By Nwafor Sunday
With the report released on Thursday by the Transparency International, which Nigeria was ranked 146 out of 180 countries with the highest number of corruption practice, Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, Friday faulted the report, saying that it cannot be proved scientifically.
The outspoken Shehu equally said that the report lacked fact, insisting that it is a hearsay, which is different from the reality on the ground.
Disclosing this while having a chat with Channels TV, Shehu said the report was based on secondary data and not factual.
“In fairness to the TI that presented the report, they said themselves that it is not research-based.
“So, it is not fact-based but based on secondary data; information collected here and there. In effect, anybody could put together this kind of report from press releases issued by opposition political parties.”
The presidential spokesman also said the latest report is “harsh on the government,” adding: “This administration has done enormously well. We have achieved quite a lot.
”It is hearsay, somebody said something and we are picking it from there.”
Recall that Shehu is not the only person that has defended the anti-corruption fight of President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
The likes of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and the Independent and Financial Crimes Commission ICPC, have affixed their voices to the federal government position, quashing and crushing the hypothetical statement of TI on Nigeria.
EFCC had through a statement by its spokesman, Tony Orilade, rejected the report, saying it is baseless and added that TI has been consistent in its biased rating of Nigeria.
“We insist that the rating is a far cry from the evident strides and achievements so far accomplished by the anti-graft agency in the fight against corruption, particularly under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The claim is evidently not supported by any empirical data, especially when placed side-by-side with the remarkable achievements of the Commission in the past years.
“Moreover, it is quite ironic that the report by TI posits that the index does not show real incidences of corruption, yet it claims that the report is a reliable indication of the perception of the Nigerian public and the international community about the state of corruption in the country.”
On the other hand, ICPC through its spokesperson, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa, averred that TI has consistently failed to recognise the efforts of the present government to tame corruption in the country.
“ICPC finds it necessary to issue a statement on the 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index released recently by the Transparency International (TI), the global anti-corruption watchdog.
“The report ranked Nigeria 146 out of 180 countries with a score of 26 out 0f 100 and painted a dismal picture of the country’s anti-corruption efforts by placing Nigeria as the second most corrupt country in the West African region.
“More importantly, the strides of government in relation to corruption prevention measures appear to have been totally ignored. “Perception is one thing, the reality is another. To lend credence to perception, it may be helpful to match it against reality especially when information on perception is coming from a source such as TI.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in a statement said that TI report validated their stand that corruption has worsened under APC and Buhari led Federal government.
The party however, mocked Buhari presidency and APC to speak out.
Parts of the statement reads: “The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says the damning 2019 corruption index report on Nigeria by Transparency International (TI) has further validates its position that corruption has worsened under President Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC).
The party describes as a national embarrassment that under an administration by the same leader who wears the medal as “African Union (AU) Anti-Corruption Champion”, and whose government boasts of zero-tolerance for corruption, our nation now ranks as fourth most corrupt country in West African and one of the leading most corrupt countries of the world.
The TI report, which shows our country dropping to a malodorous 26, from the already disapproving 27 points it maintained since 2017, had further exposed the the Buhari administration and the APC as merely posturing as saints and hounding innocent Nigerians with fake anti corruption war, while engaged in unprecedented looting of our national resources.
It indeed speaks volume that the Buhari administration and the APC that came into power in 2015 on an anti-corruption mantra, has ended up becoming the most corrupt in the history of our dear nation.”