Problems of Civil Service in Nigeria & Solutions

The Nigerian civil service consists of a workforce of employees under the Nigerian government agencies and ministries except for the military and police. As you may well know, Nigeria is one of the largest countries in Africa by land and population. It is therefore expected that it will have a huge civil service task force. However, one would expect that alongside this wide task force would come maximum use of human resources for the development of the nation but this is not the case in Nigeria. In fact, one of the biggest problems with the country is the poor state of the civil service. This article takes a look at the major problems of the Nigerian civil service and solutions to these problems.

Problems of Civil Service in Nigeria & Solutions

Problems of Civil Service in Nigeria & Solutions

Read on below:

Erosion of Public service ethics

In Nigeria, the constitution has prescribed ethical codes by which all employees of the government are supposed to operate. These ethical codes serve as checks for Public servants and are the standards by which workers are held accountable to the society and the law. These ethical codes are supposed to indicate negative consequences for those who act against them. Ethical codes in the Nigerian constitution include impartiality, transparency, selflessness, integrity, objectivity, and independence. However, the general conduct of many civil servants is in opposition to these codes. Worse off is that those who err are often not brought to book. The disregard for ethical codes in the civil service can be resolved if the government develops policies, practices and procedures and reviews long-standing ones to ensure civil servants operate according to these ethical codes. Those in government need to lead by example by performing actions that are constitutional. The government also needs to incorporate ethical procedures into management frameworks so that those in managerial positions do what is right and consistent with the ethical codes of civil service.

Inappropriate organization structures

The Nigerian civil service has long had a testimony of being disorganized. This leads to a lack of effective management. For example, records, documents, files and other sources of information that hold history of the country in specific departments and also details the records of citizens are not well arranged or kept. Inappropriate organization structures also lead to duplication of offices and positions. You will find that there are many unnecessary positions and jobs in the civil service through the creation of ministries and departments with similar functions. This leads to a waste of funds and manpower resources. The civil service workforce is filled with workers who do not have specific roles to play and end up being unproductive. The government needs to review offices and positions in the civil service so offices and positions that are duplicated can be cancelled.


The civil service is highly over-staffed and this is a pointer to the root problem of unemployment in the country. Due to the high rate of unemployment, people insist their relatives and kindred get fixed up into positions and then the civil service has more staff than is required and with little work to do. However, this is a difficult problem to deal with because if staff are cut down, then many will lose their jobs and add up to the rates of unemployment in the country.

Unproductive work operations

There has often been a complaint of civil servants adhering strictly to bureaucratic processes and official rules to the detriment of productivity. Although the bureaucratic process is meant to help with impartiality and uniformity of work, it however slows down most functions and then leads to unproductive work operations.

Bribery and corruption:

It is sad that the most common menace in Nigerian society also pervades the civil service. This has affected the smooth running and effectiveness of the civil service because those in top positions in the civil service demand for bribes and other means of gratification before doing their jobs.

The poor condition of service

The Nigerian civil service offers a quite poor condition of service to workers. You will see this in the condition of infrastructures, work materials, low salaries, and inadequate bonuses. The poor condition of service causes peoples not to be motivated to work and not to take their jobs seriously. Salaries of civil servants need to be reviewed and upgraded to meet the demands of the present time and serve as a good remuneration for work done.

Negative or poor attitude to work

Civil servants in Nigeria are known to display a nonchalant attitude to work. The nonchalant attitudes of workers can be traced to poor remuneration, poor working conditions and the absence of punishment and penalties for the erring workers. There needs to be a reinforcement of penalties for civil servants who are negligent of their duties.


Nigeria suffers great insecurity in different parts of the country due to terrorism, kidnapping and robbery. All of these add up to political, economic and social instability. For example, the security challenges experienced in Nigeria has its toll on economic activities in the country in areas such as trading, farming, etc which in turn causes inflation and affects the national economy. When there is a high level of insecurity in the society, it becomes almost impossible to maintain a good quality of service among the people, not only, but especially in affected areas.

Lack of training

Most times, Nigerian civil servants do not get to undergo adequate training in their respective fields. This is seen in the quality of service they put out. The Nigerian government needs to make it compulsory that every member of the civil service undergoes adequate training and keep learning with special courses. This is one way to address the ineptitude of most civil servants.

Tribalism, favouritism and nepotism

In Nigeria, much impartiality is practised in the appointment of personnel to job roles and positions. Some will favour people of their tribe or kindred even if they are unqualified for the job. The civil service cannot deliver the quality of service needed to push the country forward if the hire is made on the basis of who knows who.

Political interference

There needs to be independent of the civil service so that workers can carry out functions without the interference of politicians. Many people get into position in the civil service by bribing politicians, they then become puppets to those in government and cannot carry out their roles independently. All these are hindrances to the effectiveness of the Nigerian civil service.


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