Crimes of the Privileged Class in Nigeria
Sunday Anadi1,* and Obi N. I. Ebbe2
1Department of Criminal Justice, Southern University at Baton Rouge, 427 Higgins Hall, Baton Rouge, LA 70813.
2Department of Social Cultural and Justice Studies, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, 615 McCallie Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37403.
Since the emergence of intellectualism, criminological and sociological studies have concentrated on the crimes of the poor and underprivileged elements of society, and ignored the crimes of the privileged class. The privileged class are the ruling class, the rich and powerful of a society. Their crimes were ignored, because intellectualism emerged from the gates and corridors of power – the kings and nobles. In effect, medieval sons were not ready to study the crimes of their fathers at the medieval and early modern universities. Modern scholars, also, avoided the study of such crimes because of inevitable vindictive lethal aggression of the kings, nobles, and other heads of state. The recent Khashoggi‟s murder by forces from Suadi Arabian government is a typical example (Chattanooga Times Free Press, Dec. 12, 2018). Nigerian privileged class are not an exception to the continuation of the medieval norm.
The privileged class in Nigeria are traditional rulers, political elite, executives of statutory corporations, top civil servants, and top business executives. The theoretical bases of the crimes of the privileged class in Nigeria are strain theory (Merton 1968), hedonism (Beccaria 1764/1872), greed (McCaghy 1976), power (Pearce and Young 1976), fear of falling from the zenith of wealth and power (Ebbe 2016), and personal aggrandizement in conspicuous consumption (Ebbe 2012). The type of crimes of the privileged class in Nigeria are multifarious, and include tax evasion, fraudulent government contract awards, obstruction of justice, criminally over-valued contract awards by government department leaders, terrorist attacks against political opponents, assassination of political opponents, forcible rape of adult women and statutory rape by top government officials and politicians, police extortionate arrests, bribery and corruption in the judiciary, money laundering, etc. The Nigerian privileged class commit their crimes with impunity, because they see themselves as being beyond incrimination.
Elite, Greed, Hedonism, Intellectualism, “National Cake,” Power, Structural Strain.