May 3, 2012. The results of a recent snap poll have revealed that incessant reports of high profile cases of corruption, particularly the pensions fraud scandal, make Nigerians really sad and angry. As background to the poll, it would be recalled that in April 2012, operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) uncovered a fraud of over N5billion in the Pensions Unit of the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation. While the nation was still reeling from this news another scandal broke out. It was reported that there had been massive embezzlement of Police Pensions Funds, with several billions of naira diverted into the private accounts of some government officials. Following these scandals, there was widespread condemnation by the media and general populace about the government’s unwillingness to decisively tackle the issue of corruption, which has become a bane to the country’s development.
It was against this background that NOI Polls Limited, an Abuja-based Opinion research and knowledge management company, conducted the recent snap poll. Over 1000 respondents across the entire geo-political zones participated in the poll, which sought to gauge the opinion of Nigerians regarding the recent Pensions Fraud scandal and other high profile corruption cases. Respondents were asked to express how they feel whenever they hear news reports regarding the increasing cases of corruption in the country. From the results, 52% of the respondents admitted that such reports made them sad, 36% said it made them angry, and 10% said they are tired of hearing about such stories; while 1% said they do not really care. This clearly shows the displeasure of Nigerians regarding issues of high profile corruption cases that has been on the rise of late.
Respondents were also asked their thoughts about what would happen next to those indicted in the pensions’ fraud scandal. Surprisingly, majority of the respondents (37%) were of the opinion that nothing will happen to them; while 35% thought that they would be tried in the court of law and sent to jail, if found guilty. Also, 17% thought that it would lead to policy reforms and changes; while 10% thought it would bolster the seriousness of the government at tackling corruption. However, 1% of respondents were unsure of what would happen next.
In addition, the poll sought the opinion of respondents on what needs to be done to prevent the reoccurrence of this type of fraud and to tackle the issue of corruption in Nigeria. From the results, about 8 in 10 respondents (81%) were of the opinion that those indicted should be charged to court, and if found guilty, they should be punished severely. 10% of respondents said those found guilty should not be allowed to hold public appointments and positions anymore; while a further 5% said they should be publically shamed. Also, 1% each suggested the following: (a) there should be a revolution, (b) government should strive for transparency in their dealings; and (c) those indicted should be made to return the monies they stole..
Finally, respondents were asked whether they approve or disapprove of the role being played by the new EFCC leadership at tackling corruption in the country. The majority (45%) said they approve; while 33% said they strongly approve. However, only 10% said they disapprove, and 2% said they strongly disapprove. 10% of the respondents said they neither approve nor disapprove.
Results are based on a nationwide poll conducted in April 2012. It involved telephone interviews with 1,296 randomly selected, phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country. With a sample of this size, we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise – within a plus or minus 5% margin of error of what they would have been if the entire population had been surveyed.