An overwhelming number of Nigerians think corruption is on the rise and that the government is doing little to fight it, a new survey by Transparency International and Afrobarometre published on Tuesday, has shown.
The report, which is a result of a survey of 43,143 people in 28 Sub-Saharan African countries conducted between March 2014 and September 2015, shows that Nigerians are among the least confident about the sincerity and effectiveness of efforts by their government to fight corruption in the continent.
While 75 per cent of Nigerians believes that corruption is on the rise, a shocking 78 per cent say government is doing badly in fighting corruption.
“People and Corruption: Africa Survey 2015,” as the report is titled also shows that Nigerian only ranked below Liberia and Cameroon in the number of times they have paid bribe to access public service such as healthcare, school, court and policing.
According to the report, 43 per cent of public service users in Nigeria said they paid bribes.
The report shows that only South Africans (83 per cent) and Ghanaians (76 per cent) believe that corruption is more on the increase in their countries than Nigerians.
“When comparing the results of the different countries that were surveyed, people living in South Africa, Ghana and Nigeria were the most likely to say that they think corruption has risen in the 12 months prior to when the survey was conducted. In these countries three-quarters or more of respondents said corruption has increased either somewhat or a lot,” the report stated.
“In Benin, Liberia, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe people think poorly of their governments’ anti-corruption efforts with around four-in-five saying that their government is doing badly.
“Liberia has by far the highest rate of bribery of the countries that were surveyed, with 69 per cent of people who came into contact with at least one of these six services having paid a bribe in the past year. This is followed by Cameroon, Nigeria and Sierra Leone which were found to have high bribery rates of between 41 and 48 per cent. Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya and Uganda also have bribery rates that are far higher than the regional average,” the report added.
Most Nigerians (72 per cent) rate the police as the most corrupt public institution in the country closely followed by government official (63 per cent), the report shows.
Nigerians, however, rate religious leaders (28 per cent) and traditional leaders (36 per cent) as the least corrupt classes of people in the country, the survey revealed.
Also the report showed that ordinary Nigerians are the second most helpless people in Africa to tackle corruption.
Only a shocking 39 per cent of the Nigerian respondents said they believe that ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption. Sierra Leone is the only country with a worse score than Nigeria in this regard.
The survey also showed that poor people are twice as likely to pay bribe than rich people. Similarly, it also stated that rural dwellers are more frequently asked for a bribe to access public services more than urban dwellers.
“The poorest Africans are hit hardest by bribery: They are twice as likely as the most affluent in the region to have paid a bribe in the past 12 months.”
President Muhammadu Buhari rode to power on the back of his reputation of being hard on corruption.
During the campaign leading to his election in March, he promised to fight corruption vigorously.
After assuming duties, he vowed to prosecute former and current government officials indicted for corruption and has solicited the help of Western allies to help in the repatriation of fund hidden or laundered in their countries.
However, six months into his administration, Nigerians are increasingly becoming impatient as only a handful of ex-officials accused of corruption have been charged, although many more are being investigated and questioned by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission.