27 Septmeber 2011
HRW researcher Chris Albin-Lackey said
Nigeria 's main corruption-fighting agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had initially "captured the imagination of Nigerians" and made them believe that corrupt politicians could be held to account. Established by the Nigerian government in 2002 the commission was given broad powers to investigate and prosecute economic and financial crimes, including government corruption.
President Goodluck Jonathan has also spoken out against corruption. This year in the lead up to April
's presidential elections he ran on a strong anti-corruption platform, vowing not to interfere in the operation of the EFCC. When he swore in his new administration in July he continued to insist that all levels of government would be investigated, declaring corruption was a "monster that we need to confront and defeat".
But confidence in EFCC and Jonathan
's government is fading. stands at 134 in Transparency International Nigeria 's annual corruption perceptions index, which ranks 178 countries in order of least to most corrupt.
Although EFCC is still the brightest hope for combating corruption in Nigeria, said Albin-Lackey,"the public face and the potential of the EFCC has started to slip [and] it needs public legitimacy to function." Without prompt action to improve the commission, public confidence may erode too far for its legitimacy to be restored, he said.