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  • Background of the study

Assessing the Impact of the Media in Checking Economic Crime (A Case Study of EFCC Activities). This study is aimed at the impact the media has made in checking economic crime which has brought to the activities of EFCC in Nigeria.

Fraudulent activities, economic mismanagement, corruption, lack of accountability and transparency have been the bane of the economy. Fraud and criminality remained elusive and therefore brought inefficiency in the system, especially in the public sector.

This menace lead to the establishment of EFCC in 2002 by an Act of the National Assembly which was later amended in 2004. It was borne out of the determination of the Federal Government to root out corruption and sanitize the Nigerian economic environment by enforcing all economic and financial crimes laws.

The Act mandates the EFCC to combat financial and economic crimes and the Commission is empowered to prevent, investigate, prosecute and penalize economic and financial crimes. Also, the EFCC is charged with and has been investigating cases of abuse of office, diversion of public funds through fraudulent award of contracts, tax fraud, illegal bunkering, terrorism financing, capital market fraud, cybercrime, banking fraud, etc.

The mass media are powerful tools in information dissemination. This includes broadcasting the activities of the anti-corruption. These activities are seen mostly on the pages of newspapers hence, it makes newspaper a powerful tool of mass communication. There is a total system collapse in Nigeria with regards to corruption. (Adegbamigbe, 2012).

According to Salisu (2000:68), the simplest definition of corruption is that ‘it is the misapplication of public resources to private ends’. For example, public officials may collect bribes for issuing passports or visa, for providing permits and licenses, for authorising passage of goods at sea/airport, for awarding contracts or for enacting regulations designed to create artificial scarcity.

Macrae (1982:28) on the other hand sees corruption as “an arrangement that involves an exchange between two parties (the demander and the supplier) which (i) has an influence on the allocation of resources either immediately or in the future; and (ii) involves the use or abuse of public or collective responsibility for private ends.” Sternberg (2000:43) relates corruption with bribe when he states that a “bribe is an incentive offered to encourage someone to break the rules of the organization he nominally represents and deliver an (unfairly) favorable outcome.”
Corrupt acts are regarded as criminal by many high-income countries because the bribe-recipient’s betrayal of trust with his employer, when practiced systemically by high-ranking public officials, compromises the “development of fair and efficient markets” (Boatright, 1999)

Corruption remains a symptom of a poorly functioning state as witnessed in most developing countries such as Nigeria. Indeed, those who give and receive bribes can drain a nation’s wealth; leaving little for its poorest citizens. Highly corrupt countries like Nigeria often face particular challenges even when controlled by reform-minded rulers.

The history of corruption in Nigeria is strongly rooted in the over 29 years of military rule. All the military regimes subdued the rule of law, facilitated the looting of the public treasury, prohibited free speech and instituted a secret culture in the running of government business. The period of military regime witnessed a total reversal and destruction of every good thing in the country (Ribadu, 2006). Corruption became the leading guiding principle for running affairs of the country. When military seized power from democratically elected governments, pervasive corruption was cited as the justification. It is clear that military regimes were worse than the civilian regimes as far as corruption was concerned.

During democratic process, political activities assumed a dangerous dimension as contestants see their victory as the ticket to loot and amass wealth. The civilian administration of 1979 – 1983 was bedeviled with wanton waste, political thuggery and coercion, disrespect for the rule of law and free for all looting of public funds through white elephant projects. Despite the presence of EFCC, ICPC and other enforcement agencies during Obasanjo’s regime, the administration was not spared of corrupt acts.

A critical element of a country’s anti-corruption program is an effective media. Media in this case is either Print or Broadcasting Media. The media raises public awareness about corruption, its causes, consequences and possible remedies. The persistence of Transparency International (2002) in setting Nigeria among the bottom five nations in its annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) since 1995 is an indication that media has not performed this role effectively (Sowumi, et al 2012).

The root of this study is to ascertain the volume of coverage and direction of stories concerning anti-corruption campaign in Nigeria by Sun and Vanguard newspapers.  This is to examine how the media through their coverage, are helping to fight corruption by enlightening the public on economic crime activities.


1.2     Statement of Research Problems

The negative impacts of corruption in the live of nations throughout the world can be seen by a blind person. Corruption is perhaps the most important factor that is impeding the accelerated socio-economic transformation of developing or less developing countries (LDCs) of the world. Infact, it is recognised by development scholars that the level of reduction in corruption has a very direct link to the level of economic development of nations in the world.

The media have been identified a very important weapon to fight the scourge of corruption worldwide. In Nigeria, the independent press, by which we refer to the newspapers and the newsmagazines, have been actively involved in checking the excesses of governments and as well as others in positions of authorities. Of course, the story of the Nigerian mass media, especially the printed press, can be said to be a story of struggle since the the late nineteenth century when the first newspaper Iwe Iroyin Yoruba was established in Abeokuta, present day Ogun State. The coming of newspapers like the Comet of Mr. Ali, the Egyptian, the West African Pilot founded by the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and later the Nigerian Tribune of late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, among others, notched up the opposition to colonial struggle especially against perceived undue dominance, bad governance, injustice and corruption of the time.

It is true that corruption is a worldwide phenomenon, elements of corruption are found in almost all countries of the world. However, it must be said that the incidences of corruption are much more prevalent in developing countries like Nigeria. As noted by Anderson, James H. et al (1999) in ‘The Impact of Corruption on the Poor in Transition Countries’, “The conditions of these countries are such that corruption is likely to have different causes and consequences than in more developed countries. The socio-economic conditions in low income countries are more conducive to the growth of corruption. Corruption is a symptom of deep-rooted economic and political weaknesses and shortcomings in the legislative and judicial system of the country. To aggravate the situation, accountability in these countries is generally weak, the chances of being caught are small and the penalties when caught are light”

Journalists must be well equipped with adequate Investigative Journalism skills in order to navigate the complex web of highly sophisticated corruption crimes. Since corruption perpetrators are more often than not the highly positioned individuals, journalists must have the necessary training to obtain facts and figures to blow whistle on corrupt practices.

Therefore, this research seek to determine the level at which print media cover the economic crime issue between 1st May 2015 – 30th April 2016 using Sun and Vanguard Newspapers as a case studies.


1.3     Objectives of the Study

The basic objective of this study is to determine the impact of the media in checking economic crime in Nigeria. Specifically, the study seeks:

  1. To determine which print media cover more volume of corruption issues between selected newspapers.
  2. To ascertain the story types/column area (cover page, back page, full page, etc) in which the anti-corruption activities are presented in the Sun and Vanguard Newspapers.
  3. To find out if the selected newspapers give one side stories about corruption.
  4. To determine whether the selected newspapers give reputation fact about corruption story in Nigeria generally.


1.4     Significance of the Study

The study will be of immense important to both the Nigerian media and the masses who are of course the media consumers. The media are conventionally said to be the watch dog of the society who not only entertain but enlighten and inform on what is happening near and far.

The media would hardly be informing and enlightening the public: if they don’t cover report and even broadcast daily happening, if they do not examine and investigate irregularities and report findings, if they do not create avenue for the public to contribute their own opinion as part of corporate citizenship, thus helping everybody to feel part and package of society development.

To that end, the findings of this work will reveal whether the media have been living up to expectation in the area of anti – corruption campaign. If at the end, the opinions of people revealed that the media have not been measuring up, it then requires that the next study be or how to make the media live up to their roles.

On the completion of this project the end result will benefit academics, students of communication studies and other researchers that may want to carry out further research on this study.


1.5     Research Questions

To provide a framework for eliciting solution to the research problems, it is necessary that some research questions be formulated. A number of research questions are hereby given below for this reason.

  1. What is the volume of coverage of corruption issues by Sun and Vanguard newspapers at this period – 1st May 2015 – 30th April 2016 in Nigeria?
  2. What is the story types/column area (cover page, back page, full page, etc) in which the anti-corruption activities are presented in the Sun and Vanguard Newspapers?
  3. Do the selected newspapers give one side stories of corruption?
  4. Did the newspaper give reputation facts about corruption activities in Nigeria generally?


1.6     Research Hypotheses

  1. H0. The volume of coverage by selected newspapers on the activities of corruption is high.

Hi      The volume of coverage by selected newspapers on the activities of corruption is low.


  1. H0: Selected Newspapers do not present the type of story

/column area suitable for anti-corruption news stories.

Hi:     Selected Newspapers present the type of story /column area suitable for anti-corruption news stories

  1. H0: Selected newspapers place their corruption news stories in the positive


Hi:     Selected newspapers place their corruption news stories in the negative way.

  1. H0: Newspapers do not give reputation fact about corruption activities in

Nigeria generally.

H1:     Newspapers gives reputation fact about corruption activities in

Nigeria generally.


1.7     Theoretical Framework 

Agenda Setting Theory: The ability of the media to pre-determine what issues are important gives the media an edge to fight corruption since they can easily lay emphasis on the atrocities being committed by public figures in the country. According to Folarin (200:75), ‘Agenda Setting Theory does not ascribe to the media the power to determine what we actually think, but it does ascribe to them the power to determine what we are thinking about’.

The theory is relevant to this paper because the media can utilize the elements of this theory through increasing the frequency of reportage of corrupt activities in the country; giving prominence to corrupt activities through headline display, picture and layout in newspaper, magazines, film, graphics, or timing on radio and television.
The power of the media to expose corrupt acts through the elements of this theory will go a long way in reducing corrupt acts in the country. If public figures know that their corrupt acts will be giving a lot of publicity, they are likely to have a rethink before stealing public funds.


1.8     Scope of the Study

The scope of this study tries to take a holistic view of the activities of EFCC in Nigeria and how these can help improve financial accountability and transparency. It embraces their operations both in the public and private sectors with the aim of improving financial efficiency.

(A Content Analytical Study of the Sun and Vanguard Newspapers 1st May 2015 – 30th April 2016).

1.9     Definition of Terms

It is important to give a brief definition of the following key terms, in order to know the meaning of the key concept and some words in this research.

Conceptual Definition of Terms

Media: Media is the plural form of medium. Medium means that by which something is expressed.

Campaign: Series of planned activities to gain s special object.

Assessment: This means the amount assess. To assess means to decide or fix the value of something.


Operational Definition of Terms

Media: It is the same as mass media. The mass media are the modern channels of mass communication used to disseminate news, and information to every diverse cum large number of people simultaneously” (Ukozor, 2003) they are the electronic media (Radio television and films) and print media (Newspapers, magazines and books)

Assessment: Studying in order to find a definite statistical value attached to a particular thing. It also means to check the value or rating of a thing.

Campaign: Series of media activities geared towards achieving a particular goal or publicity. It can be inform of programme whether in broadcast or in print.



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