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Corruption Is Generally Believed To Be Of High Prevalence In Nigeria; Identified As A Major Factor A

Tomorrow, 9th December 2015 will mark the commemoration of this year’s ‘International Anti-Corruption Day’. Each year, December 9 is designated as a day to raise awareness on corruption and on the role the United Nations has played in combating and preventing it. The theme for the 2015 global campaign is ‘Break The Corruption Chain’ and this calls for a reflection on the issue of corruption in Nigeria, looking at its impact on various aspects of National development, causes of corruption and its prevalence in the society and possible ways of breaking the corruption chain in the country.

In Nigeria, the issue of corruption has always been referred to by both the general public and its leadership as one of the major challenges bedeviling the nation, and hindering its progress. There have been alarming and scandalous cases of corruption in Nigeria, especially in the public sector, however it is believed that the menace has eating deep into the nation’s fabrics, affecting almost every sector of the economy and posing a huge threat to growth and sustainable development.

Several administrations have launched anti-corruption campaigns which can be said to have been hardly effective in checkmating the menace in the society despite the creation of some agencies such as the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in a bid to curtail corruption. However most recently, the nation witnessed a transition in government and handover of power to new leadership which rode to power on a fierce anti-corruption campaign and has reiterated zero tolerance for corruption, promising to tackle and deliver the nation from the grips of corruption which currently holds the It in a choke hold.

As part of its contribution towards addressing the issue of corruption in Nigeria, NOIPolls has conducted several surveys on it, assessing its causes, how it affects business and the economy, organizations and institutions perceived to be most corrupt, how corruption can be tackled, amongst other aspects covered.

Excerpts of Findings from NOIPolls Corruption in Nigeria Special Edition Poll:

Findings from a recent poll partnership between NOIPolls and LEAP AFRICA revealed that the vast majority (85 percent) of adult Nigerians believe that the prevalence of corruption in Nigeria is to a high extent. In addition, while, 13 percent of Nigerians believe its prevalence is to some extent or to no extent at all 2 percent are negative of its existence in Nigeria.

Respondents were also asked: What do you think is mostly responsible for the prevalence of corruption in Nigeria? Overall, Nigerians generally blame ‘weak government institutions’ (24 percent), ‘poverty’ (18 percent) and ‘resource scramble’ (11 percent), for the prevalence of corruption in Nigeria.

Other factors responsible for the prevalence of corruption cited by Nigerians include; ‘Lack of openness and transparency in public service’ (9 percent), ‘quest for quick money’ (9 percent), ‘cultural acceptance of corruption by the populace’ (7 percent), ‘poor pay incentives’ (6 percent) and ‘ineffective anti-corruption agencies’ (5 percent) among other factors.

With the aim of gauging the perception of Nigerians on the most corrupt organization/agency respondents were asked: Which organization/agency do you consider the most corrupt in Nigeria? Findings revealed that the ‘Nigerian Police Force’, as well as ‘Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs)’ topped the list as the most corrupt institutions in Nigeria. This perception is shared by Nigerians across all geopolitical zones, although it is mostly true for the North-West zone where almost half of the respondents indicated the Nigerian Police Force and 30 percent indicated MDAs.

These results further supports findings from a survey conducted by the CLEEN Foundation in collaboration with the McArthur Foundation, which revealed the Nigeria police Force, NPF, alongside the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, (ICPC) as the most corrupt of federal government agencies in the country in 2013.[6]

In addition, 11 percent of the respondents, especially from the South-South zone (26 percent) indicated ‘Politicians/political parties’; while 10 percent of the respondents, especially from the North-East zone (28 percent) mentioned ‘Armed forces/security agencies’.

Further analysis by gender revealed that while more males (36 percent) than females (24 percent) have their perception geared towards the police as the most corrupt institution; more female (30 percent) than male (23 percent) respondents believe the MDAs are the most corrupt institutions.

Finally respondents were asked: When stopped by a law enforcement officer while driving without a valid driver’s license in a hurry to get to a meeting, will you go through with procedure or simply ‘pay’ NGN2000.00 to go through? This scenario was used to gain insight on people’s involvement with corrupt practices, though findings from this may not be conclusive in determining the extent of corruption in Nigeria, as there are several other facets of corruption which have not been explored by the poll.

Responses to this question revealed that more than half of Nigerians (59 percent) claimed they would most definitely go through with the procedure. The stance was regardless of gender, age-group and geo-political zones. On the other hand about one third (32 percent) of Nigerians admitted they would not go through with the procedure, but would rather simply pay ₦2000 to go through. While this finding suggest that some Nigerians would willingly bribe their way through when faced with such situation, several indications from previous charts indicate that some Nigerians may be coerced by law enforcement officers in to giving bribe.

Further analysis by geo-political zones revealed that Nigerians in the North-West (38 percent) and South-West (36 percent) zones are most likely to pay ₦2000 given the scenario.

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Also in a 3-year trended result from the NOIPolls Business Leaders Perception Survey (BLPS) conducted in 2009, 2010 and 2012, corruption consistently ranked high on the list of most critical factors limiting Nigerian businesses, emerging top three on the list in all three years and the number one factor making doing business difficult in 2012.

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In conclusion, findings from these polls reflect the actual perceptions of everyday Nigerians on the issue of corruption and its impact on economic activities in the nation. With the vast majority of adult Nigerians (85 percent) believing that the prevalence of corruption in Nigeria is to a high extent and to this effect, blame ‘weak government institutions’ (24 percent), ‘poverty’ (18 percent) and ‘resource scramble’ (11 percent) for the prevalence of corruption in Nigeria among other factors, it is imperative for the Federal government to look into these identified causes and find out ways of developing strategies and structures to effectively checkmate corruption.

Also with findings revealing that about one third (32 percent) of Nigerians admitted they would not go through with the procedure, but would rather simply pay ₦2000 to go through a law enforcement officer; further highlighting the involvement of individuals in corrupt practices in Nigeria. Corruption is a major factor making doing business in Nigeria difficult and addressing it would be a great step towards improving business growth and the Nation’s overall economy.

Survey Methods

The corruption in Nigeria special edition poll was conducted in the week of April 13th 2015. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country, were interviewed.

The NOIPolls Business Leaders’ Perception Survey involved fieldwork and study analysis which were undertaken in 2009, 2010 and 2012. The sample consisted of senior to mid-level executives in Nigerian businesses; cutting across Micro, Small, Medium and Large organizations. The sample population comprised 1000 businesses covering various sectors of the economy and locations. For more information on these surveys, send an email to

With a sample of this size, we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise – within a range of plus or minus 3%. NOIPolls Limited, No1 for country specific polling services in West Africa. We conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at


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