70% of Nigerians refused to pay bribes in 2023 —NBS Report

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has released its latest report on Corruption in Nigeria, revealing significant trends and patterns in bribery refusal rates and citizen perceptions across the country.

According to the report launched in Abuja on Thursday, “70 per cent of Nigerians refused to pay bribes on at least one occasion in 2023,” indicating a notable increase in citizen empowerment against corrupt practices.

The report highlighted regional disparities, noting that “the bribery refusal rate was found to be highest in the North-West at 76 per cent,” with all zones recording refusal rates above 60%.

This reflects a positive shift from previous years, as fewer citizens reported facing negative consequences: “38 per cent compared with the 49 per cent recorded in 2019.”

Explaining the motivations behind refusing bribes, the report indicated that “42 per cent of bribe-refusers did so because it was the right, moral thing to do,” while “23 per cent refused because they could not afford the requested gift or payment.”

Normative concerns and economic pressures were identified as key factors influencing citizens’ decisions to resist corruption.

In terms of public perception, corruption ranked fourth among Nigeria’s most pressing issues in 2023, following concerns about “the cost of living at 22.6 per cent, insecurity and unemployment at 19 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively.”

The report underscored a decline in confidence in the government’s anti-corruption efforts, noting that “in 2023, more than half of all citizens thought that the government was effective in fighting corruption; however, in 2023, the share declined to less than a third of all citizens.”

The report also detailed the methods and forms of bribery prevalent in Nigeria, revealing that “more than 95 per cent of all bribes paid in 2023 were paid in monetary form (cash or money transfer),” with “others… food and drink at eight per cent, animals at seven per cent exchange for other services at four per cent.”

Notably, approximately “N721 billion was paid in cash bribes to public officials in Nigeria in 2023, corresponding to 0.35 per cent of the entire Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria.”

Furthermore, there was a marked increase in bribery reporting rates, particularly in Northern zones, where “the bribery reporting rate increased markedly from 4.7 per cent in 2019 to 13.4 per cent in 2023.”

Conversely, “in the Southern zones, the bribery reporting rate instead decreased moderately from 2.5 per cent in 2019 to 1.7 per cent in 2023.”

The report concluded that while progress has been made in combating corruption through increased citizen resistance and reporting, challenges remain in sustaining public trust and enhancing anti-corruption strategies across all regions of Nigeria.

This latest survey marks the third round of the corruption assessment by the NBS, building on previous studies conducted in 2016 and 2019 across all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

For further insights and detailed findings, the full NBS Corruption in Nigeria: Patterns and Trends Report is available for public review.

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