The Nigerian government has faulted the new 2022 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) released by Transparency International (TI) which indicates corruption level has not improved in Nigeria in the last year.
The new 2022 CPI released on Tuesday shows Nigeria maintained its 24 out of 100 points. But despite the lack of improvement in the points scored, Nigeria moved four steps from its previous year’s position of 154th position to 150th out of the total 180 countries assessed.
Displeased with the assessment, however, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said Wednesday that the government is not fighting corruption to impress TI or to earn the body’s favourable corruption ranking.
The minister who spoke at the end of the Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is fighting corruption because it believes without doing so, “there’ll be no growth either in terms of the economy or even political.”
Re-echoing the government’s response to the previous 2021 CPI released in January last year, Mr Mohammed said TI was unaware of the administration’s efforts to fight corruption.
He said: “With regards to the Transparency International rating of Nigeria, our position is the same. We are not fighting corruption because we want to impress Transparency International or any organization whatsoever,” Mr Mohammed said.
“We’re fighting corruption because we believe if we do not fight corruption, there’ll be no growth either in terms of the economy or even politically.
“Therefore, what we do and what we’re putting in place to fight corruption is not because we want to be rated by anybody. If, for instance, what we’re doing catches the attention of Transparency International and improves and gives us better marks, so we’ll go.
“However, I can assure you that we do not know what template TI is using. Whatever template they’re using is clearly oblivious of what this administration is doing, to fight corruption.”
Fighting corruption not about number of arrests
According to the minister, fighting corruption is not primarily about how many people have been arrested, the number of persons put on trial in court, or the number of convictions recorded.
Mr Mohammed cited as an example of the administration’s anti-corruption efforts to include allowing the National Sovereign Investment Fund to manage Abacha loot that was returned from the United States, the United Kingdom and other European countries.
The initiative, according to the minister, largely prevented the returned loot from being stolen or re-looted.
He said the administration has been proactive in fighting corruption and it would not worry about rating, while also applauding the efforts of anti-corruption agencies including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Commission (ICPC), for what he described as their “impressive” performance,
“I am proud to say that we have been more proactive in fighting corruption and people are not willing to see what we have put in place in fighting corruption. And that’s why I gave that example of putting money aside and how those funds are being used. Again, the courage of this administration even to expose high-ranking officials of administration who have run foul of the law, is evidence of our determination and courage to fight corruption.
“So, we are not really worried or bothered about rating of the TI, because we know that everything we do is to ensure that we fight corruption the best way we know how to do. Like I said, if TI are not seeing this, then again, I think they have to change their template. But again, we’re not fighting corruption to impress them.”
TI’s partner in Nigeria, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), released the report in Abuja early Tuesday.
Despite maintaining its previous score of 24 out of 100 points in the 2021 assessment, Nigeria’s position went up to 150th in the new index compared to its 154th position out of 180 countries assessed in the 202 rankings.
“There has been no change in country scoring between 2021 and 2022. In the country comparison for the 2022 CPI, Nigeria ranks 150 out of 180 countries compared to 154 on the 2021 CPI results,” CISLAC’s executive director, Auwal Musa, said in a statement announcing the new ranking on Tuesday.
READ ALSO: Corruption: Why Transparency International’s ranking on Nigeria
Mr Musa said while the index does not show specific incidences of corruption in the country, it indicates the perception of corruption in Nigeria.
“The index is impartial, objective and globally acknowledged as the most widely used cross-country parameter for measuring corruption,” he said.
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