Police, VIO, FRSC Worst Receivers of Bribe, Says UNODC

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By Kuni Tyessi

The Nigeria Police, Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIO) and the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) have been listed to be among the seven worst receivers of bribe in Nigeria in which 85 per cent of their victims have been discouraged from seeking redress or reporting exploitation.

Others are public utility providers, tax authorities, as well as education and health sectors who have also been known to victimise 10 per cent of the victims who had tried to challenge bribes being demanded for services that are expected to be free or given based on merit.

The Country Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Mr. Oliver Stolpe, who disclosed this Wednesday in Abuja at the 18th anti-corruption situation room, organised by HEDA Resource Centre, with the theme: ‘Reviewing efforts of state and non state actors in the fight against corruption in Nigeria’, said in collaboration with reports released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), only four per cent of the exploited went ahead to report incidents of corruption.

He said despite several anti-corruption institutions in the country, bribery in the public sector was more in the aspect of recruitment as 16 per cent of those interviewed claimed they were asked to pay bribe before securing jobs, a percentage which he said is poor as it highlights the poor attitude of reporting corruption, adding that this has become a challenge.

Lamenting that poor policy indicators are responsible for the poor improvement in the spate of corruption and as such called for workable policies, the country representative revealed that only 52 per cent of Nigerians as of 2019 had access to public institutions.

“This is a unique opportunity to review past efforts and prioritize areas which are yet to see progress that we haven’t seen. In more than 30,000 people that we interviewed, 32 per cent in 2016 were approached for bribe and in 2019, there was a decrease of only two per cent as 30 per cent were asked to bribe their way through.

“However, there has been huge improvement in the number of Nigerians that had access to the police and this is 46 per cent in 2016, but this ended up with the collection of bribe. We need to build on the successes of the past.

“Seven agencies have been noted to be the worst receivers of bribe and they include the police, FRSC, tax authorities, vehicle inspection officers, health and education sectors. This is where Nigerians pay bribe and thus can be reduced, then corruption will be far reduced in Nigeria.

“Poor policy indicators need to be drawn and policies need to be reviewed, as well as laws and target areas that seem to have long lasting impact on the lives of Nigerians.

“Only four per cent of the victims of corruption went ahead to report incidents in which they were asked to pay bribe in 2016 and this has not changed even in 2019. 85 per cent were discouraged or did not know something happened and in 10 per cent of the cases, they were retaliated against,” he said.

Stolpe said with the introduction of anti-corruption courses in primary and secondary schools, young people are beginning to have zero tolerance for such.