In Nigeria, just like in many parts of the world, corruption is mainly associated with men who for centuries have dominated leadership and professional fields. In the last five decades of Nigeria's independence, all the most notorious cases of corruption were associated with men holding important political and professional positions. The reasons for this include the number of women holding important positions which was insignificant, the long period of military dictatorship, the high percentage of illiterates among women and of course the predominance of poverty within the vast population of Nigerian women. But, the transition to democracy in 1999 seem to have changed things a little bit. Since that time Nigeria has a sizeable number of women in very important positions; both in government and the private sector. We have witnessed two finance ministers who are women, women head of Nigerian stock exchange, petroleum minister, head of security and exchange commission, information minister, chief judge of the federation, deputy governors, ambassadors, award winning authors, chief executive of banks, senators, just to mention a few. Worldwide, there is now some level of agreement that the long held belief that increased participation of women in government reduces corruption is less true; indicating that corruption is gender neutral.
The issue of corruption among Nigerian women has become more prominent at this period in time, when some notable cases of corruption among Nigerian women have become more apparent. The recent case of the purchase of two luxurious cars worth hundreds of millions of Naira involving the aviation minister Stella Oduah has taken many unaware, that a female (top government official) would have shown this senseless level of corruption that in the past was only associated with her male counterparts. The allegation against the minister did not stop there, there was the issue of tribalistic tendencies and nepotism displayed by the minister in granting international airlines license to operate in the country. Where she openly, without equity or decency, favour her own people to the detriment of others, in locations where commercial operation realities dictate that the airlines should be landing due to size of the market. Then, there is this case of Granting of import waivers worth Trillions of Naira by the supervising minister of economy Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to super rich Nigerians with connections at the top. The other top female minister that is being accused of corruption is the influential minister of petroleum Diezani Allison Madueke. As i am writing this article an agency (NNPC) under her is accused of corruption in the disappearance of some $20 million, by the Central Bank governor. There is also the case of oil theft that is going on under the watch of her ministry everyday.
The lives of many Nigerian women is horrendous, full of risks and ups and downs. I was going through a Premium Times investigative report done by one of their undercover reporters published in the Sunday Trust of January 26, 2014 when it further confirms to me the kind of hardship an average Nigerian woman have been going through to realise her dreams, in a men dominated ruthless Nigeria. Despite all the dangers involve in human trafficking for the purpose of prostitution in Nigeria and abroad, some women involve are happy with the money they are making out of the dirty trade. As the saying goes, the end justify the means, these particular women do not care about the illegality of their business in as much as they realise their worldly ambitions or reach the top of their career. Nigerian women need to act quick to avoid a new corruption stigma from been placed on them by their men counterpart, who after all want the continuation of the status quo. Or it will look like the saying that 'if you can't beat them join them' is playing in this case involving women folk in Nigeria. It is even more interesting because Nigerian women have been weak and dominated by the men folk all this while.