Aminat Isah, Abuja
The second survey on corruption as experienced by the Nigerian population has shown a tremendous decline by decreasing from 32.3% in 2016 to 30.2% in 2019.
The survey which was carried out by the National Bureau of Statistics(NBS) in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), with the support of the United Kingdom showed that bribery in Nigeria is slightly less prevalent than three years ago, as an estimated 117 million bribes are paid in Nigeria on a yearly basis.
This means that, although still relatively high, the prevalence of bribery in Nigeria has undergone a moderate, yet statistically significant, decrease since 2016, when it stood at 32.3 per cent.
According to the report, three out of the country’s six zones (North-East, North-West and South-West) have recorded decreases in the prevalence of bribery since 2016, with the North-West experiencing a considerable (and statistically significant) decline in the prevalence of bribery, from 36 to 25 per cent, while the two other zones recorded smaller decreases.
While the North-Central, South-East and South-South zones recorded further increases in the prevalence of bribery from 2016 to 2019.
The prevalence of bribery may have decreased but the frequency of bribe-paying has not. Although a smaller percentage of Nigerians that had contact with public officials paid bribes, or were asked to pay bribes, those who did pay bribes continued to do so quite frequently, where in at least one contact with a public official in the 12 months prior to the 2019 survey, 30 per cent paid a bribe to, or were asked to pay a bribe by, a public official.
This means that, although still relatively high, the prevalence of bribery in Nigeria has undergone a statistically significant decrease since 2016, when it stood at 32.3 per cent, while in 2019, Nigerian bribe-payers paid an average of 6 bribes in the 12 months prior to the survey, or one bribe every two months, which is virtually the same as the average of 5.8 bribes paid per bribe-payer in 2016.
The 2019 survey shows a notable increase since 2016, from 52 to 63 per cent, in the overall proportion of Nigerians who had at least one contact with a public official in the 12 months prior to the survey. This can be seen as a positive sign for the provision of public services in Nigeria.
Healthcare professionals, namely doctors, nurses and midwifes, and public utility officials are the two types of public officials with whom the largest share (31 per cent each) of Nigerians had at least one contact in the 12 months prior to the 2019 survey. Police officers came a close third, with 30 per cent.
This shows that there has been a change in relation to police officers, meaning that the share of people who paid a bribe to a police officer out of all those who had at least one contact with a police officer in the 12 months prior to the 2019 survey decreased from 46 to 33 per cent.
The prevalence of bribery in relation to prosecutors decreased from 33 to 23 per cent, judges/magistrates from 31 to 20 per cent, customs and immigration officers from 31 to 17 per cent and embassy/consulate officers from 16 to 8 per cent.
The prevalence of bribery in relation to several types of public officials has decreased significantly since 2016, even with the increasing number of Nigerians are in contact with public officials.
The 2019 survey shows a notable increase since 2016, from 52 to 63 per cent, in the overall proportion of Nigerians who had at least one contact with a public official in the 12 months prior to the survey.
This can be interpreted as a positive sign for the provision of public services in Nigeria.
The Statistician General, NBS, Yemi Kale, in his welcome remarks said the second comprehensive survey on corruption in Nigeria provides the Government and the people of Nigeria an opportunity to assess not only the achievements that have been recorded in the process of tackling corruption, but also the framework for evaluating the impact of related progress.
Oliver Stolpe, UNODC Country Representative observed that while the prevalence of administrative, mostly low-value, bribery has decreased, the survey suggests that the Government’s anti corruption agenda is yet to affect the bribe seeking behaviour more fundamentally.
He noted that greater efforts might be needed to eradicate small scale corruption which continues to have a profound effect on the lives of Nigerians.
He further expressed his hope that the survey will make an important contribution in the fight against corruption in terms of further enhancing its effectiveness and benefits for the people of Nigeria.
The Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who was represented by Solicitor General of the Federation, Mr. Dayo Apata emphasized on the need to fight corruption more effectively, with a need to improve understanding of its different manifestations as well as to develop evidence based anti-corruption policies and measures.
Saying that, surveys of this nature and other methodologies become imperative.
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