Economy

Males more likely to take bribes than females

Bribes are prevalent among officials throughout Nigeria

Bribery and corruption remain major problems in Nigeria. But better use of technology could help to stem these crimes.

Mohammed Nur Shettima, a computer scientist in  Maiduguri, said technology could greatly improve the fight against corruption in Borno State − and all over the country − if it was used correctly by the government in all its ministries.

He did not believe corruption could be totally quashed because it was prevalent in all sectors of the country and it “has been a means of sustenance for many people, including government officials”.

However, Shettima said the government could stem the bribery and corruption tide by better use of technology, such as bank verification numbers, and by installing closed-circuit television in all government offices throughout the country.

He said the government should develop a database containing details of all its staff members, including their salaries and benefits.

“That would be the easiest way to deal with corrupt government workers who steal public funds that are meant for developmental projects across the country,” Shettima said.

An article in The Conversation on March 7 said data from a study by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that bribery took two forms. “In the first, public officials ask, directly and indirectly, for bribes. The second form involves members of the public bribing officials to process their requests for public services. Of the acts of bribery … 67% were initiated by public officials. These were overwhelmingly [93%] requests for cash payments. Less than 6% were for non-cash payments.”

It said males in the police force, judges, federal road safety officers and vehicle inspection officers, teachers and lecturers received most of the bribes between 2016 and 2019.

Male officials took more bribes than their female counterparts “because they are more likely to be encountered on the roads than their female colleagues”.

“Public officials requesting bribes directly were the police (67%), judges and prosecutors (67%) and customs and immigration officers (67%).”

It said mechanisms should be put in place to reduce opportunities for corruption.

“Greater direct contact between government officials and members of the public ensures that the culture of bribe taking and paying continues. Government should therefore use more technology to reduce direct contact, where possible, between government officials and the public.”

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