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Capacity building for the Nigerian Navy: Eyes wide shut on corruption?

Pervasive corruption in the Nigerian maritime security sector facilitates smuggling, piracy and oil theft. Building capacity while ignoring corruption risks making corruption and related crimes worse. The United States Africa Command provides capacity building to the Nigerian Navy. The Command safeguards its programme finances, but does not directly address corruption in partner agencies. The United States Africa Command and other donors should make anti-corruption measures an integral part of the training they provide.

25 July 2018
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Capacity building for the Nigerian Navy: Eyes wide shut on corruption?

Main points

  • Corruption is pervasive in the Nigerian maritime security sector and facilitates the very crimes that the Navy should be countering, such as smuggling, piracy, and oil theft.
  • Due to the fragile situation in the Gulf of Guinea, there is considerable international support for the Nigerian security sector in the form of equipment and capacity building, including through the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM). Two key AFRICOM programmes involved in Nigerian maritime security are the Africa Partnership Station (APS) and Africa Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership (AMLEP).
  • While AFRICOM safeguards procurement processes and other aspects of its programme finances, it does not otherwise address corruption in the Nigerian maritime security sector. By building capacity while ignoring corruption, foreign partners risk professionalising corrupt actors and thereby aggravating corruption in the sector.
  • AFRICOM and others supporting the sector should revisit their approach and address corruption more openly with their Nigerian partners.

Cite this publication

Østensen, Å.; Brady, S.; Schütte, S.; (2018) Capacity building for the Nigerian Navy: Eyes wide shut on corruption?. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Issue 2018:4)

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Åse Gilje Østensen
Sheelagh Brady

Dr. Sofie Arjon Schütte leads U4’s thematic work on the justice sector, including specialised institutions like anti-corruption agencies and courts. Previously, she worked for the Partnership for Governance Reform in Indonesia and the Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission and has conducted workshops and short-term assignments on corruption in more than 15 countries. She is editor of the series of U4 publications on anti-corruption courts around the world.


All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)