Corruption has become a household word in the Nigerian society. It pervades all strata of society, from the highest levels of the political and business elites to the ordinary person in the village. There are divergent opinions on what constitutes corruption just as is commonly the case with other concepts in the social sciences. This according to Akindele (2005) has long been ideologically, morally, culturally, politically and intellectually elusive to the point of losing sight of its detrimental and parasitic influence on people and the society at large. Divindi Citing ALUKO (2002) argued that corruption includes nepotism, favouritism, bribery, graft and other unfair means
adopted by government employees and the public alike to extract some socially and legally prohibited favours.
However, there is the need for a legal and or formal institution to at least help to ensure meaningful socio-economic and national development in any society which is hinged on state of security, which is to be strictly monitored by the civil police.
In Nigeria like many other nations, the police have been the major organization charged with the responsibility of maintenance and preservation of public peace. Effective police is therefore necessary in every society for maintenance of peace, as effective police force will make sure that members of the community are safeguarded in their persons and properties so that their energies are not exhausted by the business of self protection (Onovo, 2009).
The above implies that, maintenance of peace does not only entail the protection of life and properly but also embraces the prevention and detection of crime; the apprehension of the offenders and the due enforcement of all laws and regulations with which they are directly charged with. The assumption here is that, effective execution of the above mentioned functions is tied to the smooth running of daily activities in every society, be it economic, social and political. However, the Nigeria police as an entity is confronted by a lot of problems which invariably affect their efficient and effective functioning.
In the words of Basaru (2003) cited in worobleski and Hess, 2003, examples of police corruption vary greatly in kind and degree, but they all have key elements in common; the conduct is prohibited by law or rule. It involves misuse of position. Police corruption includes a wide variety of prohibited behavious, either crime or departmental; rule violations committed under the auspices of a police officer’s position.
At the same time, one cannot ignore the hues and cries that permeate the entire country over the perceived corruption of Nigeria police. There has been widespread concern over the state of insecurity and seemingly inability of the police to deal with the problems.
This evil (corruption) is so entrenched that it is becoming virtually part of the system. Many people who have course to deal with the Nigeria Policemen have revealed that the force harbours some very bad characters (Pekuliameesi 2005). The matter is becoming more alarming hence the routine misuse of firearms by the police in Nigeria and their complete disdain for the people has become the norm.
In virtually every parts of the country, people tend to look elsewhere for alternative sources of protection for their lives and properties. Many prefer to the keep any information that is vital for crime prevention to themselves. Many have resorted to Jungle Justices. It is in the light of the above that the research therefore focuses on the impact assessment of corruption on maintenance of law and order by the Nigeria police.
This study makes use of Anomie Theory. The concept (of anomic theory) was first used by Emile Durkheim (a sociologist) to refer to several aspects of social participation where the conditions necessary for man to fulfill himself and to attain happiness were not present. The idea is that conduct should be governed by norms, and that these norms should form an integrated and non – conflicting system. In this situation, the individual should be morally involved with other people so that clear limit was set to the pleasures attainable in life.
Durkheim was interested in the various types of social integration, social disorganization and the weakening of social bonds. He theorized that an abrupt and unforeseen growth or diminution of an individuals power and wealth tended to produce anomie.
Anomic is therefore defined as a condition of normlessness, a moral vacuum, the suspension of rules, a state sometimes referred to as “deregulation’ According to Durkheim (1951:5) the problem of anomie is especially acute in industrial societies, which have failed to solve the problem of frustrated aspirations in the face of expanded economic productivity. Anomie occurs, according to Merton (1968:247) because of the breakdown in the relationship between desired goals and the avenues of legitimate fulfillment of these goals. Stable societies are able to provide a general balance between goals and norms while unstable societies reflect a wider diversity of these elements. Therefore deviant conduct may be viewed as a symptom of dissociation between culturally defined aspirations and socially constructed means. Every group has regulatory codes governing conduct but groups do vary in the degree to which these folkways, and institutional controls are effectively integrated with the culture matrix. Anomie according to Merton may ensure as a consequence of other factors than the economic or industrial crisis. Pressures towards deviant behaviour may originate with veritable intensity at different locations in the social structure. Class differences may allow middle class youth greater opportunity for fulfilling their aspiration than lower class members
of the society. Therefore uneven or unequal to opportunities Merton believe is undoubtedly a significant factor in the fulfillment or non-fulfillment of ones aspiration. If goals and means are in near balance a relative stability of society is achieved. On the other hand, if in ordinate stress is placed upon goals, regardless of norms; stability may be challenged by disorganization. Consequently, individuals adapt their behavour to the existing imbalance between cultural and social structures through conformity, innovation, ritualism, retreatism or rebellion.
Explaining this within the context of this work, the abject poverty into which our economy has led many people to start creating a way to survive the hardship. The people now become extremely vulnerable to all kinds of social vice which includes corruption.
All the above combined together makes people vulnerable and susceptible to corruption as a result of which people easily succumb to pressures and temptations. In the words of Ake (1991) cited by Aluko (2002:47), Man cannot live without bread and this natural need for bread influences man’s behaviour in virtually all spheres of his life. If man’s behaviour is to be controlled and become predictable, the socio-economic foundations of the polity must be one that ensures a fair standard of living. According to Aluko (2002:47), corruption cannot be eradicated in polity where material foundations for it do not exist. Poverty is an obstacle, perhaps the principal obstacle to the eradication of corruption.
With the persistent state of poverty in Nigeria, the police cannot in anyway maintain effective law and order as well as waging war on corruption because if the state cannot provide the basic necessity of life, the police would continue to exploit the available means like extortion from the public to meet the necessity of life as propounded by Emile Durkheim through the theory of Anomice.
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