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Corruption in Nigeria - Bribery as Experienced by the Population

Proshare

Wednesday, August 16, 2017 10:00AM / NBS 

Executive summary

Reach of bribery 

Almost a third of Nigerian citizens pay bribes when in contact with public officials

Almost a third of Nigerian citizens (32.3 per cent) who had contact with a public official between June 2015 and May 2016 had to pay, or were requested to pay, a bribe to that public official. The magnitude of public sector bribery in Nigeria becomes even more palpable when factoring in the frequency of those payments, as the majority of those who paid a bribe to a public official did so more than once over the course of the year. According to the survey, Nigerian bribe-payers pay an average of some six bribes in one year, or roughly one bribe every two months.  

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On average, almost one bribe is paid by every adult Nigerian per year

By combining the total number of people who paid a bribe to a public official with the frequency of those payments, it is estimated that a total of roughly 82.3 million bribes were paid in Nigeria in the 12 months prior to the survey. This results in an average of 0.93 bribes paid per adult, or almost one bribe paid by every adult Nigerian per year.  

NGN 400 billion spent on bribes every year

Taking into account the fact that nine out of every ten 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 prior to the survey was around 402 billion Nigerian Naira (NGN), the equivalent of $4.6 billion in purchasing power parity (PPP). This sum is equivalent to 39 per cent of the combined federal and state education budgets in 2016.  

Nigerian bribe-payers spend an eighth of their salary on bribes

The average sum paid as a cash bribe in Nigeria is approximately NGN 5,300, which is equivalent to roughly $61-PPP. This means that every time a Nigerian pays a cash bribe, he or she spends an average of about 28.2 per cent of the average monthly salary of approximately NGN 18,900. Since Nigerian bribe-payers pay an average of 5.8 bribes over the course of one year, 91.9 per cent of which are paid in cash, they spend an average of NGN 28,200 annually on cash bribes ― equivalent to 12.5 per cent of the annual average salary.  

Prevalence and frequency of bribery at the national level, urban/rural level and by zone, Nigeria, 2016

 

Nigerians consider bribery the third most important problem facing their country

The above findings could explain why, after the high cost of living and unemployment, Nigerians consider corruption to be the third most important problem facing their country, well ahead of the state of the country’s infrastructure and health service. Public sector bribery is not the only form of corruption affecting Nigeria: the prevalence of bribery in relation to selected employees of private companies is 5.5 per cent, meaning that bribery is also significant in the private sector in Nigeria. However, the payment of bribes to public officials is the most familiar and widespread form of corruption directly experienced by the population and the one that most affects the lives of ordinary citizens.  

How bribery works

Public officials in Nigeria show little hesitation in asking for a bribe

The vast majority of bribery episodes in Nigeria are initiated either directly or indirectly by public officials (85.3 per cent), almost 70 per cent of bribes are paid before a service is rendered and, with nine out of every ten bribes paid to public officials being paid in cash, the payment of money is by the far the most dominant form of bribe payment in Nigeria. With such a large portion of public officials initiating bribery episodes 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.

While money is by far the most important form of bribe giving in Nigeria, the survey shows that other forms of bribe payments exist, such as the provision of food and drink, handing over valuables or the exchange with another service or favour. Evidence from qualitative research shows that such exchanges may sometimes include sexual services as a form of bribe payment, though the real extent of this particular form of payment is unknown.

Percentage distribution of bribes, by modality of bribe request and timing of payment, Nigeria, 2016

  

Provision of the most basic amenities can be subject to abuse of power

The survey shows that a large proportion of bribes in Nigeria (42 per cent) are paid to speed up or finalize an administrative procedure that may otherwise be delayed for long periods or even indefinitely, thus making bribery the most effective option for facilitating that service. The second largest proportion of bribes (18 per cent) is paid to avoid the payment of a fine, a frequent request in citizens’ encounters with the police, while 13 per cent of all bribes are paid to avoid the cancellation of public utility services, an indication that the provision of the most basic of amenities, including water and sanitation, can be subject to abuse of power by public officials in Nigeria.  

Who takes bribes

Law enforcement and the judiciary are areas of particular concern

Police officers are the type of public official to whom bribes are most commonly paid in Nigeria. Of all adult Nigerians who had direct contact with a police officer in the 12 months prior to the survey, almost half (46.4 per cent) paid that officer at least one bribe, and in many cases more than one since police officers are also among the three types of public official to whom bribes are paid most frequently (5.3 bribes per bribe-payer over the course of 12 months) in Nigeria.

Although fewer people come in 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, at 31.5 per cent. The experience of corruption in encounters with public officials who should uphold the rule of law can lead to an erosion of trust in public authority.

Prevalence rate of bribery in relation to selected types of public official, Nigeria, 2016

Certain types of public official have a disproportionate impact on the lives of Nigerians

Other public officials with a high risk of bribery include car registration/driving licence officers (28.5 per cent), tax and custom officers (27.3 per cent), road traffic management officials (25.5 per cent), public utilities officers (22.4 per cent) and land registry officers (20.9 per cent). This shows that corruption takes place across a number of different sectors of the public administration and that certain public officials have a disproportionate impact on the daily lives of Nigerians. 

Recruitment of public officials in Nigeria is itself subject to abuse of the system

In addition to the propensity of public officials to request/take bribes from citizens, the survey points to the influence of bribery in the process that enables public officials to secure their jobs in the first place. The survey indicates that among those households with a member who applied for a post and was actually recruited into the public administration, more than 15 per cent admitted to the payment of a bribe to facilitate their recruitment. This type of behaviour is likely to have implications on the exercise of their duties throughout their civil service career.  

Who pays bribes

Gender and age play a role in the vulnerability of citizens to bribery

In terms of the demographic profile of the Nigerian citizens most vulnerable to bribery, a remarkable disparity in the prevalence of bribery exists between men and women: 37.1 per cent of men who had contact with at least one public official paid a bribe in the preceding 12 months, whereas the proportion among women was 26.6 per cent.

Young adults in Nigeria are more vulnerable to bribery than other age groups, especially those in the 25 to 34-year-old age group (36.4 per cent), after which the prevalence of bribery decreases, particularly after the age of 50. In fact, the highest age-specific prevalence rate of bribery − among 25-34 year olds − is almost twice that of people aged 65 years and older.

It is also noteworthy that citizens in urban areas in Nigeria are slightly more affected by bribery than those living in rural areas, and that the prevalence and frequency of bribery vary across the different zones of Nigeria. 

Higher levels of education and income lead to a greater risk of bribery

While higher age groups are associated with lower levels of bribery, the prevalence of bribery increases with the educational attainment of Nigerian citizens, although the result varies greatly according to the type of public official receiving the bribe.

This pattern is paralleled in the distribution of the prevalence of bribery by income level as persons with a higher income have a higher prevalence of bribery than those who are less well remunerated. The disparity in the prevalence of bribery between individuals in the lowest income households and those in the highest income households reaches 15 percentage points (29.4per cent versus 40.0 per cent). In other words, households in the highest income group in Nigeria are 58 per cent more likely to pay bribes than households in the lowest income group when they come into contact with public officials. 

How citizens respond to bribery

Inability to refuse bribery may be caused by fear of negative consequences

Nigerian citizens confronted with a bribe request do not always pay it. 5.3 per cent of persons who had contact with a public official in the 12 months prior to the survey turn down the bribery request made by a public official on at least one occasion. This is in contrast with the 27 per cent who always pay when a bribe is requested. Put differently, out of every 100 citizens who paid a bribe every time it was requested, 20 refused to do so on at least one occasion

It should be taken into account, however, that of those 5.3 per cent, only 1.3 per cent never paid a bribe, while the remaining 4.0 per cent refused to pay a bribe at least once but paid a bribe on other occasions. Perhaps these figures are so low because more than half (56 per cent) of those who refused to pay a bribe after a request by a public official suffered negative consequences as a result of that refusal.

Prevalence rate of bribery, by selected types of public official, Nigeria, 2016

 

Nigerians seem to have little faith in the capacity of authorities to deal with corruption

Very few Nigerian bribe-payers report their experience of bribery to anyone. Of all those who paid bribes in the 12 months prior to the survey, just 3.7 per cent reported the incident to official authorities. Limited trust in a number of state institutions in Nigeria, not least in the law enforcement and criminal justice system, may explain why Nigerians have little faith in the capacity of authorities to deal with corruption.  

Apathy, fear and ignorance of authorities may explain limited reporting of bribery

In addition to the poor reputation of official authorities when it comes to corruption, further evidence of why most bribery incidents remain unreported can be found in the experience of those Nigerian citizens who did report a bribery incident: there was no follow up in more than one third of cases (33.7 per cent); one fifth (20.0 per cent) of those who filed a report were advised not to go ahead with the complaint and almost one out of ten citizens (9.1 per cent) who reported a bribery experience suffered negative consequences in connection with reporting the incident. A formal procedure against the concerned public official was only initiated in slightly more than one sixth of cases (17.6 per cent).

Bribe payers who did not report their bribery experience to any authority explained that reporting would be pointless as nobody would care (34.6 percent) or that payment or the giving of gifts are such common practice that reporting would not make a difference (33.4 per cent). In some cases, however, bribe-payers did not report their experience because they did not know to whom to report it (6.5 per cent) while others refrained from reporting because they were afraid of reprisals (5.8 per cent).  

Bribery and other corrupt acts may not always be perceived as corruption in Nigeria

While the experience of bribery is widespread, and the refusal and reporting of bribery are still limited, the question arises as to whether bribery is actually a universally accepted practice in the country. On this point, the data are very clear: some two thirds

of Nigerians actually consider most forms of corruption to be completely unacceptable while only a minority of Nigerians find corrupt practices “always acceptable”.

However, even for those who engage in them, certain corrupt acts may not always be perceived as amounting to corruption. For example, almost a third of Nigerians consider the recruitment of public officials on the basis of family ties and friendship networks to be an acceptable practice, despite the fact that the Nigerian civil service professes to base professional recruitment only on merit rather than personal ties.

Moreover, 86 per cent of survey respondents declared that they would report a bribery incident to an official or unofficial authority, a figure in stark contrast to the bribery reporting rate of 3.7 per cent and a clear indication of a disconnect between the perceptions of many citizens as to how they think they would react when encountering corruption and how they actually behave in practice.

Click Here to Download National Corruption Survey 2017 (PDF) Report Vol. 1

Click Here to Download National Corruption Survey 2017 (PDF) Report Vol. 2

Latest 2017 NBS Reports

Q3 2017

1.       Nigeria Produced 656.8m Barrels of Crude Oil in 2016

2.      2,503 Road Traffic Crashes Recorded in Q2 2017 - NBS

3.      Daily Energy Generation Attained a Peak of 4,079MW in Q2 2017 - NBS

4.      7.59m Nigerians Are Registered Under the National Pension Scheme as at Q2’17 - NBS

5.      FAAC Disburses N462.36bn in June 2017 - NBS

6.      NBS Annual Abstract of Statistics 2016

7.      Average Prices of PMS, AGO, HHK and Cooking Gas Price Watch - June 2017

8.     Average Intercity Transport Fare Decreases to N1,559.68 in Jun’17 from N1,565 in May’17

9.      Average Price Of 1kg Of Yam Tuber Increased YoY by 32.84% in June 2017 -NBS

10.  CPI Drops to 16.10% in June 2017, 0.15% Lower Than 16.25% May Rate 

Q2 2017

11.   FAAC Disburses N418.82bn in May 2017 - NBS

12.  GDP By Income and Expenditure Approach – Basic Price GDP Declines by 2.3% in Q3’16 - NBS

13.   Average Price Watch of PMS, AGO, HHK and Cooking Gas - May 2017

14.   Average Intercity Transport Fare Decreases to N1,5865. in May’17 from N1,587.04 in Apr’17

15.   Average Price Of 1kg Of Yam Tuber Increased YoY by 52.69% in May 2017 - NBS

16.   CPI Drops to 16.25% in May 2017, 0.99% Lower Than 17.24% April Rate

17.   N204.77bn Generated as VAT in Q1 2017 - NBS

18.  125,790 Cases of Reported Offences Recorded in 2016 - NBS

19.  Labour Productivity Rose to N684.43 in 2016 - NBS

20. Merchandise Trade Grew By 0.1% - Positive Trade Balance Due to Rising Exports & Falling Imports

21.  Unemployment Rate Rises to 14.2% in Q4’16 from 13.9% in Q3’16 - NBS

22. Lagos Airport Accounted for 76.5% of International Passengers in Q1 2017 - NBS

23. FAAC Disburses N496.39bn in April 2017 - NBS

24. Banking Sector Records 304.31 mln Volume of Transaction in Q1 2017 - NBS

25.  Total Value of Capital Imported into Nigeria in Q1 2017 Estimated at $908.27m - NBS

26. GDP Contracts by -0.52% in Q1’17 from -1.73% in Q4’16; 5th Consecutive Quarter of Contraction

27.  Average Prices of PMS, AGO, HHK and Cooking Gas Price Watch – April 2017

28. Average Intercity Transport Fare Increases to N1,587.04 in Apr’17 from N1,466.46 in Mar’17

29. Average Prices of 1kg of Yam Tubber Increased by 42.45% YoY in April 2017

30. CPI Drops to 17.24% in April 2017, 0.02% Lower Than 17.26% March Rate

31.  Lagos, Rivers Top IGR for Full Year 2016

32. Telecoms Subscribers Dropped by 1.33% in Q1 2017 - NBS

33. Nigeria Imports 4.05bn Litres of PMS in Q1 2017 - NBS

34. Lagos State has the highest domestic and foreign debt profile in 2016 - NBS

35.  2,556 Road Traffic Crashes Recorded in Q1 2017 - NBS

36. FAAC Disburses N466.93bn in March 2017

37.  Daily Energy Generation Attained a Peak of 5,846 MW in Q1 2017 - NBS

38. Average Prices of PMS, AGO, HHK and Cooking Gas Price Watch - March 2017

39. Average Intercity Transport Fare Increases to N1,466.46 in Mar’17 from N1,411.87 in Feb’17

40. Average Prices of 1kg of Yam Tubber Increased by 63.4% YoY in March 2017

41.  CPI Drops to 17.26% in March 2017, 0.52% Lower Than 17.78% February Rate

42. 7.49m Nigerians Are Registered Under the National Pension Scheme As At Q1 2017 - NBS

43. Lagos Airport Accounted for 69.1% of International Passengers in 2016 - NBS 

Q1 2017

44. 11,363 Road Traffic Crashes Recorded in 2016 - NBS

45.  FAAC Disburses N514.15bn in February 2017

46. FAAC Disburses N430.16bn in January 2017

47.  Average Intercity Transport Fare Decreases to N1,411.87 in Feb’17 from N1430.63 in Jan’17

48. Average Price of 1kg of Rice Increased by 68% YoY in February 2017

49. Average Prices of PMS, AGO, HHK and Cooking Gas Price Watch - February 2017

50. CPI Drops to 17.78% in February 2017, 0.94% Lower Than 18.72% January Rate

51.   Nigeria Produced 43.49m Tons of Solid Minerals in 2016 - NBS

52.  NIPOST Generates N8.84bn Revenue in 2016 - NBS

53.  Q4 2016 Merchandise Trade Intensity - Total Trade Grows by 6.5% in 2016

54.  Merchandise Trade Grows in Q4 2016 - Records First Quarterly Positive Trade Balance Since Q4 2015

55.  GDP Contracts by -1.30% in Q4 and -1.51% for Full Year 2016; Is Nigeria on Its Way Out of Recession?

56.  JAMB Received 11.7m Applications Between 2010 and 2016

57.  Average Kerosene Price Increases to N433.84 in Jan'17 from N231.85 in Dec'16

58. Average Intracity Transport Fare Increases to N122 in Jan'17 from N84.29 in Dec'16

59.  Average Cooking Gas Price Increases to N2,567.56 in Jan’17 from N2,002.16 in Dec’16

60. Average Diesel Price Increases to N240.52 in Jan’17 from N196.20 in Dec’16

61.  Average Petrol Price Increases to N148.7 in Jan'17 from N146.7 in Dec'16

62. CPI Rises to 18.72% in January 2017, 0.17% Higher Than 18.55% December 2016 Rate

63. GENCOs Issued Total Invoice of N331bn to DISCOs in 2016

64. Nigeria Produced 5.79 mln Tonnes of Fish Between 2010 and 2015

65.  4,296 Applications Were Received by NAFDAC for New Products Registration in 2016 - NBS

66. 19,833 Vessels Berthed At Nigerian Ports Between 2013 and 2016 - NBS

67.  Total Value of Capital Imported into Nigeria in Q4 2016 Estimated at $1,548.88mln - NBS

68. Telecoms Sector Contributes N1,399bn to GDP in Q3 2016 - NBS

69. FAAC Disburses N426.88bn in December 2016 - NBS

70. Banking Sector Records 910.18m Volume of Transaction in 2016 on Electronic Payment Channels - NBS

71.   Daily Energy Generation Attained a Peak of 3,859.59MW in Q4 2016 - NBS

72.  10.8% of Nigeria's Total Working Population Are Registered Under The National Pension Scheme - NBS

73.  Nigeria Imports 4.83 bn Litres of PMS in Q4 2016 - NBS

74.  72.53% of Nigeria’s Prison Population in 2015 were Un-sentenced - NBS

75.  Lagos, Ogun Top IGR for H1 2016

 

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