NIGERIA’S CORRUPTION melee, is one of the pillars of President Buhari’s mantra of change, while contesting election for the office of president in 2015. Moving into the president’s fifth year in office, as president, progress on his government’s fight against corruption remains stunted.
Each year, global anti-corruption watchdog, Transparency International, TI, ranks over 180 countries on Corruption Perception Index, CPI. Nigeria has remained floating between 126 to 127 global positions, and between 26-28 points over 100, from the year 2015 to 2019.
The 2019, TI corruption perception index, released, on Thursday, Nigeria scored 26 percent, and placed in 146 position out of 180 countries, against 27 percent and 146 position in 2018. The drop, has placed Nigeria as the most corrupt nation in West Africa. TI corruption perception index, annually, scores 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, according to experts and business people.
CPI 2019, reveals that huge number of countries are moving very slowly, and showing little progress on tackling corruption. Nigeria is no exemption from countries paying lip service, and doing little to improve the global perception of the country’s corruption index. There has been no reduction in money bag politics in the country. Efforts in promoting inclusive political decision making, which is essential to curbing corruption in the country has been lacking.
Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, Executive Director, Civil Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, at a press conference in Abuja, blamed the growing worse corruption perception in the country on abuse of rule of law. He said fighting corruption includes ensuring policies and framework were adequately implemented.
He said attacks on journalists and civil society organisations, to prevent demand for accountability, transparency and other initiatives for addressing corruption made mockery of the intention of government to fight corruption. Impunity, worse form of corruption has been on the rise in the country.
“Nobody knows anything about the recovered assets from the fight against corruption. Freedom of Information request on information is also turned down”, Rafsanjani said.
Political parties, Rafsanjani said, have institutionalised vote buying. And bribery at party primaries have remained unchecked. They continued to discourage people from participating in politics, and rubbished the desire to project Nigeria well before international community. Abuse of public office holders, and the present framework for fighting corruption, remained weak and buried in secrecy.
Nigerian government, through the Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, rejected the TI report about Nigeria’s corruption index in 2019. He said there is no evidence to back the report, that placed Nigeria at 146 out of 180 countries and 26 points over 100 scores on the 2019, corruption perception index.
On Thursday, Lunchtime Politics on a Nigerian national television programme, Malami said the report had no bearing on reality. “In terms of the fight against corruption, we have been doing more, we have done more and we will continue to do more out of inherent conviction and desire on our part to fight against corruption devoid of any extraneous considerations relating to the rating by Transparency International”.
Malami said: “Our resolve to fight corruption is inherent and indeed devoid of any extraneous considerations, we will continue to do more and we will double efforts.”