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Police chief’s claim that Nigeria Police is least corrupt agency false

Abimbola Oyeyemi 5 mins read

CLAIM: Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, said police is the least corrupt government agency in Nigeria.

FALSE! Police is the most corrupt agency in Nigeria.

FULL STORY

The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Ogun State Police Command, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, over the weekend stated that police in Nigeria remains the least corrupt government agency in the country.

Oyeyemi who stated this at the 29th anniversary ceremony of Prestige Newspaper, a community newspaper in Ogun State on Sunday, added, however, that erring police officers in the state have been dismissed and prosecuted.

Oyeyemi’s claim has since been published here, here and circulated across WhatsApp platforms. 

Speaking during the event, the police spokesperson said in part: “Security should be seen as everyone’s business. The people need to give police information. Nigerians are too nonchalant to security issues, before police can perform at optimal level, there must be attitudinal change from police and citizens

“I make bold to say without any form of contradiction, that the police is the least corrupt agency we have in Nigeria. How many police heads have you seen tried in this country?

“I’m not saying we have a connection of angels in the force, we have bad eggs as well, but police have internal mechanisms to sanitize the system. The (#EndSARS) protest was targeted to decimate the police to carry out their devilish act.”

Oyeyemi who maintained that civil servants are the most corrupt further added that, “in Nigeria today, the highest paid civil servant is a level 17 officer. But you see them building houses in choice areas.

“How many police officers have houses in Ibara Housing Estate, meanwhile the whole estate is occupied by civil servants. Let me tell you, no politician can embezzle one naira without conniving with civil servants.

“That was why I said where did you put civil servants when you’re saying police are the most corrupt.”

VERIFICATION

According to a December 2019 study carried out by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), police ranked first as the most corrupt entity in Nigeria.

Report of the second survey on corruption as experienced by the population titled: Corruption In Nigeria: Patterns And Trends stated that police officers collected more bribes at 33% above land registry officers, tax/revenue officers, prosecutors and public utility officials.

Prevalence of bribery, by type of public official in Nigeria in 2016 and 2019. Source: UNODC and NBS

“Public officials who are entrusted with some of the core functions of the state, not least those involved in law enforcement and administering justice, account for some of the largest shares of direct bribe requests: in around two thirds of all bribes paid to police, prosecutors or judges/magistrates and members of the Armed Forces, the bribe payment was initiated by a direct request by these officials,” it stated.

The report also noted that the percentage of police officers who received bribes is a decrease from the 46% recorded in 2016.

On why bribes are paid, the study noted that “around 3% of cases were related to payments to the police for ‘bail from jail’, a type of payment that does not refer to the legal type of bail administered by courts, but rather to payments extracted by corrupt officials for the release of arrestees from jail prior to the formal commencement of a trial.”

It added that “16 percent of cases were related to payments to the police for ‘bail from jail’. These acts by police officers not only severely undermine the rule of law in Nigeria, but also negatively affect the criminal justice system by possibly providing protection to wealthy criminals.

“Regardless of the specific zone of Nigeria, police officers are the type of public official with whom Nigerians have most frequent contact. Given that the risk of bribery is also highest in relation to police officers, it is not surprising that police officers account for a considerable share of all bribes paid in Nigeria: over one third (35.7 per cent) of all bribes paid in Nigeria go to police officers, while almost one fifth (19.3 percent) go to public utility officers. Taken together, around 70 per cent of all bribes are paid to just five different types of official.”

Perceived corruption among public officials in Nigeria. Source: Afrobarometer.

Also, study conducted by Afrobarometer, a pan-African, non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, economic conditions, and related issues and its Nigerian partners – CLEEN Foundation and Practical Sampling International – noted that police are perceived as the most corrupt and least trusted by Nigerians.

Report of the study titled: “In Nigeria, Perceived Corruption Remains High Despite Praise For President’s Anti-Graft Fight” and published in February 2018 holds that “nine out of 10 Nigerians say at least ‘some’ public officials are corrupt, including majorities who see corruption among ‘most’ or ‘all’ officials in every public institution that the survey asked about except for the presidency. The police are seen as most corrupt; 69% of citizens say ‘most’ or ‘all’ police officials are corrupt.

Paying a bribe to obtain government services. Source: Afrobarometer

“Among Nigerians who sought key state services last year (2017), large proportions say they 

paid bribes to receive police assistance (68%), avoid problems with the police (44%), or get government documents (38%), water or sanitation services (34%), or medical care (20%),” it added.

69% of the respondents say that “all” or “most” police officers are corrupt, while 54% claim “all” or “most” government officials are corrupt.

CONCLUSION

Based on reports of studies conducted by independent organisations, the claim that police in Nigeria is the least corrupt agency is false. For a fact, police in Nigeria is the most corrupt agency in the country.

The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship partnership with The Nigerian Tribune to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

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