Almost three years into the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s fight against corruption, Nigerians are divided about whether corruption has declined in Nigeria, a new study has found.
The study, however, revealed that most Nigerians believe that more Nigerians are appreciative of the government efforts to curtail the menace, with 59 per cent of those polled saying the government has done either “fairly well” or “very well.”
The study was conducted by Afrobarometre, a non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, economic conditions, and related issues across more than 35 countries in Africa.
The study, which is conducted via face-face interview with respondents, was done in partnership with CLEEN Foundation and Practical Sampling International.
The study interviewed 1,600 randomly selected adult Nigerians between April 26 and May 10, 2017.
While the study revealed that public perception of the government’s intent to fight corruption has improved since 2015, more than 90 per cent of those interviewed stated that public officials have not been completely purged of corruption.
Many of those interviewed stated that the police, members of the National Assembly and local government workers are the most corrupt public officials, with 94 per cent saying most, all or some of them are corrupt.
Other officials also viewed as mostly corrupt are government officials (54 per cent), state legislators (54 per cent), state governors and their aides (53 per cent), local council chairpersons (52 per cent), judges and magistrates (51 per cent) and the president and the presidency (43 per cent).
In what should worry the government over its whistle-blowing policy, 77 per cent of those interviewed said they “fear retaliation should they report an incident of corruption.”
In 2016, the Nigerian government announced the whistle-blowing policy aimed at exposing corruption and fighting financial crimes.
According to the government, whistle-blowers will receive compensation for actionable information. According to the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, it hoped that the policy will lead to more discovery of looted funds.
In 2017. The government announced it had recovered at least N73 billion looted from the public treasury by former and servicing public officials.
The government also promised to protect whistle-blowers from prosecution.
However, Ntia Thompson, an assistant director in the Servicom Unit of the Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa (DTCA) was suspended on December 19, 2016 for allegedly exposing fraud to the tune of $229,000 and N800,000.
He was, however, reinstated in June 2017 after a media outrage and petitions by civil society activists.