Abuja, Nigeria. August 22nd, 2017 – The recently released National Corruption Survey report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has revealed that an estimated N400 billion, or equivalent of $4.6 billion, is paid out in bribes to public officials in Nigeria annually. The survey also found that “Police Officers are the type of public officials to whom bribes are most commonly paid in Nigeria”. Interestingly, this finding corroborates with the finding of a 2015 corruption snap poll conducted by NOIPolls, in collaboration with LEAP Africa, which also found the Nigerian Police to be the most corrupt organisation in the country. Responding to this, the CEO NOIPolls, Dr. Bell Ihua, commended NBS for its latest survey report, stating that “…It’s interesting to see that these findings of the latest NBS survey corroborates findings of our past snap poll on corruption. The strength of any piece of research is its methodology. The corruption survey by NBS goes to demonstrate the rigour and robustness of the methodology applied”.
Interestingly, when asked to define corruption in their own words, the single highest definition provided by participants of NOI's poll was the “giving and collecting of bribes”, thereby highlighting the common association of “corruption” with “bribery” in Nigeria. Similarly, the survey by NBS reported 32.3 percent prevalence of bribery, and further buttresses the position of 85 percent of the respondents who decried the high prevalence from the poll.
Furthermore, the NBS survey revealed that on average, almost one bribe is paid by every Nigerian adult per year. According to the report, it is estimated that about 82.3 million bribes were paid in the 12 months prior to the survey, and this averages out to show that almost one bribe per adult Nigerian. Again, this is in consonance with the findings by NOIPolls which reported that 32 percent of Nigerians said they would rather pay a bribe than go through the procedure if caught driving without a licence. Reflecting on these findings, Dr. Ihua further noted “the Corruption survey shows that NBS is in tune with happenings in the country. This is a clear case of data speaking”.
Figure 1: prevalence of corruption in Nigeria - NOIPolls
Figure 2: Prevalence of bribery (left hand scale) and average number of bribe paid (right hand scale) - NBS
To throw some more light on the NBS survey, it was reported that only very few bribe-payers get to report their experience of bribery to anyone, just about 3.7 percent; and this was ascribed to the limited trust in a number of state institutions as well as the poor reputation of official authorities when it comes to corruption. These findings further strengthen the results from NOI’s poll, which showed that most Nigerians (87 percent) do not report cases of corruption experienced; and mainly because of the lack of trust for anti-corruption agencies (41 percent).
In conclusion, it is worth highlighting an important aspect of the 2015 poll by NOIPolls, which found that the leading factors responsible for the high prevalence of corruption in Nigeria are: ‘Weak public institutions’, ‘Poverty’, ‘Lack of openness & transparency in public service’, ‘Quest for quick money’, and the ‘Cultural acceptance of corruption by the populace’ amongst others. These reasons therefore justify a multidisciplinary approach to tackling the issue of corruption in the country. While it is important to strengthen public institutions and agencies charged with the responsibility of tackling corruption, there are also economic and social dimensions to the issue of corruption. Finally, Dr. Ihua lauded NBS for its latest survey, stating that “NBS has attained new heights and dynamism under the leadership of Dr. Yemi Kale, placing NBS at par with its counterparts in other countries”.