and build Nigeria's own systems of accountability and transparency.
However, this is a battle which is nowhere near being won: as
DFID acknowledges, corruption remains endemic in Nigeria. It is
a canker which, if not removed, will continue to obstruct improvement
in the lives of millions of poor Nigerians. We recommend that
DFID and its international partners continue to press the Nigerian
Government to prioritise tackling corruption as the most effective
route to overcoming many of the other obstacles which threaten
development in the country.
UK-NIGERIA CO-OPERATION TO TACKLE
97. The DFID White Paper published in July gives
a commitment to triple the funding for tackling corruption in
Funds will be provided to support new approaches
to gathering intelligence, working with the private sector and
the Serious Organised Crime Agency. Funding will also be increased
to the Metropolitan Police's Proceeds of Corruption unit so that
they can pursue more investigations across more countries [
DFID will provide new funding for the Crown Prosecution Service
to enable them to take further action against those who steal
and seek to hide proceeds in the UK. The UK will report on its
efforts to track, freeze and recover illegally acquired assets
] The greatest progress against corruption will be made
by integrating international and country level initiatives. [
DFID will also provide new resources to Interpol, to deal with
corruption and give developing countries and the international
community the reach to pursue those who steal funds.
98. Witnesses stressed the importance of complementary
anti-corruption measures in the UK and effective co-operation
between the two countries. Michael Peel told us that these had
led to "tangible results" in the past but had "fallen
off a cliff in the last year or two".
The Minister disputed this and said that it was not the case that
the UK was "passively accepting that corruption is just an
issue for the Nigerian authorities and there is nothing that we
can do about it".
He pointed to successes to date: the Metropolitan Police's Proceeds
of Corruption Unit had restrained almost £80 million worth
of Nigerian assets which were subject to judicial proceedings;
since 2006 there had been 24 arrests directly connected to Nigerian
assets and two successful prosecutions, including a three-year
conviction for money laundering; and almost £21 million worth
of money had been returned to Nigeria following criminal or civil
although the UK had "stepped up the work" in London
and in Nigeria, which the Minister believed was "beginning
to make a difference", he accepted that "there is always
more you can do given the scale of the corruption issue in Nigeria"
and he indicated that the UK's anti-corruption co-operation with
Nigeria would be further enhanced.
99. A key part of the support which the UK can
offer Nigeria in tackling corruption is to ensure that its criminals
do not find refuge in the UK. Strong and concerted measures must
be taken against them in the UK justice system, including the
recovery of assets. DFID has given a commitment in its new White
Paper to triple the funding for tackling corruption in developing
countries. Nigeria's endemic corruption is an obvious target for
additional effort and resources, both in-country and in the UK.
We recommend that DFID provide us with details of the specific
action the Government, the Serious Fraud Office and other UK agencies
intend to take to assist Nigeria to reduce corruption, under the
White Paper proposals.
100. Effective transparency and accountability require
a strong and active civil society. The DFID White Paper says:
The work of governments alone will never be enough.
For lasting change, states must interact with voluntary groups,
charities, faith and diaspora groups, trade unions, co-operatives
and others. These organisations can and do often deliver basic
services where states cannot or will not. They can challenge governments
to ensure that policies benefit ordinary people, including the
poorest. And they can help citizens hold their states to account.
The capacity of civil society is still developing
in Nigeria after a long period of inactivity under the military
regimes. Moreover, public expectations of government in Nigeria
are very low because people have "little or no experience
of Government service delivery".
This means that public expression of demand for basic services
is largely absent and civil society needs to be supported to voice
this demand effectively.
101. Eamon Cassidy, the Head of DFID Nigeria told
us "there has been a bit of an explosion since 1999"
in the number of civil society organisations (CSOs).
However, DFID's view is that they vary widely in their capacity
and capability and that they are just beginning to learn how to
work with government and the private sector to press for change.
DFID's Coalitions For Change (C4C) programme aims to help Nigeria's
CSOs to advocate effectively for change by bringing a range of
civil society and public and private sector actors together into
coalitions to focus on specific issues. Eamon Cassidy explained
that DFID Nigeria had tried to move away from the old model of
selecting individual organisations to work with and building their
capacity, which sometimes simply turned them into "donor
consultants". The emphasis now was on ensuring that civil
society was "strongly Nigerian-led". It was not about
providing direct funding to individual NGOs, but rather helping
groups to build their capacity to work on specific issues "around
the management of the budget, for example, around oil proceeds
] things like climate change which is relatively new
102. Coalitions developed and supported by C4C include:
- Constitutional Review Coalition,
which supports the development of a dialogue mechanism for the
constitutional review process;
- Monitoring the Virtual Poverty Fund, which monitors
debt relief gain expenditure in key areas and certain States;
- Extractive Industries Revenue Transparency Initiative,
which aims to strengthen the management and application of oil
- Northern Nigeria Water Governance Initiative,
which supports new public funding mechanisms for integrated water
resource management in northern Nigeria;
- Nigeria Climate Action Network, which aims to
strengthen Nigeria's response to climate change;
- Disabled People's Rights, which supports legislative
change and other forms of advocacy around disabled people's rights.
103. Save the Children argued that, in supporting
the development of CSOs, it was important for donors "not
to over-rely on a limited number of large 'issue based' advocacy
projects". It believed that capacity building of CSOs was
a key element in addressing the lack of external accountability
in Nigeria and that DFID should "demonstrate the same long
term commitment to building the influence and capacity of non-governmental
actors as it does to state and local governments."
Dr Mustapha told us that donors who worked with civil society
tended to focus on "like-minded people in and around Abuja"
and believed that they needed to engage more with people in remoter
areas "who do not have e-mail addresses".
The Minister rejected this claim and pointed to DFID support
for rural co-operatives.
104. Civil society is an essential pillar in the
transparency and accountability structure of any country. Given
Nigeria's challenges of endemic corruption and huge inequality
in access to basic services, the role of the country's non-governmental
sector in voicing demand for services, securing a fair share of
resources and ensuring public money is not stolen or wasted, are
central to the country's development. We believe that DFID is
right to provide strong support to Nigerian civil society. In
such a large and diverse country, it is however important to ensure
that this support is not just provided to the high profile, educated
and largely middle-class organisations in the cities. Under-represented
sections of society, in rural and remote areas, are most likely
to be the poor and marginalised people who have the greatest need
for services and the least access to ways of voicing this need.
We request that DFID, in response to this Report, provides us
with more details on the ways in which it aims to support civil
society, and in particular organisations which represent the interests
of people living in more remote areas, who do not have access
to the internet and other information networks.
139 Ev 52 Back
Country Partnership Strategy 2009-13, Executive Summary, paras
4-6 and 11 Back
Ev 57 Back
Qq 117, 148 Back
Q 148 Back
Q 156 Back
Ev 92 Back
Ev 87 Back
Q 11 Back
Q 56 Back
Qq 2-3 Back
Q 147 Back
Ev 87 Back
Ev 87 Back
Q 13 Back
Q 49 Back
Ev 57 Back
Ev 57 Back
Ev 57 Back
Ev 54 Back
Ev 58 and Q 50 Back
Q 148 Back
Ev 57 Back
Q 149 Back
Q 12 Back
See First Report of Session 2007-08, DFID Annual Report 2007,
HC 64-I, paras 63-66 Back
Second Report of Session 2008-09, DFID Annual Report 2008,
HC 220-I, paras 97-100 Back
Eliminating World Poverty: Building our Common Future,
DFID White Paper, 6 July 2009, Cm 7656, para 7.18 Back
Q 151 Back
Ev 58 Back
Ev 58 Back
Q 152 Back
Ev 58 Back
Q 153 Back
Ev 55 Back
Ev 59 Back
Q 5 Back
Country Partnership Strategy 2009-13, para 3 Back
Q 157 Back
Ev 59 and Q 157 Back
Q 157 Back
Q 14 Back
Q 159 Back
Q 157 Back
Q 157 Back
Q 159 Back
Ev 59 Back
Qq 14,19, 21 Back
Eliminating World Poverty: Building our Common Future, paras
Qq 21-24 Back
Q 162 Back
Q 160 Back
Q 161 Back
Eliminating World Poverty: Building our Common Future, para 7.40 Back
Ev 87 Back
Q 165 Back
Ev 58 Back
Q 165 Back
Ev 107 Back
Ev 81 Back
Q 48 Back
Q 163 Back