Corruption level to rise under Buhari — SERAP

A report by a non-governmental organisation, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project,  has predicted widespread corruption in the country.

The group made the prediction in a  report titled: “Nigeria Anti-Corruption Performance Assessment Survey,” which it presented to the public on Tuesday in Lagos.

According to SERAP,  the report was based on the survey it conducted in the  six geopolitical zones  from November to December 2018.

The group said it sought the views of 2,655 Nigerians in seven states and  Abuja on government’s anti-corruption fight.

The report said the respondents believed that corruption level had remained the same and would increase despite the Federal  Government’s anti-corruption crusade.

They also believed that government’s anti-corruption efforts were “inadequate and unconvincing”.

They added that  “elections do not result in a different government” and that “most leaders are corrupt and only pursue personal interests”.

The report said, “When asked to project the level of corruption in the coming year, about 41 per cent (of  respondents) believed it will either increase or remain the same with about one-third of the respondents expecting the  level of corruption  to increase.”

SERAP said the outcome of the survey should “trigger reflection among the various anti-corruption bodies in Nigeria”.

The group said, “When juxtaposed with the different institutions established and laws and policies currently being implemented, it raises the critical question whether the (anti-corruption) measures  are comprehensive enough, consistent or if there is a need to amplify public participation and communication on anti-corruption efforts”.

SERAP said the public’s  perception of government’s anti-corruption war “is likely to dilute public support needed for successful anti-corruption initiatives”.

The report rated the police as the  institution with the highest rate of bribery, based on the judgment of 829 of the respondents, representing 66.6 per cent.

The power sector, education and the judiciary ranked next after the police.

The   report said,  “The government ascended to power on the promise of tackling corruption. The commitment to restoring  integrity to  the  public service was quite evident in various political, legal and policy pronouncements,  with the government taking notable steps to deliver this promise, although these efforts were not as successful as expected. “Additionally, there are legitimate concerns across the citizenry that the political will to fully deliver on this promise has been generally insufficient.

“Arising from the survey, there is ample evidence to conclude that corruption remains a major challenge in Nigeria.

“The numerous interviews with the general public and the experts point to a level of appreciation of the deleterious ramifications of graft in the country over the decades. On the flipside, this provides sufficient public goodwill to the federal and state governments to tackle the vice.”

SERAP published the 57-page report in collaboration with  UKaid.

However, SERAP’s Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, said the views expressed in the report did not represent the official view of the United Kingdom on the state of corruption in Nigeria.

Mumuni said based on the outcome of the survey SERAP would engage with government and other stakeholders to ensure that the recommendations in the report were implemented.

He added that the organisation had set up an online petition on corruption and encouraged citizens to visit its website to sign and share the petition.

Prof Akin Oyebode, who chaired the  presentation at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, said the SERAP report had put the country in  the spotlight.

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