Home » NISER Chief Details Challenges in Fighting Nigerian Corruption

NISER Chief Details Challenges in Fighting Nigerian Corruption

by Adenike Adeodun

At the November 2023 edition of the Actualizing Behaviour Change (ABC) series, Prof. Antonia Taiye Simbine, Director General of the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), highlighted the persistent issue of corruption affecting governance and business in Nigeria. Despite legal efforts to tackle this problem, corruption remains a significant challenge.

Represented by Prof. Adesoji Adesanya, Simbine underscored the necessity of a systemic approach to controlling corruption. This strategy should combine rules and values, address both the public and private sectors, and engage all Nigerian citizens. Her theme, “Corrupt Behaviour in Nigeria’s Public Sector: Simplifying a Complex Phenomenon,” aimed to demystify corruption by examining how behavior and systemic factors interact.

According to a report by This Day Live, Simbine explained that this interaction reveals pathways for tracking and controlling corruption in Nigeria. The study, part of the ‘Research Support for Corruption Control through Behaviour Change’ project funded by the Macarthur Foundation, used qualitative data from the SenseMaker tool. It gathered insights from both citizens and public officials nationwide.

The research delved into the psychosocial constructs underpinning corruption and identified mitigation pathways. Citizens recounted their experiences with corrupt public officials, while officials shared instances of corruption they faced or were pressured to participate in. This dual-perspective survey explored patterns of corrupt behavior, considering factors like respondent demographics, involved agencies, the nature of the corrupt act, emotional impact, and the behavior’s effect.

The findings, focusing on institutional survey data, employed system dynamics modeling and the Vensim tool to create causal feedback loop models of corruption. These models, calibrated with SenseMaker survey data, identified both desirable and undesirable behavioral attributes influencing corruption levels.

An ex-ante simulation projected corruption control over a decade, proposing a 25% change in selected attributes. The analysis suggested that reducing corruption requires strengthening desirable attributes and altering undesirable ones. Significant changes in undesirable attributes are necessary to decrease corruption levels; otherwise, the situation may remain unchanged or worsen.

Presenters at the event included Dr. Iyabo Olanrele and Dr. Sebil Olalekan from NISER’s Economic and Business Policy Department. Panelists comprised Mrs. Azuka Ogugua from the ICPC, Dr. Ivan Taylor of Policy Dynamics, Inc., and Barth Feese from the People-Centered Development Initiative (PCDI).

This event reflects a growing recognition in Nigeria of the need for a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach to tackle corruption. It acknowledges that legal measures alone are insufficient and that a deeper understanding of the underlying factors is crucial for effective intervention.

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