An anti-corruption group, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), on Thursday, described Nigeria’s poor ranking in the newly released 2020 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) of Transparency International (TI) as worrisome.
CISLAC, a Nigerian partener of Transparency International, identified factors ”suspected” to be responsible for the country’s poor performance to include lack of transparency in COVID-19 response, nepotism, and lack of adequate laws to tackle corruption.
In its statement signed by its Executive Director, Auwal Musa, the group also identified the prevalence of bribery and extortion by the police and corruption in the security sector, as another probable causes of the poor ranking.
It said, ”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?”
Attacks for unfavourable ranking
Mr Musa also alluded to attacks the group often got from various government officials and their sympathisers whenever the CPI turned out to be unfavourable for them.
This it said was despite that “CISLAC and Nigerian partners do not collect the CPI data as this is done by independent, reputable organisations.”
According to him CISLAC “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,” he added.
Call for action
He, however, called on the government and its supporters “to examine the drivers behind Nigeria’s deteriorating anti-corruption image and consider actions, which will tackle systemic corruption.”
He added, “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.”
In the report released early Thursday, Nigeria scored 25 out of 100 points, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is the highest possible score is very clean.
Nigeria’s 25 points fell short by one point compared to its 2019 record.
The country also dropped by three places from its 146 position to in 2019 to 149 out of the 180 countries surveyed.
According to the CPI report, Nigeria is ranked the second most perceived corrupt West-African country after Guinea-Bissau which was ranked 165.
The country is also ranked the 15th most corrupt African country behind war-torn nations like South-Sudan and Somalia – that ranked the highest countries perceived to be corrupt with 12 points each.
While Denmark and New Zealand with 88 points each are the least perceived corrupt countries, followed by Finland, Singapore and Sweden and Switzerland scoring 85 points each.
Nigeria’s latest CPI report ranks is the worst in five years.
While Nigeria scored 26 in 2015 ranking 136 out of the 178 countries surveyed, in 2016, the country scored 28 points retaining the 136 rankings out of the 178 countries that were surveyed worldwide.
In 2017, its score dropped to 27 points and it ranked 148 out of the 180 countries surveyed.
In 2018, it maintained its 27 points but dropped four places to rank144 among 180 countries.
In 2019, Nigeria scored 26 points and ranked 146, also among 180 countries.
Fight against corruption
Fighting corruption is one of the three focal policies of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
The President said in his inaugural speech in 2015 that “corruption will kill Nigeria if Nigeria does not kill corruption.”
The efforts the government claims it has been putting into the fight against corruption appear to have little or no impact on the country’s yearly ranking.
The authorities, in its selective criticisms of CPI’s unfavourable reports, said TI failed to take into account the Buhari administration’s achievements in the fight against corruption.
The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, while reacting to the 2019 CPI result, had said it did not correlate with “the facts on the ground.”
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