*NBS study reveals
*Just like 2013 report nailed EFCC
National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has indicted “law enforcement agents such as the police and judiciary workers such as judges and magistrates” as the highest takers of bribe in Nigeria.
It also indicates that 32.3% of Nigerians had to pay some form of bribe to public officials between June 2015 and May 2016.
N400billion received as bribe: According to the survey, released late Wednesday, a total of N400 billion was received in bribes by public officials within the period in review.
“With such a large portion of public officials initiating bribes, which are paid upfront, it seems that many public officials show little hesitation in asking for a kickback to carry out their duty and that bribery is an established part of the administrative procedure in Nigeria,” the report read.
“Taking into account the fact that nine out of every 10 bribes paid to public officials in Nigeria are paid in cash and the size of the payments made, it is estimated that the total amount of bribes paid to public officials in Nigeria in the 12 months was around N400billion, the equivalent of $4.6billion in purchasing power parity.
“This sum is equivalent to 39% of the combined federal and state education budgets in 2016. The average sum paid as a cash bribe in Nigeria is approximately N5,300, which is equivalent to $61 – PPP.
“This means that every time a Nigerian pays a cash bribe, he or she spends an average of 28.2% of the average monthly salary of N18,900.”
Money is highest medium of corruption in Nigeria: The survey also showed that almost 70% of the bribes were paid before any service was rendered. It also added that though money is the most important form of bribe payment in Nigeria, there are other forms including “provision of food and drink, the handing over of valuables or the exchange of another service or favour”.
Majority of the bribes were paid “to speed up or finalise an administrative procedure that might otherwise be delayed for a long period or even indefinitely”; the second largest proportion of bribes is paid “to avoid a fine through frequent encounters with police”, while 13% of the bribes are paid “to avoid the cancellation of public utility services”.
According to the report “law enforcement agents such as the police and judiciary workers such as judges and magistrates were the highest takers of bribe in Nigeria”.
“Police officers are the type of public officials to whom bribes are most commonly paid in Nigeria. Of all adult Nigerians who had direct contact with police officers in the 12 months prior to the survey, almost half paid the officers at least one bribe, and in many cases, more than one since police officers are also among the three types of public officials to whom bribes are paid most frequently in Nigeria,” the report read.
“At the same time, the average bribe paid to police officers is somewhat below the average bribe size.
“Although fewer people come into contact with judiciary officials than with police officers over the course of the year, when they do, the risk of bribery is considerable: at 33 per cent, the prevalence of bribery in relation to prosecutors is the second highest, closely followed by judges and magistrates.”
Others include “car registration/driving licence officers; tax and customs officers; road traffic management officials; public utilities officers and land registry officers”.
EFCC named as corrupt government agency: It would be recalled that in 2013, a similar report like this named the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) titled, a National Crime Victimisation and Safety Survey report, indicted it as one of the highly corrupt government agencies in the country.
That report lumped the EFCC as part of the agencies of government touted as highly corrupt. The survey was carried out CLEEN Foundation in collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation.
EFCC denies ranking making it corrupt: EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, said in a reaction said that the agency had toiled relentlessly to sustain its integrity and reputation as an effective law enforcement organisation with zero tolerance for corruption and therefore, will not allow “arm chair researchers desperate to justify a grant use the result of a spurious survey to cast aspersion on its integrity.”
Uwujaren also challenged the authors of the survey to publish the parameters used in conducting the survey and arriving at the conclusion and stigmatisation of an agency as corrupt.
“For a country with a population of over 160million, it is the height of irresponsibility for some NGO to sit in their cosy offices, design survey questionnaires and administer to their friends and cronies only to publish the result as a national aggregate of opinion,” the EFCC said.
The report is biased: “How many people in Borno, Ekiti, or Cross River states have come in contact with operatives of the EFCC to be able to make informed opinion as to whether they are corrupt or not? Which towns, local governments and wards did the survey cover? What questions were asked; what response evaluation methods were used?” it further questioned.
The EFCC said it is proud of its record when it comes to integrity, as operatives of the Commission cannot easily be induced, explaining why cases of impersonation of operatives of the Commission by fraudsters are rampant.
Uwujaren said matters of discipline and integrity of its officers are not treated with levity, adding that there is a full-fledged directorate of the agency, the Department of Internal Affairs, saddled with the responsibility for ensuring that staff of the agency abide by it code of ethics.
We have internal mechanisms to deal with corruption: He also asked members of the public who encounters any officer of the commission who requests for gratification to report such matters to its director, Internal Affairs Department at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja or call any of these numbers: 097831798, 097831799, 08036076316, 08191534236 and 09-4604628 or send an email to: email@example.com.
They could as well send a message through the EFCC facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Official-EFCC/509762239046271”.
“It is no longer sufficient for any faceless person to claim they have come in contact with some bribe-seeking operatives of the Commission, such claims must be justified by naming the operatives in question and the circumstance under which the gratifications were demanded and received, the objective being to clean up the system, if it requires cleaning,” Uwujaren stated.
Other agencies that made it to the top of the corruption list of the survey are the police and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC.
According to the report, some of the states leading in the corruption index include Rivers, Borno, Cross River, Niger, Gombe, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Anambra and Kwara, while the lowest incidents of corruption were recorded in Katsina, Ogun and Akwa Ibom States.
Corrupt government agencies: Some federal government agencies listed and their rate of propensity to bribery include the police – 33%; Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS – 26%; ICPC – 25%; Nigerian Customs Service, NCS – 24%; Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN – 23%; EFCC – 23%; Federal Roads Safety Commission, FRSC – 20% and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC – 19%.
Others are tax/revenue officials – 18%; municipal/local government councillors – 18%; State Security Service, SSS – 18%; National Assembly members – 17%; local government officials – 16%; lower court officials – 15%; higher courts officials – 14%; and lecturers and professors of tertiary institutions – 10%.
Weak, corrupt judiciary was named too: The report also identified a weak and corrupt judiciary as one of the constraints militating against the fight against corruption.
Organisations, officials and agencies that scored below 10% on the index include post office, gas/petrol attendants, prison warden/officers, primary and secondary school teachers, and doctors and nurses.
The Executive Director, CLEEN Foundation, Kemi Okenyodo, said the survey was conducted with 11,518 respondents drawn from all the states of the country and was aimed at tracking patterns of crime in the country and finding solutions to them.
Okenyodo said findings of the survey showed that bribery and corruption among government officials in Nigeria remains high.
“Nearly one out of every four respondents admitted having paid a bribe or having been asked to pay bribes by government officials before services could be rendered to them,” she said.
The 2013 survey also showed that bribery and corruption among public officials such as the police, customs officers, court personnel, tax officials, anti-corruption agencies and PHCN employees were higher in Rivers, Borno, Cross River, Niger, Gombe, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Anambra and Kwara states.
The lowest incidents were recorded in Katsina, Ogun and Akwa Ibom states.