Nigeria: Public Perception of Nigerian Government's Fight Against Corruption Improves, Study Shows

15 January 2018
press release

Public perceptions of the government's fight against corruption have improved dramatically since 2015, a recent Afrobarometer survey in Nigeria indicates.

More than 90% of Nigerians, however, still say "some," "most," or "all" public officials are corrupt, with the police perceived as the most corrupt, and most citizens fear retaliation if they report corruption to the authorities.

Nigerians are evenly split as to whether corruption has increased or decreased over the past year.

Though the Buhari administration has made the fight against corruption a priority, the nation still grapples with a series of corruption scandals and a growing call for fiscal transparency and accountability in governance.

Key findings

  • Six in 10 Nigerians (59%) say the government is performing "fairly well" or "very well" in fighting corruption, a strong improvement from the 21% recorded in 2015.
  • The police are seen as most corrupt; 69% of citizens say "most" or "all" police officials are corrupt. They are followed by members of the National Assembly (60%) and local government councilors (55%).
  • Perceptions of corruption among leaders in the private sector are lower, though four in 10 citizens still see "most" or "all" business executives (44%) and non-governmental organisations (40%) as corrupt.
  • Four in 10 Nigerians (43%) say corruption has decreased over the past year; just as many say it has increased.
  • Even though a majority (54%) of citizens agree that ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption, more than three-fourths (77%) fear retaliation should they report an incident of corruption.


Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, economic conditions, and related issues across more than 35 countries in Africa. Six rounds of surveys were conducted between 1999 and 2015, and Round 7 surveys (2016/2018) are currently underway. Afrobarometer conducts face-to- face interviews in the language of the respondent's choice with nationally representative samples.

The Afrobarometer national partners in Nigeria, CLEEN Foundation and Practical Sampling International, interviewed a nationally representative, random, stratified probability sample of 1,600 adult Nigerians between 26 April and 10 May 2017. A sample of this size yields country-level results with a margin of error of +/-2% at a 95% confidence level. Previous surveys have been conducted in Nigeria in 1999, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2012, and 2014.

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