By Moji Eniola
Ikeja – In the wake of the reintroduction of the Social Media Bill by the National Assembly, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has said that 33 per cent of Nigerians prefer social media to television as the most trusted source of information on corruption in Nigeria.
The rights group made the claim on Wednesday during the launch of a 68-page Survey Report titled: “Nigeria: Anti-Corruption Social Norms Report”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the survey targeted 2,549 respondents across all the six geo-political zones of Nigeria including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Some of the objectives of the Survey is to establish how corruption is viewed by citizenry in the context of various social norms and how various demographics view corruption from a socio-cultural perspective.
It was conducted using two data collection methods: face-to-face and in-depth interviews – which were both conducted with the aid of preset-closed and open-ended questionnaire.
Presenting the report, Mr Mwangi Kibathi, the Lead Researcher and a Kenyan human rights activist, noted that most of the respondents of the survey valued social media information to news on the television or information from religious bodies.
“When the question of sources of information was narrowed down to information on corruption, social media still remained the dominant source at about 33 per cent, television was 24 per cent and radio was 18.9 per cent.
“Newspaper was 9.7 per cent, the church or mosques was seven per cent, friends stood in at 2.2 per cent, family members was 1.6 per cent, politicians, one per cent and others stood in at 2.9percent,” he said.
Kibathi said that on the general perception on loss of public funds through corruption, 23 per cent of the respondents had the perception that it was loss to the Nigerian people while 18.8 per cent viewed it as loss to the government.
“The view that theft of public funds is a loss to the government should be a cause for alarm as it would be hard to mobilise citizens against corruption until the point where Nigerians view it as an economic crime against the people.
“Of greater concern is that a combined 18 per cent seems to tacitly approve or, at least, admire the act of corruption and illicit wealth acquisition.
“About 12per cent views the loss of public money as a source of wealth while five per cent would even wish to get an opportunity to perpetuate such a vice,” he said.
Kibathi, therefore, recommended that all individuals and bodies fighting corruption should explore the immense opportunities that lied in the power of social media to inform and influence behavioural change.
He said that there is an urgent need for government to overhaul current anti-corruption institutional frameworks to strengthen their effectiveness.
“The Nigerian society should also explore means of rewarding leaders and public officers of exemplary character, who abide to the acceptable standards of ethics and integrity especially those who end their tenures in public office without a stain.
“All Nigerians should see themselves as the direct bearers of the deficits of corruption in all its ramifications and offer themselves as agents of social change,” Kibathi urged.