On average, Nigerians pay a bribe every two months

On average, Nigerians pay a bribe every two months

A survey conducted by Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has revealed the extent of corruption within the country.

The report, conducted between June 2015 and May 2016, canvassed 33,000 households making it Nigeria’s first large-scale household survey on corruption.

Nearly a third of Nigerian adults who had contact with the local public officials in the period under review reported cases where bribes were solicited or paid to a public official. On average, Nigerians pay a bribe six times a year or once every two months. NBS estimate the total amount of bribes at $4.6 billion in purchasing power parity terms—the equivalent of 39% of the country’s federal and state budgets for education last year.

Bribes were mostly paid to facilitate bureaucratic tasks such as obtaining a driving license or a land ownership certificate. They were also frequently paid to avoid payment of fines as well as cancellation of utilities.

Corruption is prevalent across all industries but Nigeria’s police officers were most likely of all civil servants to collect a fine, according to NBS.

“Of all adult Nigerians who had direct contact with a police officer in the 12 months prior to the survey, almost half (46.4%) paid that officer at least one bribe,” the report said. Prosecutors and judges were found to be the next most likely to request and collect bribes.

The report shows that Nigerians consider corruption the third most important problem facing their country. A particular concern highlighted by the survey is the incidence of corruption when applying for employment in the civil service. Few Nigerians believe that the procedures of appointments are fair and based on merit, rather than on nepotism or other types of favoritism.

“Corruption increases emigration among workers at all education levels by eroding living conditions,” writes Friedrich Schneider in his article Does corruption promote emigration? “But different levels of corruption have different effects on workers of different skill levels. At low levels of corruption, medium- and low-skilled workers leave, but once corruption reaches a certain threshold, this emigration slows. Among highly-skilled and highly-educated workers, however, emigration rises with corruption. The emigration of highly-educated workers, in particular, reduces a country’s growth prospects and can lead to a vicious cycle. Thus, reducing the level of corruption should be a major goal of governments.”

Nigeria’s National Judicial Council has protested the findings, calling the report “untrue, baseless, unfounded and a figment of the imagination” of the NBS. Nigeria’s police force has also pushed back, calling it “misleading.” However, Nigerians have taken to Twitter mocking this narrative.

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