• Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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Police: Nigeria tops list of African countries where officers regularly demand bribes

police to Farouk Adejoh (1)

Afrobarometer, a non-profit organisation (NGO) based in Ghana, has revealed in its latest report how Africans view the professionalism of their police forces.

The survey, which showed how law enforcement demands bribes when citizens seek their assistance, saw Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Uganda topped the chart of African countries with high police professional misconduct.

Afrobarometer, a pan-African, non-partisan survey research network, provides reliable data on African experiences and how they perceive democracy, governance, and quality of life.

The report, titled “Law enforcers or law breakers?”, collected data from respondents in 39 African countries and 53,444 interviews between late 2021 and mid-2023 to ascertain police misconduct, criminal behaviour, brutality, and corruption.

The organisation did not state the number of respondents interviewed from each country.

“This 39-country analysis is based on 53,444 interviews. The data are weighted to ensure nationally representative samples. When reporting multi-country averages, all countries are weighted equally,” it said.

Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Congo-Brazzaville, Côte d’Ivoire, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, and Liberia were the countries the survey took place.

Others are Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The report indicated that 75 percent of Nigerians interviewed for the survey said they paid a bribe, gave a gift, or did a favour when seeking law enforcement assistance.

‘Police corruption’
The report showed that 13 percent of respondents in the 39 sample countries said they sought police assistance during the previous year.

It also revealed that 36 percent of respondents said: “They were asked to pay a bribe, give a gift, or do a favour to get the assistance they needed from the police”.

Liberia topped the list of countries where police sought bribes from citizens when contacted as 78 percent of respondents said they were asked for bribes, followed by Nigeria with 75 percent.

“Among the 13% of respondents who say they asked for police assistance during the previous year, 36% of respondents say they were asked to pay a bribe, give a gift, or do a favour to get the assistance they needed from the police.

“These types of interactions when seeking assistance were most common in Liberia (78%), Nigeria (75%), Sierra Leone (72%), and Uganda (71%), and least common in Seychelles (4%), Mauritius (3%), and Cabo Verde (2%),” the survey showed.

‘Criminal activities by Police
In the report, three in 10 Africans said the police in their country “often” or “always” engage in criminal activities.
“Another 27% of respondents say they “sometimes” do so, while only 36% say the police “rarely” or “never” commit crimes,” the report indicated.

“The perception of widespread criminality (often/always) among the police is shared by more than half of citizens in Lesotho (58%) and Senegal (51%).

“At the other extreme, majorities in six countries say criminal activity by the police is rare or unheard of: Benin (71%), Ethiopia (63%), Tanzania (61%), Morocco (61%), Mauritania (57%), and Burkina Faso (52%), it said.