The Nigerian Police Force (NPF) topped the list of bribe takers in the second survey on bribery and other forms of corruption in the public sector compiled by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), with technical support from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC).
The 2019 survey, which was reviewed by Dr. Adebusuyi Adeniran, a national consultant at the UNOC in Lagos, on Wednesday at the 17th Anti-Corruption Situation Room (ASCR) conference, organised by the Human and environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) with support from the MacArthur Foundation and other partners.
The survey indicated that though the prevalence of corruption decreased from 32.3 per cent when the first survey was conducted in 2016 to 30.2 per cent in 2019, the frequency of bribe-paying did not.
It showed that bribes collected by police officers and public utility officers accounted for more than half all bribes collected in the year under review.
He said: “The prevalence of bribery may have decreased but the frequency of bribe-paying has not. Nigerians paid an average of one bribe every two months;117 million bribes in total were paid in the 12 months prior to the survey. The North-West geo-political zones recorded the largest decrease, while North-Central the largest increase.
“Highest prevalence was in Kogi with 48 per cent, Gombe 45 per cent, Rivers 43 per cent and Adamawa 41 per cent. The lowest prevalence was recorded in Imo 17.6 per cent, Jigawa 18.5 per cent, Kano 18.9 per cent, Plateau 20.6 per cent.”
The report also indicated that men paid more bribe than women. It showed that the percentage of men that paid bribes dropped from 37.1 per cent in 2016 to 35.2 per cent in 2019, while the figure for women dropped from 26.6 per cent in 2016 to 23.9 per cent in 2019.
Adeniran called for digitalization of public services to reduce the incidences of corruption, which he said are more prevalent during inter-personal interactions.
He added: “Nigerians interact with few types of public official, efforts should be focused on reducing the prevalence and frequency of bribe-seeking behaviour in respect of those officials. About 90 per cent of bribes were paid in cash after a direct request from the official. Expansion of digitalization in public service delivery would help limit corruption. The institutions within the criminal justice system remain the comparatively most affected by corruption. These institutions should improve on the efforts to prevent and counter corruption.”
Adeniran also called on the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to step up its advocacy towards enlightening Nigerians on the effects of corruption.
“More educated people are more likely to refuse to pay bribes; we must increase investment in education. Attitude among young people shows biggest improvement; there is need to intensify efforts to introduce ethics and integrity-related content into the education system.
“With fight against corruption being the number one government priority, continuous monitoring is essential,” he said.