Despite President Goodluck Jonathan’s pledge that his administration would end the scourge of corruption ravaging the country, Nigeria only performed marginally better than its 2013 rating in the latest Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, CPI, released on Wednesday.
Out of 174 countries evaluated for corruption, Nigeria ranked 136th alongside Russia, Cameroon, Iran, Kyrgyzstan and Lebanon, as the least transparent.
That means the six countries, Nigeria inclusive, are the 15th most corrupt in the world.
The most corrupt country is Afghanistan, which ranked 172nd, while the most transparent nation in the world is Denmark.
Nigeria was 14th most corrupt in 2013.
On per 100 score, Nigeria totalled 27 aggregate points, better than 2013 when it scored 25.
Though still woeful, the country’s scant improvement from last year’s survey may be because fewer countries were surveyed in 2014 than 2013.
Last year, a total of 177 countries were surveyed as opposed to the 174 countries surveyed in 2014.
Transparency International’s CPI is the leading indicator of public sector corruption, offering a yearly snapshot of the relative degree of the corruption problem by ranking countries from all over the globe.
The CPI, which relies on expert opinion worldwide, is a measurement of the perceived levels of public sector corruption worldwide.
“Corruption is a problem for all countries. A poor score is likely a sign of widespread bribery, lack of punishment for corruption and public institutions that don’t respond to citizens’ needs,” TI said.
This is particularly true of Nigeria where several public institutions are a cesspool of fraudulent activities as proven by multiple investigations and reports.
Between 2013 and date, cases of pension scam running to multiple billions of naira at federal and state level were reported. No conviction has been recorded yet. Instead, charges against some of the alleged kingpins were controversially dropped.
Anti-corruption campaigners say President Jonathan has failed in the fight against corruption, by refusing to sanction officials proven to have misused public funds.
Earlier this year, Mr. Jonathan infamously said that what most Nigerian’s call corruption were cases of stealing and that stealing was not the same as corruption.
“Over 70 per cent of what are called corruption (cases), even by EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) and other anti-corruption agencies, is not corruption, but common stealing,” the president said on national television.
He said most corruption claims were politically motivated.
An allegation by a former Central Bank governor, Sanusi Lamido, that at least $20 billion of oil revenue was missing, has yet to be fully investigated although the government immediately dismissed the claims.
Transparency International said that corruption was a global problem, adding that “not one single country gets a perfect score and more than two-thirds score below 50, on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).”
“Poorly equipped schools, counterfeit medicine and elections decided by money are just some of the consequences of public sector corruption. Bribes and backroom deals don’t just steal resources from the most vulnerable – they undermine justice and economic development, and destroy public trust in government and leaders,” it added.
“Countries at the bottom need to adopt radical anti-corruption measures in favour of their people. Countries at the top of the index should make sure they don’t export corrupt practices to underdeveloped countries,” advised TI Chair, José Ugaz.