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SERAP says corruption in Nigeria still high despite Buhari’s efforts

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) on Tuesday said that the level of corruption in Nigeria was still high in spite of the efforts of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

President Muhammadu Buhari [Twitter/@BashirAhmaad]

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that SERAP made the claim at the launch of the results of a report of a national survey entitled “Nigeria Anti-Corruption Performance Assessment Survey”.

The event took place in Lagos. SERAP came up with the 57-page report in collaboration with UKAID.

It said that corruption was prevalent in the country in spite of some significant measures by the president toward addressing it.

According to SERAP, some of the measures are the establishment of the Treasury Single Account, Whistle-Blowing Policy and constitution of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption.

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NAN reports that the national survey conducted in November 2018 and December 2018, targeted a total of 2,655 respondents selected from seven states spread across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria and Abuja.

The survey also covered five sectors – Police, Judiciary, Power, Education and Health – in order to assess the state of corruption in public law enforcement and service provision.

It said: “There was a 63.7 per cent probability that an average Nigerian would be asked to pay a bribe each time he or she interacted with the police.

“There was a 49.1 per cent probability in the power sector, 27.7 per cent in judiciary, 25.6 per cent in education and 20.5 per cent in the health sector.

“The police and the judiciary had the largest proportion of total bribes paid at 33 per cent and 31 per cent, respectively.

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“The average amount of bribe paid by the respondents was highest among those who paid to the judiciary at about N108,000. All the other institutions ranked lower on this variable.”

SERAP recommended establishment of an independent commission of inquiry to conduct a transparent, comprehensive and impartial investigation into corruption in the five sectors.

It also suggested legislative and constitutional reforms including amendment of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act to ensure public access to the asset declarations of public officials.

It equally urged prosecution of liable individuals without delay and according to international fair trial standards, adding that there should be improvement in financial oversight of the five sectors.

SERAP also urged publication of quarterly budget execution reports by the sectors.

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The Chairman of the occasion, Akin Oyebode, a Professor of International Law and Jurisprudence, lauded the report.

“We now have a reference point to assess how much we have done in the fight against corruption. The consciousness of corruption cannot be erased.

“We have accepted corruption as the way of conducting business via kickbacks, bribes or dash. The police who are to sanitise the system are complicit.

“SERAP is putting Nigeria on the stand as regards what needs to be done as it is not very often you see organisations coming up with a scorecard,” Oyebode said.

Earlier in his address of welcome, Mr Adetokunbo Mumuni, the Executive Director of SERAP, thanked the Government of the United Kingdom for supporting SERAP in conducting the Survey.

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“I will like to point out importantly that the views expressed in the SERAP report does not reflect the views of the UK Government,” Mumuni said. 

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