January 24, 2020

Nigeria drops point in global corruption index, ranked 146 out of 180 countries


We’re vindicated — PDP
Your index assessment of Nigeria baseless, illogical — EFCC

By Soni Daniel, Ikechukwu Nnochiri, Dirisu Yakubu

ABUJA — THE 2019 Corruption Perception Index, CPI,  released by Transparency International, TI, yesterday, revealed that Nigeria has further slipped down in the global rating, scoring 26 out of 100 points.

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has said the damning 2019 corruption index report on Nigeria by TI, was a vindication of its stand that corruption had worsened under President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.

However, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has condemned the 2019 Corruption Perception Index, CPI, released by Transparency International, TI, which ranked Nigeria 146 out of 180 countries analysed.

On its part, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, said it was not surprised by Nigeria’s ranking, but suggests that the fight against corruption in the country has not improved.

READ ALSO:EFCC will fight corruption vigorously in 2020 – Magu

The report which was made available to newsmen in Abuja by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center, CISLAC, an arm of TI in Nigeria, showed that the country fell back by one point, compared to its 2018 rating.  The report, indicated that in the country comparison, Nigeria, rank-ed 146 out of 180 countries, slipping two places down, compared to 2018 results.

“The negative result from this year provokes tough questions. Despite the proclaimed war on corruption, why is Nigeria perceived by Nigerians and the international community as still very corrupt? The government of Nigeria claims winning the war on corruption, but is this statement backed by evidence?” CISLAC queried in its report.

It decried that every year when results from the global rating are not favourable to the government, the CPI and all other critical citizens are dismissed and branded as unpatriotic.

“Instead of analytically discussing why Nigeria does not seem to be winning the war on corruption,  the government and her supporters will spend tax payers’ resources and precious time on denying the obvious- Nigeria does not make much progress in the fight against corruption.”

Though the report acknowledged that Nigeria had since 2015, made important reforms that include introduction of Single Treasury Account, launch of the Anti-Corruption Strategy, as well as the Know-Your-Customer policy,  it however, decried that “all useful reforms in Nigeria are limited to those who cannot afford to ignore them.”

We’re vindicated- PDP

PDP in a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, said it was 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 Africa 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, has further exposed 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. Moreover, the fact that the APC and its government, with their numerous megaphones, have remained silent over the report is also very revealing.”

Your corruption index assessment of Nigeria baselss, illogical— EFCC

Reacting to the report, EFCC in a statement by its acting spokesman, Tony Orilade, described  the poor rating as baseless appalling, dubbing what it called ‘the bogus and ambiguous criteria’ used by TI to arrive at its warped verdict as jaundiced.

He said, “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 Buhari.

“The claim and inference by TI that Nigeria ranks the fourth most corrupt country in West Africa is totally unacceptable, as it 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.

“Suffice to state that in 2019 – the year under review by TI was particularly a remarkable one for the EFCC as the Commission secured unprecedented record of 1,268 convictions, including that of a former state governor and a serving senator who was convicted for defrauding his state to the tune of N7.65 billion. It was a landmark in the fight against corruption never achieved across the West African region, indeed, Africa at large. This is among several high profile cases, which were successfully prosecuted during the year with many of them currently serving various jail terms.”

We are not surprised — SERAP

SERAP in a statement by Kolawole Oluwadare, its deputy director, “Nigeria’s score on TI’s Corruption Perception Index 2019 is hardly surprising but suggests that the fight against corruption in the country has not improved, and in fact remains at the level of the 2015 ranking in which Nigeria also scored 26. With an average of 32, Sub-Saharan Africa’s performance paints a bleak picture of inaction against corruption.

“The political will demonstrated by President Buhari in his early days in office, would seem to be on backslide since 2016. The authorities should not simply dismiss the ranking. Going forward, Nigerian authorities must embrace the recommendations by TI and set some benchmarks for anti-corruption improvements in the coming years.

The authorities should take the CPI to heart and initiate and actively ensure:

“President Buhari’s government should raise his game to fight grand corruption and to improve the ability of anti-corruption agencies to more effectively and efficiently discharge their mandates.

“The CPI may not be perfect, and in fact no index is. The CPI may not show actual evidence of corruption in the country, but perceptions are commonly a good indicator of the real level of corruption. In any case, the devastating effects of corruption in virtually all sectors providing essential public services are too glaring for Nigerians to ignore.”