Transparency International’s corruption perception index cannot be taken seriously because it is not “fact-based”, a presidential spokesperson has said.
Garba Shehu, President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesperson, was referring to the latest corruption index report that showed Nigeria scoring lower than it did in 2018, and emerging the world’s 34th most corrupt nation.
In the report released on Thursday, Nigeria fell two places from 144th to 146th position out of the 180 countries that were surveyed worldwide.
Nigeria’s latest placement by the anti-corruption watchdog has triggered debates about the success of the Buhari administration’s well-publicised fight against corruption. Both the EFCC and the ICPC have condemned the report.
The EFCC on Thursday described the report as “baseless and appalling”, while the ICPC said the reality on the ground was different from the perception concluded by Transparency International.
Mr Shehu, speaking on Channels Television Sunrise Daily on Saturday, said the report was inaccurate because it was based on secondary sources.
“The report itself is a perception index,” Mr Shehu said. “So perception is what it is. It is different from the reality that you have on the ground.”
According to him, “The report is harsh on the government. It does not take due cognisance of the ground reality.”
“In fairness to the TI that presented the report, they said themselves that it is not research-based,” Mr Shehu added.
“So it is not fact-based but based on second-rate 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 fact on the ground contradicts this report. This administration has done enormously well. We have achieved quite a lot.”
Why the poor ranking?
The head of Transparency International in Nigeria, Auwal Rafsanjani, on Friday, gave an insight into how the international group reached its rankings.
According to him, corruption in political parties were some of the reasons for the poor ranking.
He said, “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.