2023 Polls: APC Governors Forum DG Accuses Transparency Int’l Of Attempting To Influence Outcome

President Muhammadu Buhari with some members of the Progressives Governor Forum in Abuja on June 22, 2020.

 

The Director-General of the Progressives Governors Forum, Salihu Lukman, has accused Transparency International of attempting to influence the outcome of Nigeria’s 2023 general elections.

TI had in its 2020 report of Corruption Perception Index released on Thursday said Nigeria scored 25 out of 100 points, ranking 149 out of 183 countries surveyed.

It was the country’s worst rating in years.

TI cited an absence of transparency, nepotism, lack of adequate anti-corruption legal frameworks, the prevalence of bribery and extortion in the Nigerian Police, corruption in the security sector, among others, as reasons for the low rating.

But in a statement issued on Tuesday, the PGF DG described the rating as a poor attempt at politicising the fight against corruption.

“For a government that prioritises the fight against corruption to have been condemning in the way the CPI report did, it is not only indicting but troubling,” the statement partly read.

“Given that it is a report of “perception by Nigerian businesses and country experts on the level of corruption in the public sector”, it is important to engage the issue beyond the media campaign going on, which may only be gaining prominence because of the widespread sentiments of Nigerians that every government initiative promotes corrupt practices and every public official is corrupt.

“With or without the 2020 CPI report, this is the belief of most Nigerians. Therefore, the 2020 CPI report only help to advance the gullibility of most Nigerians with a report of the survey of ‘perception by Nigerian businesses and country experts.’”

While citing Andersson and Heywood in the journal of political studies as saying that ‘in politics, the power of perceptions ought not to be allowed to serve as a proxy for reality,’ the PGF boss asked the global anti-corruption watchdog to go beyond perception and expose actual corruption.

READ ALSO: Five Key Reasons Why Nigeria Dropped On Corruption Perception Index

Lukman said that while it is important to stress that no government can be perfect or successfully eliminate corruption, the CPI 2020 report on Nigeria presented a very bad approach to engaging the Nigerian government in the fight against corruption.

“For us to be able to fight against corruption, based on the ‘perception by Nigerian businesses and country experts’, there must be a change of government. This is the underlying narrative in the CPI report. It is basically more of a political campaign if you like for 2023.

“Nigerians, including local leaders of civil society groups and their international partners are free to make their political choices and decisions. But they should be transparent about it. It mustn’t be a case of shadowboxing Nigerian citizens and forcing them to kowtow political choices fraudulently contrived because Nigerian citizens are committed to the fight against corruption!” the statement added.

 

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

Politicising Anti-Corruption Campaign in Nigeria

 

Salihu Moh. Lukman

Progressive Governors Forum

Abuja

While revalidating his membership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on January 30, 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari accused Nigerian elites of harassing the government and pleaded with them to be fair in their assessment of his performance by taking cognisance of the state of the country’s finances. No doubt the President must be having at the back of his mind recent attempts by some civil society organisations alleging Nigeria’s poor performance in the fight against corruption. Citing the recently released Transparency International (TI) 2020 report of Corruption Perception Index (CPI), which claimed that Nigeria scored 25 out of 100 points in the 2020 CPI, some Nigerians have intensified campaigns alleging that Nigeria is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, ranking 149 out of 183.

No doubt such a damning report should be disturbing to every Nigerian, including the President. For a government that prioritises the fight against corruption to have been condemning in the way the CPI report did, it is not only indicting but troubling. Given that it is a report of “perception by Nigerian businesses and country experts on the level of corruption in the public sector”, it is important to engage the issue beyond the media campaign going on, which may only be gaining prominence because of the widespread sentiments of Nigerians that every government initiative promotes corrupt practices and every public official is corrupt. With or without the 2020 CPI report, this is the belief of most Nigerians. Therefore, the 2020 CPI report only helps to advance the gullibility of most Nigerians with a report a survey of ‘perception by Nigerian businesses and country experts.’

Who are these Nigerian businesses and experts? Certainly, the CPI 2020 report would have clarified that. Part of this creates difficulty in establishing the objectivity of their conclusions. Not only in the case of Nigeria, but also with reference to all other countries, the criticism of the CPI report is that it doesn’t take into account the important issue of efforts to fight corruption through prosecution of cases. This is the point, which was identified since 2009 by Staffan Andersson and Paul M. Heywood of Växjö, Sweden and Nottingham, UK Universities respectively, in Vol. 57, 746-767 of the UK based Journal of Political Studies. They noted that CPI only measures perceptions and not reported cases, prosecutions or proven incidences of corruption. In particular, they drew attention that ‘the CPI is a composite index which draws upon a series of surveys mainly aimed at Western business leaders and expert assessment to provide a picture of perceived corruption. Often there are no respondents drawn from the country in question, and the questions posed in many of the surveys relate specifically to business transactions.’ The main focus of the investigation, therefore, is on bribe-takers and not the givers suggesting that bribes are paid to officials on demand and not proactively to secure contracts.

This raises the point about whether the initiative of the government in the fight against corruption is taken into account. For instance, if bribes are collected by government officials, irrespective of whether it was as a result of demand by public officials or proactively done to secure contracts, to what extent are they being arrested? Are there prosecutions? How many arrests and prosecutions were there in 2020 for instance? What is the impact of arrests and prosecutions on the campaign against corruption in the country? Were there cases that should have been arrested but were not? Were there cases of poor prosecution?

These should have ordinarily been the issues that should serve as the focus of public debates with recommendations of what needs to be done in order to strengthen the fight against corruption in the country. Instead, all that we have in the 2020 CPI report are alleged to lack of transparency in Covid-19 pandemic responses, nepotism in public service appointment, lack of adequate anti-corruption legal frameworks and interference by politicians in the operation of law enforcement agencies, the prevalence of bribery and extortion in the Nigerian police and security sector corruption.

Without evidence to validate these allegations, any conclusion will be highly subjective. For instance, if there is a lack of transparency in the management of Covid-19 responses, what are the specific issues? If it is about funding, how much funding has been allocated? How much of the funds are unaccounted for? Who is to account for the unaccounted funds? If it is about procurement, especially now that we are at a stage when the issue of vaccine procurement is a major challenge, how is the government handling it? Beyond vaccine, in other cases of procurement under the management of Covid-19 pandemic, how have the handling of government procurement processes impacted on the management of the spread of the pandemic? Are there cases of embezzlement, misappropriation, or fraud? What is the magnitude of public resources involved in these cases?

The point about nepotism in public service appointments, popular as it may be, is subjective and may require a more holistic assessment of appointments made in order to validate any allegation of nepotism. To that extent therefore conclusions based on perception can only be subjective. The claim about the lack of adequate anti-corruption legal frameworks is outrightly false in today’s Nigeria. It will appear that this is most likely reproduced from old reports of CPI before all the anti-corruption laws that led to the emergence of EFCC, ICPC, etc. since 2001. It is this kind of conclusion that validates criticisms that the respondents used for the CPI surveys are foreigners whose mindset is hardly located in the country.

The issue of the legal framework in the case of Nigeria should be about reviewing our existing laws so as to strengthen the capacity of the country’s anti-corruption agencies to fight corruption. Related to this, is the need to streamline these agencies to make them more efficient. There is also the challenge of reorganisation such that our anti-corruption agencies are insulated from the negative influences of our law enforcement agencies. But to claim lack of adequate legal frameworks will be far off the reality of where we are in Nigeria. It is most likely if one review all the CPI reports on Nigeria since 1995 when the first CPI report was released, these were the same factors identified.

Largely because the CPI report is not about evidential cases of the fight against corruption, sadly, the only issue in the Nigerian media is largely opinion. As a nation, we need to go beyond the opinions of individuals. Why should any serious assessment of the fight against corruption in Nigeria not be informed by the reality that there are more 16 high-profile cases of corruption trials on-going? All the 16 cases are started within the last 5 years under the current administration. Why should it be difficult for any serious local organisation to provide an assessment of the progress being made in prosecuting all these cases in 2020? There were of course corruption cases under the previous administrations under PDP. Therefore, conclusions about Nigeria’s performance in the fight against corruption should take bearing in terms of at least how the fight against corruption under the current administration compares with what obtains under the preceding ones.

How can any report of Nigeria’s fight against corruption in 2020, for instance, completely ignore some of the landmark corruption cases in 2020 such as the order for a forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)? If the CPI report is in any way correct that Nigeria dropped three-point in 2020 to 149 from 146 in the world ranking, how come Nigeria gained 15 points on the World Bank ranking of ease of Doing Business, emerging to 131st from 146th? The issue, which is a source of frustration to both the government and every patriotic Nigerian should be the question of what needs to be done to accelerate the process of securing a judgement in corruption trials. This is a matter that would require some reform of our criminal justice system. Without securing judgement leading to the conviction of corrupt public officials, the fight against corruption will be weak in the country. This is not a focus of the CPI. The challenge bordering on the management of our criminal justice system would appear to be responsible for the embarrassing situation whereby although judgements were secured in some corruption cases in Nigeria, which include the cases of Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu and Chief Olisah Metuh, they were reversed by Courts of Appeal and retrial ordered.

These instances of reversal of judgements may confirm cases of interferences by politicians. However, fair assessment of such interferences would have exonerated the government because while in the case Sen. Kalu, he is a member of APC, Chief Metuh is a member of the PDP. To further confirm that Nigerian anti-corruption agencies are not being partisan in the country’s anti-corruption war, just on Tuesday, January 26, 2021, Federal High Court, Abuja ordered the final forfeiture of over $600,000 belonging to former Governor of Zamfara State, Alh. Abdulaziz Yari. Alh. Yari is a member of APC who is being prosecuted by the ICPC. APC being the governing party, if the case of political interference in which the party and the federal government are to be guilty, the case of Alh. Yari would have confirmed it.

The nexus between corruption, underdevelopment and high incidence of poverty in countries with low capacity to fight corruption cannot be disputed. Whereby corruption is high, capacity of government to execute projects of economic development will be weak. As a nation, Nigeria has had its fair share of evidence in this regard. There were mind-blowing cases of corruption between 1999 and 2015. We could recall instances of $6.8 Billion fuel subsidy scam, over N6 Billion Naira Nigeria Immigration Service Scam, $20 Billion NNPC fund scam, N120 Billion Malibu oil block fraud, N20 Billion Pension fund fraud and N10 Billion Diezani aircraft fraud. These were clear cases that diverted huge financial resources, which would have been utilised to execute major developments. All these cases would have definitely confirmed low rating of Nigeria in the fight against corruption between 1999 and 2015. Any conclusion about poor performance should therefore be substantiated with empirical records of instances of corruption between 2015 and now. Nigerian civil society groups who are partners of TI should be able to go beyond perception and expose in clear terms how much has been stolen in 2020 and by who?

No doubt, Nigerians have every reason in ensuring that the fight against corruption is succeeding such that public resources are protected. If records of execution of government development projects is anything to go by, poor performance in the fight against corruption cannot be substantiated. Noting that in the same 2020, the government was able to set aside N50 Billion through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for Household and SME support facility and by July 2020, N49.195 Billion was disbursed to over 92,000 beneficiaries, it difficult not to cite political motives in the CPI reports. Other welfare programmes under the government’s Social Investment Programme have similarly continued. Besides the fact that notwithstanding the contraction of economy caused by the pandemic, the government was also able to inaugurate the commencement of Lagos – Ibadan railway transport, there were many other capital-intensive projects that continued unhindered throughout the year. Could it be that there are reported cases by contractors handling these projects about incidences of bribery given to public officials, which would have inflated the value of these projects? By how much were they inflated? And who are the public officials responsible for the inflation?

In every respect, it is very difficult to reconcile the CPI 2020 report with most of the report about the performance of Nigerian government 2020. Take the case of the Bloomberg report of June 23, 2020, which reported that Nigerian government rules out request for relief in its debt service payment at a time when virtually most African countries were negotiating relief. Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed was reported to have told Bloomberg that ‘Nigeria is not planning to ask for debt repayment deferment for our commercial loans or for our bilateral loans from our bilateral creditors’. A number of these would have been impossible under a corrupt government. Rather, all we will be having would have been excuses why no development has taken place in 2020, especially given the contraction of the economy under Covid-19 reality.

While it is important to stress that no government can be perfect and no government can successfully eliminate corruption, the CPI 2020 report on Nigeria present a very bad approach to engage the Nigerian government in the fight against corruption. It is a poor attempt to politicise the fight against corruption largely because it completely ignores all the empirical cases that should have provide objective indicators for the performance of Nigerian government. Beyond politics is also the funding reality, which has made Nigerian civil society groups to be very aggressive in legitimising the CPI 2020 report in Nigeria.

This support the point made by Andersson and Heywood in the Journal of Political Studies cited above to the effect that ‘There is no shortage of anti-corruption organisations and agencies … but TI enjoys an unrivalled pre-eminence among them, a factor which undoubtedly assists in securing revenue to continue its activities. Some cynics may be tempted to suggest that if TI were to be too successful in prosecuting the fight against corruption then its very raison d’être would disappear; hence it is in the organisation’s interest to ensure that corruption continues to enjoy high visibility. While there is no evidence that those who run TI are anything less than wholly genuine in their commitment to fighting corruption, and for the most honourable of reasons, it remains the case, … that promoting transparency and ‘good governance’ can have unintended negative consequences. TI’s Corruption Perceptions Index has had an enormously influential impact in terms of promoting awareness of corruption, stimulating research into the reasons for its emergence and identifying mechanisms to combat it. Nonetheless, we should not forget that in politics the power of perceptions ought not to be allowed to serve as a proxy for reality.’

There cannot be any better conclusion. The challenge to Nigerian civil society groups and patriots is really to rise above cheap smear campaigns based on perceptions and sentiments. Corruption is not a theoretical issue. It is a very practical challenge. It is beyond the perception of anyone. Where perception is to be our guide, we should be able to confirm it with evidence of reality. If TI can conveniently rely on perception, any serious Nigerian organisation should be able to corroborate perception with empirical cases of corruption. If one is to interpret the Nigeria CPI 2020 report, the conclusion is that the current government of APC under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has lost the fight against corruption. For us to be able to fight against corruption, based on the ‘perception by Nigerian businesses and country experts’, there has to be a change of government. This is the underlying narrative in the CPI report. It is basically more of a political campaign, if your like for 2023. Nigerians, including local leaders of civil society groups and their international partners are free to make their political choices and decisions. But they should be transparent about it. It mustn’t be a case of shadowboxing Nigerian citizens and forcing them to kowtow political choices fraudulently contrived because Nigerian citizens are committed to the fight against corruption!

Corruption Index Not Accurate Portrayal Of Nigeria’s Situation – Presidency

A file photo of Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu
A file photo of Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu

 

The Presidency on Thursday responded to Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index which placed Nigeria 149 out of the 180 countries surveyed.

The TI data suggested that Nigeria’s corruption situation had worsened.

However, in a statement, presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said the Muhammadu Buhari administration deserves credit for reducing corruption in the country.

According to Shehu, the TI report is not an accurate portrayal of the facts on the ground.

READ SHEHU’S FULL STATEMENT:

PRESIDENT BUHARI DESERVES CREDIT FOR DIMINISHING CORRUPTION IN PUBLIC SERVICE

The Buhari administration deserves credit for diminishing corruption in the public service and will continue to vigorously support prevention, enforcement, public education and enlightenment activities of anti-corruption agencies.

We are currently analyzing the sources of data used in arriving at the latest Transparency International (TI) report on Corruption Perceptions Index in Nigeria since by their own admission, they don’t gather their own data.

This report is not an accurate portrayal of the facts on ground.

In the coming days, the Government’s Technical Unit on Governance Research (TUGAR) will be providing more detailed information on the sources of the TI data.

While this is being awaited, the examination carried out on their 2019 report showed that 60 percent of their data was collected from businesses and other entities with issues bordering on transparency and the ease of doing business at the ports.

Although this is a government ready to learn from mistakes and make corrections, the economy of this country, in its fullness, is bigger than the sea ports we have.

We are also not unaware of the characters behind the TI in Nigeria whose opposition to the Buhari administration is not hidden.

We have repeatedly challenged TI to provide indices and statistics of its own to justify its sensational and baseless rating on Nigeria and the fight against corruption. We expect them to come clean and desist from further rehashing of old tales.

A Naira denominated review that excludes recoveries in Dollars, Pounds, Euro shows that a sum of N1.2tn was recovered by EFCC between 2009 — 2019. N939bn of that total was recovered between 2015 – 2019 with less than N300bn recovered in the first six years.

Additionally, preventative instruments deployed by this administration such as Treasury Single Account (TSA), Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) coverage expansion and the removal of 54,000 ghost workers from federal civil service saving us N200bn annually serve as evidence that perception is not reality.

Reality is based on verifiable facts and data. And any evidence-based analysis would prove that whether it is by prevention or punitive measures in recoveries and prosecution, this administration would be rising fast up these rankings rather than standing still.

Organizations should be factual in their analysis and be prepared to rely on inputs outside of sensational media reports and age-old narratives which have not been updated to reflect today’s reality in Nigeria concerning its globally-respected war on corruption.

In the existential fight against this multi-pronged malice and manifestations of corruption, President Muhammadu Buhari has avowed that he would take-no-prisoners, guided by respect for the rule of law.

We invite Nigerians to stand with an administration that has done so much on asset recovery, prosecution, legislation, political will and leadership by example in the fight against corruption.

Equally, we urge our friends in the media, development partners and the civil society organizations to continue to support efforts to strengthen accountability, transparency, ethical values and integrity in Nigeria’s public sector.

President Buhari has put his hand to the plough and will not relent in working with those passionate about the welfare, stability and prosperity of future generations to come in Nigeria.

Garba Shehu
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
January 28, 2021

Corruption Perception Index: Nigeria Drops To 149, Worst Ranking Since 2013

 

Nigeria has recorded its worst rating on Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perception Index since 2013.

In the 2020 index released on Thursday, the country scored 25 out of 100 points, dropping to 149 out of the 180 countries surveyed, taking the nation three steps down from the 146 scored in 2019.

According to Transparency International, the nation’s deep in ranking stems from an absence of transparency,  nepotism, lack of adequate anti-corruption legal frameworks, the prevalence of bribery and extortion in the Nigerian Police, corruption in the security sector, among others.

Below is a report as sent out by The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)/ Transparency International Nigeria in conjunction with The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) and BudgIT.

SEE FULL INDEX HERE – Corruption Perception Index (1)

Corruption Perceptions Index 2020:  “Corruption in Pandemic Response and Law Enforcement drags Nigeria’s corruption perception further down”

In Abuja: The 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released globally by Transparency International (TI) today shows that Nigeria yet again, records a decline in the CPI in 2020.

Published exclusively in Nigeria by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), the National Chapter of TI, the index reveals that Nigeria scored 25 out of 100 points in the 2020 CPI, falling back by one point compared to last year.

In the country comparison for this year, Nigeria ranks 149 out of 183 countries -three places down compared to 2019 results.

The CPI aggregates data from 8 (eight) different sources that provide
perceptions by Nigeria’s business community and country experts on the level of corruption in the public sector.

While the index does not show specific incidences of corruption, it is an indication of the perception of the Nigerian public about the state of corruption in the country.

The index iscompletely impartial, objective and globally well respected.
This result is coming at the heels of numerous challenges facing the country ranging from the Covid-19 pandemic, insecurity, high unemployment and a sharp increase in government borrowing amongst others.

While releasing its report on “Rising to the Challenge: Nigeria’s COVID
Response” in December, 2020 the World Bank warned that “In the next three years, an average Nigerian could see a reversal of decades of economic growth and the country could enter its deepest recession since the 1980s.” According to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) which is an independent think tank

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organization, Nigeria witnessed a total of 2,860 kidnappings in 2020 which was up from 1,386 in 2019. The picture is further gloomy when taking into consideration the Unemployment Data for the second quarter of 2020 released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). This survey by the NBS which is the government’s statistical agency shows that one in two Nigerian is either unemployed (27.1%) or underemployed (28.6%). Each of these challenges can be linked to corruption and mismanagement of public resources, which further
exacerbates the economic and health impact of the terrible global pandemic.

Nigeria’s CPI score is just another reminder of the need for a fast, transparent, and robust response to the challenges posed by corruption to Nigeria. It is worrying that despite the numerous efforts by state actors on the war against corruption, Nigeria is still perceived by citizens and members of the international community as being corrupt. CISLAC/TI is forced to ask why the results do not commensurate with the efforts? Despite the fact that CISLAC and Nigerian partners do not collect the CPI data as this is done by independent, reputable organisations, we and other well-
meaning citizens have experienced push-back from various governments and their supporters when the CPI results and other indices turn unfavourable.

Some of these pushbacks include labelling us “unpatriotic citizens”. In some instances, physical attacks were experienced.

Going forward, we use this medium to call on the government and her
supporters to examine the drivers behind Nigeria’s deteriorating anti-corruption image and consider actions, which will tackle systemic corruption.

We guarantee that the perception will improve in the short term. As law abiding citizens, CISLAC/TI and other partner organizations are willing to work with state and non-state actors on how to collectively improve Nigeria’s fight against corruption as we have always done in the past.

CISLAC/TI and partners suspect a list of key weaknesses to explain why Nigeria may not have improved in the fight against corruption. Although there

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is a various extent of the below-mentioned factors on the unfavourable ranking this year, we feel that these areas require immediate improvement for the sake of well-being of ordinary Nigerians:
Weakness 1: Absence of transparency in the COVID-19 pandemic
response With the COVID-19 pandemic out of Nigeria’s responsibility, there has been a lack of transparency in the emergency response of the government. Coupled with the gap in coordination, the process has been fraught by incessant flouting of procurement guidelines, hoarding of relief materials and diversion of these materials which are then used as personal souvenirs presented to political party loyalists and close associates. We find it disturbing that in some cases, supplies
donated by a group of well-meaning Nigerian business persons, corporate entities, development partners and others under the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) were left inexplicably undistributed, and in some cases rotten, by the federal and state governments. While these occurrences are not specific
to Nigeria, citizens are yet to see concrete action by the anti-graft agencies on these issues.

Weakness 2: Nepotism in the public service appointments and promotions

In the past year, we witnessed nepotism and favoritism in the appointment and promotion of some public officers. For example, all Nigerians remember the controversy which trailed the decision of the National Judicial Council (NJC) when at least 8 (eight) of the 33 judges recommended for appointment by the NJC were either children or relatives of current or retired Justices of the Supreme or Appeal Courts. The Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in itself is not an exception with allegations of individuals promoted on the basis of their
relationship and other affiliations as against merit and other criteria stated in the rule books. Reports around the commercialization of employment into various institutions including admission into various tertiary educational institutions put the nation in bad light. The extortion for the acquisition of

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services like healthcare, passports renewal and obtaining of visas creates a negative perception of corruption in Nigeria.

Weakness 3: Lack of adequate anti-corruption legal frameworks and
interference by politicians in the operation of law enforcement agencies.

CISLAC/TI is not oblivious of some successes recorded by the Nigerian
government such as the Transparency portal managed and implemented by the Office of the Auditor General. These activities have the potential to bring corruption and wastefulness of the government agencies at all levels to the end.

We fully support this initiative.

Important anti-corruption legislations such as the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA, 2020) and the Police Act 2020 undeniably signal move in the right direction. However, more needs to be done to enact legislation and implement it.

The repeated failure to enact the Proceeds of Crime Act as a legal framework for the management and utilization of recovered assets in Nigeria which is one of the key pillars of this administration’s anti-corruption strategy is inexplicable! There is still a lack of accountability in some quarters of government, especially in terms of beneficial owners of lucrative government contracts. Out of millions of corrupt transactions experienced annually, only a few hundreds of offenders are investigated, let alone convicted on corruption
charges.

The current scenario where different institutions like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Code of Conduct Bureau, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency the Nigerian Police and other agencies overlap with mandates and lack synergy is not sustainable and have proven to be a leeway to corruption. The infighting and politicizing of the anti-corruption agenda may be evident by the way of suspending the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Mr.

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Ibrahim Magu. The accusation that he failed to give a proper account of assets recovered by his agency is questionable provided no clear legal and policy asset recovery framework exists. CISLAC/TI will like to point out that the theatric handling of the suspension of Mr. Magu could have been done better and this greatly contributes to the negative image of Nigeria’s anti-corruption campaign. The absence of a Whistle Blower Protection Legislation leaves Nigerian anti-corruption agencies deprived of key insider intelligence without which an anti-corruption crusade is a mission impossible.

Weakness 4: Prevalence of bribery and extortion in the Nigerian Police
The year 2020 witnessed the #EndSARS protests which saw young people across the nation demanding an end to police brutality and corruption. A factor that led to this protest was widespread bribery and extortion by law enforcement officials especially the police. The first and second national corruption surveys conducted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in partnership with the government’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and released in 2017 and 2019 both showed the Nigerian Police is the institution with the highest prevalence of bribery amongst the institutions measured.

While there have been commendable efforts by the Police Complaints Response Unit (CRU) in reducing police abuses, there is a need to scale up the efforts of the unit to meet the demands of citizens as contained in the Police Act 2020.

Weakness 5: Security sector corruption From violent extremism and insurgency to piracy, kidnapping for ransom, attacks on oil infrastructure, drug trafficking, and organized crime, Nigeria
faces a host of complex security challenges. These threats typically involve irregular forces and are largely societally based. They are most prevalent and persistent in marginalized areas where communities feel high levels of distrust toward the government—often built up over many years. At their root, these security challenges are symptoms of larger failures in governance.

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As many of Nigeria’s security threats are domestic in nature, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) is often the primary security interface with the public. However, low levels of public trust in the police inhibit the cooperation needed to be effective against these societally based threats.

Nigeria’s security system is also perceived to be politicized. Leaders are often appointed based on their political allegiances rather than on their experience or capabilities in law enforcement. As a result, the quality of leadership at the helm of affairs suffers. Appointees under such circumstances feel loyalty to their political patron rather than to their institutions or citizens. How and to whom the law is applied is not consistent. Norms of professionalism and ethics are weakened.
The problem of non-meritocratic leadership is exacerbated by a command-and-control structure that is opaque, centralized, and often chaotic. security leaders who have not earned their position lose the respect of their colleagues, who are then more likely to abandon a unit when facing an armed threat. Insufficient understanding or commitment to effectiveness among a force’s leadership often
results in the neglect of training. Problems of police engagement with
communities are thus perpetuated.

The continuous opaqueness in the utilization of security votes contributes to corruption perception in the country and this process must be reformed especially when we have security agencies living and working in very poor conditions. Multiple reports of police officers protesting non-payment of allowances for election duties are now seen. The result of this is the widespread kidnappings, banditry and terrorism ravaging different parts of the country.

Having itemized the key weaknesses that resulted in Nigeria’s decline of the CPI 2020, members of CISLAC/TI and other civil society organisations of like minds understand that as patriotic citizens it is our duty to criticize constructively. To this effect, we will like to advice the government to implement these recommendations:

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1. Transparency in the utilization of covid-19 relief funds by state and
non-state actors must be ensured. The National Assembly and
relevant anti-graft agencies must follow up cases of corruption in
the covid-19 response process and reports from the Auditor
General’s office. The office of the Auditor General should also be
strengthened to carry out an audit of the COVID-19 relief
process.

2. Public servants should be appointed, appraised and promoted on
merit to reduce the level of nepotism and favouritism. Lop-sidedness
in appointments increases perception of corruption of the due
process.

3. The National Assembly should speed up the deliberation and
passage of relevant anti-corruption related laws or amendments to
strengthen the anti-corruption efforts in the interest of Nigerians.
The presidency should assent to these laws once they are passed
while taking into consideration the best interest of citizens.

4. The government should commit to police reform by ensuring the
full implementation of the Police Act 2020, support the ongoing
judicial panels of enquiries and prioritize the welfare of the
personnel of the Nigerian Police.

5. The government should put in place a transparent monitoring
framework for Security votes. The government should also ensure
that these funds are channelled to security and defence agencies.

6. The Federal Government should urgently constitute the National
Council on Public Procurement (NCPP) to actively coordinate the
activities of the Bureau of Public Procurement and give full effect to
the Public Procurement Act 2007.

7. The government must ensure democratic and free civic space for
engagement with citizenry and the media.

8. We call on revenue generating agencies like the Federal Inland
Revenue Service, the National Ports Authority and the Nigerian
Customs Service to ensure that they improve efforts to curb
extortion and bribery among their officials.

9. There is also a need to operationalize the anti-corruption strategy to
ensure that anti-corruption efforts are not concentrated at the
federal level alone. Also other arms of government need to be
involved in the fight against corruption. It shouldn’t be left alone to
the executive alone.

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Ladies and gentlemen of the press, you will agree with us that it would be of immense benefit to public institutions, the government and Nigerian citizens if these recommendations are implemented.
God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

Signed:

The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)/ Transparency
International Nigeria.

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD)

BudgIT

Contact

Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)

Executive Director CISLAC

16 P.O.W. Mafemi Crescent, Off Solomon Lar Way, Behind Chida Hotel, Utako District, Abuja. Nigeria

Phone: (234) 0803 384 4646

Email: [email protected]
Web: http://cislacnigeria.net

Corruption Perception Index (1)

EFCC Slams Transparency International Over ‘Poor’ Rating On Nigeria

 

 

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

The Commission further faulted the poor rating as baseless and described as appalling, the ‘bogus and ambiguous’ criteria used by TI to arrive at what the agency described as a ‘jaundiced and illogical rating’.

According to the EFCC, 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 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,” EFCC stated in a communique on Thursday.

READ ALSO: Why Nigeria Was Ranked Low In Corruption Index – Transparency International

The EFCC further stated that it is quite ironic that the report by TI posits 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.

Still reacting to the report, EFCC stated 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 N7.65billion.

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.

Over the past years, billions of naira, millions of dollars and other foreign currencies were recovered from corrupt persons in the country, including securing the forfeiture of assets of their illegal and fraudulent activities. So far, the EFCC has evidently altered the narrative that there are some persons that are untouchables in the country.

It is on record that three former state governors are currently serving different jail terms in prison for defrauding their states and stealing from the treasury to enrich themselves and their cronies.

The EFCC has also spearheaded the Nigerian angle of prosecuting those involved in the Malabu Oil Fraud, and in partnership with the INTERPOL, was able to secure the repatriation of a former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice implicated in the fraud, who has been on the run. Charges have already been filed against him at a Federal Capital Territory, FCT High Court and he has just been arraigned today.

The Commission has also not given up on its unrelenting efforts to ensure that a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, is made to answer for the various malfeasance perpetrated under her, in spite of the obvious reluctance of the United Kingdom to repatriate her to Nigeria.

The onslaught against perpetrators of internet fraud, infamously known as yahoo-yahoo, has also intensified with several of them now serving jail terms.”

The EFCC claimed that it is obvious that TI seems to have decidedly decided to look the other way, overlooking all these achievements all of which are not hidden.

According to the antigraft-agency, it is unfortunate that the body has never acknowledged the achievements of the EFC, adding that “it is obvious that the body has its own hidden agenda”.

The Commission said it will not be distracted by a body that has been consistent in its ‘biased rating’ of Nigeria and will continue in its mandate of fighting corruption.

Why Nigeria Was Ranked Low In Corruption Index – Transparency International

 

Nigeria is now ranked 146 out of the 180 countries on the 2019 corruption perception index published by transparency international, having dropped two places.

According to the report released Thursday, the country scored 26 out of 100 points, dropping from the 27 points that it has maintained since 2017.

In the 2018 index, Nigeria rose by four places from 148 to 144.

Addressing journalists in Abuja the head of Transparency International in Nigeria, Auwal Rafsanjani says Nigeria scored 26 out of 100 points, dropping from the 27 points that it has maintained since 2017.

Mr. Rafsanjani stated that selective adherence to the rule of law and corruption in political parties were some of the reasons for the poor ranking.

The Corruption Index ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption in the opinion of experts and business people, using a scale of 0 to 100, where zero means “highly corrupt” and 100 means very clean.

READ ALSO: We Will Repatriate Alison-Madueke To Face Financial Crime Charges – Magu

“Our analysis also suggests that reducing big money in politics and promoting inclusive political decision-making are essential to curb corruption.

“From fraud that occurs at the highest levels of government to petty bribery that blocks access to basic public services like healthcare and education, citizens are fed up with corrupt leaders and institutions,” the report read in part.

The Sub-Saharan Africa region was classified as the lowest-performing region while Western Europe was the highest-scoring region.

Of the 19 countries in the West African region, Nigeria was ranked the fourth most corrupt country.

Transparency international’s chair, Delia Ferreira Rubio asked the government to urgently address what she describes as the corrupting role of big money in political party financing and the undue influence it exerts on political systems.

 

Transparency International Slams ‘Mysterious’ Eurogroup

 

In the depths of the debt crisis, as the single currency faced imminent doom, the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers emerged as one of the most crucial economic institutions in the world.

A stinging report published on Tuesday by Transparency International dissected the opaque grouping which, despite existing only informally, drew up and enforced harrowing bailout plans for Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain.

“For an institution whose decisions have had an impact on the lives of millions of Europeans, there is much about the Eurogroup that is mysterious,” the anti-corruption NGO said in its report.

Since 1998, the Eurogroup meets once a month and is led part-time by a serving national finance minister, currently Portugal’s Mario Centeno.

Before the crisis, the Eurogroup was effectively a policy “talking shop”, but all that changed when the euro dream turned into a financial nightmare.

The emergency demanded tight coordination between eurozone governments as the unforgiving force of the financial markets threatened to kill the single currency project.

In a torturous series of marathon meetings between 2010 and 2013, ministers scribbled out bailouts and new political governance for the single currency, including oversight of national spending plans.

But despite the momentous increase in responsiblity, Transparency International says the Eurogroup has remained a cozy group of ministers who answer only to each other or their national capitals.

“Our conclusion then is that the Eurogroup continues to evade proper accountability,” it said.

The NGO also argues that big member states, notably Germany and France, hold all the cards, despite decisions being taken by unanimity, at least in theory.

France and Germany together account for about half of the eurozone’s GDP.

Small member states, “under pressure from financial markets and time constraints … have a hard time blocking proceedings,” the report said.

This imbalance is even more clear at the European Stability Mechanism, the Eurogroup’s bailout fund created in 2012, where decisions are taken by a majority vote.

As a solution, Transparency International recommends that Eurogroup become “formalised” with direct accountability to the European Parliament.

Moreover, the group argues that Eurogroup should have a full-time president who would be better shielded from pressure coming from national governments and hold clear responsibility for decisions.

Nigeria Moves Up On Transparency International’s CPI

Nigeria Moves Up On Transparency International’s CPI

 

Nigeria has improved on the Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for 2018, the global anti-corruption agency revealed.

In the latest report unveiled on Tuesday, Nigeria moved up four places and was ranked 144 out of the 180 countries that were surveyed last year.

This translates to an upward movement compared to the 148 the nation was ranked in 2017.

Despite the improvement, Nigeria’s score remained the same for the two years at 27/100.

It scored 28/100 and was ranked 136th in 2016.

Nigeria shares its new position with four other countries – Kenya, Mauritania, Guatemala, and Comoros.

These countries also scored 27/100 each in 2018.

READ ALSO: Onnoghen’s Suspension: ‘Nigeria Is Not A Colony’, Oshiomhole Replies US, UK, EU

Meanwhile, the Managing Director of the agency, Patricia Moreira, said the CPI released today revealed that the continued failure of most countries to significantly control corruption contributed to a crisis of democracy around the world.

“With many democratic institutions under threat across the globe – often by leaders with authoritarian or populist tendencies – we need to do more to strengthen checks and balances and protect citizens’ rights,” she said.

Moreira added, “Corruption chips away at democracy to produce a vicious cycle, where corruption undermines democratic institutions and, in turn, weak institutions are less able to control corruption.”

The 2018 CPI draws on 13 surveys and expert assessments to measure public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories, giving each a score from zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

See a screenshot of the index which highlights Nigeria’s position on the CPI below;

We Don’t Need Transparency International To Authenticate What Is Going On – Adesina

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, has faulted reports by Transparency International about corruption in the country and how such reports are perceived.

Adesina said this when he appeared on Channels Television’s special Independence Programme on Monday.

“We have spoken many times about that ranking and my position is that that ranking is not strictly about government, it is about Nigeria and her people,” said Adesina when asked about Nigeria’s fall from 136 to 148 on TI’s Corruption Perception Perception Index (CPI) for 2017, two years after the time the Federal Government started its anti-corruption war.

He added, “Some people want to make it seem as if it is a vote of no confidence in government or it is a lower mark for the government. I don’t agree, I think it is a lower mark for the people because the people constitute the country.

“And if things do not seem to have worked as they should work, the people also have part of the blame.”

The Presidency had rejected the Corruption Perception Index when it was released in February and Mr Adesina suggested it would not be taking such reports seriously.

“As much as I respect Transparency International, I don’t think we necessarily need them to authenticate what is going on in the country; because we, Nigerians, know that there is a war against corruption ongoing and that war is succeeding.

“There are strides being taken. It may not be there yet, and we are not there, but we are on the way there. So, let no agency from any part of the world come to think that whatever it says is the gospel to us.”

This Government Is The Most Committed To Fighting Corruption – Minister

FILE PHOTO Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

 

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Saturday, appealed to Nigerians to support the Federal Government’s anti-corruption war as the Buhari’s government is more committed to it.

Mohammed made the plea while receiving a delegation of Transparency International (TI) in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

“This government is the most committed to fighting corruption,” he said. “We need your support in the area of advocacy and capacity building.”

According to Mohammed, previous administrations in the country never took up the issue of corruption seriously.

“Nigeria has never had a more transparent, more accountable government than the Buhari Administration,” he said.

Concerning the progress of the anti-corruption fight, the minister said TI and some affiliated organisations have not offered the necessary support.

To Mohammed, the Federal Government is not just fighting corruption with laws and prosecution, but also with education and inclusiveness in government.

He therefore urged Non-Governmental Organisation to join hands with the Federal Government, stressing, “they look at the actions of an aberrant few to condemn the government.”

Mohammed further gave the assurance that the war against corruption is being won by President Buhari, noting: “Even his worst critics won’t say he indulges in or encourages corruption.”

On her part, Chairperson of TI’s International Board, Delia Ferreira Rubio, advocated for transparency and more efficiency while tackling corruption.

“We are not an opposition anywhere in the world. We are just an NGO working in over 100 countries of the world. We are not enemies. We are here to help, she said.

 

Corruption Index: SERAP Asks Buhari To Take Ranking As A ‘Wake-Up Call’

Corruption Index: SERAP Asks Buhari To Take Ranking As A 'Wake-Up Call'
File photo: President Muhammadu Buhari

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to see the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) as a wake-up call.

Deputy Director of SERAP in Nigeria, Timothy Adewale, made the appeal on behalf of the organisation in a statement signed by him on Sunday in Lagos.

Transparency International (TI) had said in its report published last week that the perception of corruption has worsened under President Buhari.

READ ALSO: Buhari Asks Transparency International To Focus On Facts

The report showed that the perception of corruption in Nigeria worsened between 2016 and 2017, but the Presidency criticised the global watchdog for publishing “fiction”.

In its reaction, SERAP urged the Federal Government to renew its oft-expressed commitment and raise its game to fight both grand and petty corruption, as well as end the legacy of impunity rather than simply dismissing the survey as ‘fiction’.

“While TI’s index only measures perceptions of corruption, their findings correspond substantially with the reality of impunity of perpetrators, as demonstrated by the low conviction rate, the authorities’ slowness to adopt and implement critical reforms, appearance of selectivity in the anti-corruption fight, apparent complicity of key officials and cover-up, as well as unaddressed alleged corruption against several state governors,” the statement said.

The organisation asked the government to take the report seriously and use it as an opportunity to up its game to rid Nigeria of corruption and underdevelopment.

They noted that Nigerians know corruption when they see it, stressing that government must accept the fact that its commitment to fight corruption has not gone to plan.

 

Devastating Effects Of Corruption

The statement read in part: “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.

“While the government may have blocked some leakages in the systems and reduced the level of impunity witnessed under the previous administrations, it has not done enough to address longstanding cases of corruption, and the appearance of selectivity in the prosecution of corruption allegations, especially when such cases involve those close to the seat of power. Today, corruption still constitutes one of the greatest threats to the country’s sustainable and equitable development.

“Almost three years after taking office, and promising to fight grand corruption, no ‘big fish’ suspected of corruption has yet been sent to jail. The situation has not significantly improved, and it seems unlikely that many of those facing grand corruption charges will be successfully prosecuted. Nigerians need to see real commitment and heavy investment in promoting a culture of clean government, and total obedience to the rule of law.

Corruption In Nigeria Getting Worse – Transparency International

 

Tough Anti-Corruption Laws

“Possessing the political will to fight corruption is not in itself enough if it’s not sufficiently demonstrated. Buhari should take the CPI to heart and initiate and actively facilitate the passing of tough anti-corruption laws, strengthening the capacity and independence of anti-corruption agencies, substantially improving the criminal justice system, obeying decisions and judgments of our courts, and ensuring the passing of the Whistle-blower Bill.

“Buhari can’t fight corruption successfully without significantly improving on the tools used by his predecessor former President Goodluck Jonathan. The government should as a matter of urgency implement governance reforms to advance effective functioning of government institutions, strengthen the quality of democratic institutions and rule of law, and reducing corruption if Nigeria is ever going to improve on its global anti-corruption ranking.

“Public officials still use political power to enrich themselves without considering the public good. Selective application of the law is a sign that the law is not being followed strictly enough, and that the fight against corruption is not maximally prosecuted.

“In several states of the federation and federal ministries, corruption is taking place every day and every hour, especially in the power sector, the education sector, the water sector, the health sector and other important public sectors. Corruption continues to directly affect the lives and well-being of millions of Nigerians across the country, and to erode public trust in public institutions and leaders, threatening the foundation of our democracy.

“There is uneven implementation of the rule of law and democratic processes, limited citizen participation in policy processes, and deliberate disobedience of court orders and judgments, such as the judgment of Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court obtained by SERAP, which ordered the government to publish widely how recovered stolen funds since the return of democracy in 1999 have been spent.

“The best measure of a country’s progress toward transparency and accountability is a total obedience to the rule of law.  The law ought to command the highest levels of respect by, for example, the government immediately obeying orders and judgments of competent courts. The fight against corruption won’t succeed if the government continues to selectively adhere to the law or refuse to rectify any disobedience. No country in which official position and orders claim a place in people’s minds higher than the law can truly be said to fight corruption.

“Democracy works only if the people have faith in those who govern, and that faith is bound to be shattered when high officials and their appointees engage in activities which arouse suspicions of malfeasance and corruption.”

The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is one of the most respected international measurements of corruption trends.

It was established in 1995 as a composite indicator used to measure perceptions of corruption in the public sector in different countries around the world. The CPI draws upon many available sources which capture perceptions of corruption.

Corruption Index: Buhari Asks Transparency International To Focus On Facts

Corruption Index: Buhari Asks Transparency International To Focus On Facts
File photo: President Muhammadu Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has reacted to the report by Transparency International, which indicates that the scourge of corruption is getting worse in the country.

The President faulted the report in a statement issued on Friday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu.

Mr Shehu noted that while the Presidency welcomes constructive criticisms from the anti-corruption watchdog, the organisation has a responsibility to reflect the larger picture of the concrete and verifiable achievements of President Buhari’s administration since it came into office in May 2015.

READ ALSO: Corruption In Nigeria Getting Worse – Transparency International

“The government is still wondering the criteria or facts used by the anti-corruption watchdog to arrive at its very misleading and unfair conclusions in its assessment of the Federal Government’s efforts in this anti-corruption crusade,” the statement read.

“Political will is the first major component of fighting corruption in any country and President Buhari has made a huge difference by demonstrating not only the political will but also the extraordinary courage to go after high-profile looters, including former military service chiefs and judges.”

According to the presidential aide, it is once unthinkable to touch or prosecute the “big men” for corruption in Nigeria but President Buhari has ended impunity for corruption.

He maintained that the Federal Government has made accountability the bedrock of governance and corruption is no longer fashionable because it attracts consequences.

Shehu stressed further that blocking leakages for corruption through the “rigid enforcement” of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) had made life tougher for corrupt officials, saying President Buhari regretted that the anti-corruption watchdog did not acknowledge such efforts.

He said figures published by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) revealed that  N738.9 billion was recovered in just two years of the Buhari administration.

The President’s spokesman noted that such impressive record was worthy of mention and acknowledgment by anyone “genuinely looking at the larger picture” of Nigeria’s progress in the anti-corruption war.

The statement read further: “During the 7th session of the Conference of State Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in Vienna, Austria, the Chairman of the Agency Ibrahim Magu noted that the figure represents $2.9billion. Besides these impressive recoveries of looted funds, the EFCC has recorded more than 140 successful prosecutions.

“The Federal Government has also signed international agreements to recover the proceeds of corruption and to block the laundering of stolen assets abroad by public officials. Anybody who knows where Nigeria was coming from would not believe that corruption is worse under the Buhari administration.

“We wonder where they got their facts from. At a time, they are alleging increase in the incidence of corruption under this government, the whole of Africa is applauding by choosing President Buhari as the continental champion to lead the fight against it. Nothing can be more eloquent than this.

“In the end, this whole episode may turn out to be just a political distraction, given the strong views some of TI’s patrons have expressed against the Buhari administration. This notwithstanding, facts are facts, and those facts won’t cease to be facts even if you don’t care to pay attention to them.”

Corruption In Nigeria Getting Worse – Transparency International

Five Police Officers Accused Of Killing Boko Haram Founder Reinstated
File photo

Nigeria’s war on corruption may have suffered a setback, with the latest report released by the global anti-corruption watchdog, Transparency International, indicating that the scourge is getting worse.

Transparency International’s latest global corruption perception index (CPI) ranks Nigeria 148 out of 180 countries surveyed.

This shows a significant drop of 12 places, compared to the country’s rating of 136th position in 2016.

According to TI, further analysis of the results indicated that countries with the least protection for press and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) also tend to have the worst rates of corruption.

The report, however, also pointed out that the problem of corruption is a general trend across the world.

“This year’s corruption perceptions index highlights that the majority of countries are making little or no progress in ending corruption, while further analysis shows journalists and activists in corrupt countries risking their lives every day in an effort to speak out,” it read in part.

Also according to the report, while the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested and arraigned several politicians and public servants, it accused the Buhari administration of failing to address corruption among key government officials.

The agency, however, opined that activists as well as the media are vital to combatting corruption.

As part of its recommendations the it said: “Governments and businesses must do more to encourage free speech, independent media, political dissent and an open and engaged civil society.

“Governments should minimise regulations on media, including traditional and new media, and ensure that journalists can work without fear of repression or violence. In addition, international donors should consider press freedom relevant to development aid or access to international organisations.”

It also called on activists and the government to “take advantage of the momentum generated by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to advocate and push for reforms at the national and global level.”