Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) released a new public survey on Wednesday which revealed that corruption remains a significant problem in Nigeria, despite the various tactics employed by the government to dissolve it.
The unveiling of the survey which is titled Nigeria: Anti-corruption Social Norms Survey took place in Lagos state. It was published as part of SERAP’s implementation of the Anti-Corruption in Nigeria (ACORN) project, which is funded with aid from the United Kingdom.
The survey was carried out in Abuja-the nation’s capital and eight states representing all the geo-political zones in Nigeria. They include Enugu, Ondo, Rivers, Adamawa, Lagos, Kano, Kwara, and Kaduna. A total number of 2,549 respondents aired their opinions on the current state of corruption in the country through the face to face data collating process.
According to the survey, 96.2 percent of the respondents believe that corruption remains a serious problem in Nigeria. 57 percent of the respondents believe that they have a role in supporting anti-corruption efforts, whereas more than 40 percent of them feel helpless and do not see themselves as a tool for eradicating corruption in Nigeria.
Similarly, 15 percent of the respondents believe that it is the government’s role to fight corruption, not theirs. Almost half of them (43.5 percent) do not believe that corruption can be successfully fought in Nigeria, with nothing changing after they make efforts to fight corruption.
Nevertheless, the survey prescribed a range of options wherein the government could help encourage citizen participation in the fight against corruption.
State governments should domesticate the Freedom of Information Act within their states and encourage Nigerians to whistleblow reports on either petty or grand corruption schemes they figure out.
To be more proactive in the fight against corruption, the federal government needs to focus on passing the Proceeds of Crime Bill, the Whistle-blowers Bill, and the Witness Protection Bill among others.
Also, crime-fighting agencies like The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) amongst others, should organise public hearings into allegations of corruption in ministries, departments and agencies as this will rekindle the declining fire citizens need in order to combat corruption.
Other institutions like religious, traditional, community-based etc. are not left out in the fight against corruption. The survey advocated for leaders in these institutions to develop strategies on how to relieve and shift from some of the social pressures that sustain corruption.
Although this dreaded vice still presents itself as a major hindrance to the economic growth of Nigeria, it can be erased from the country’s history with the combined efforts of both citizens and the government.
By Treasure Nnabugwu.