Nigerians pay $1.2b in bribes each year

Nigerians spend more than $1.2 billion each year to pay bribes to public officials, a new survey by the country’s statistics office has said.

The National Bureau of Statistics in its report titled “Corruption in Nigeria, Bribery: Public Experience and Response 2017 Survey” said out of every 10 bribes paid to civil servants nine are made in cash, posing an arduous test on the country’s anti-graft measures.

According to the report, released on Thursday, the $1.2 billion (400 billion naira) spent in bribes, between June 2015 and May 2016, is equivalent to 39 per cent of the combined federal and state education budget in 2016.

The survey showed that almost a third of the 190 million Nigerians pay bribes to government workers for basic services, with police officers, custom officials and judges topping the list of bribe takers.

On average, Nigerians spend an eighth of their salaries on bribes each month, the report noted.

It added that about 82.3 million bribes are paid in the country each year, an average of six bribes per person.

According to the statistics office, Nigerians considered bribery as the third most important problem facing the country after high cost of living and unemployment respectively.

Since President Muhammadu Buhari took over two years ago, vowing to fight corruption, some high-profile officials have been charged with graft particularly theft of oil revenues.

The survey was conducted in April and May 2016 across Nigeria and was based on 33,067 household interviews, with support from the European Union and UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

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