Nigeria sinks deeper in corruption rating, drops to 154, ICPC disagrees

ICPC Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye

 

Global anti-corruption coalition, Transparency International, has rated Nigeria the second most corrupt country in West Africa, after Guinea.

In the 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index released by the TI on Tuesday, Nigeria dropped five places, scoring 24 out of 100 points in the index.

This is coming against the backdrop of the Federal Government’s avowed fight against graft.

Nigeria’s current 154 ranking out of 180 countries in the 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index is a drop of 149 in the 2020 index.

The organisation tweeted on its official Twitter handle, @TransparencITng, on Tuesday, “In the Corruption Perceptions Index 2021 Nigeria ranks 154 out of 180 countries and territories, falling back five places from the rank of 149 in 2020.

“The 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index released by Transparency International today shows corruption is on the increase in Nigeria.

“The country scored 24 out of 100 points in the #CPI2021, which is one point less compared to the score of 2020.”

 

It is Nigeria’s second consecutive year of a downward spiral on the TI’s CPI ranking.

The country’s score had dropped from 26 in 2019 to 25 in the 2020 assessment and further to 24 in the latest 2021 record.

The CPI is Transparency International’s tool for measuring the levels of corruption in the systems of various countries around the world.

The maximum points a country can score is 100 points, and the least is zero. Zero signifies the worst performing countries and 100 the best-ranked.

The Country Representative of TI, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, during the presentation of the report in Abuja blamed the decline on corruption in the public sector.

Rafsanjani, who is the Executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, said corruption had greatly contributed to underdevelopment in Nigeria.

According to him, despite the boasts by the government about fighting corruption, job opportunities, driving licence acquisition and passport applications, among others, are still filled with corrupt tendencies, especially as officials in charge of basic services expect some form of kickbacks while rendering such services.

 

He blamed the rising insecurity, high unemployment rate and systemic failure in healthcare delivery and leadership dysfunctions on corruption.

Rafsanjani said, “The CPI aggregates data from eight different sources that provide perceptions by country experts and business people on the level of corruption in the public sector.

“While the index does not show specific incidences of corruption in the country, it indicates the perception of corruption in Nigeria. The index is completely impartial, objective and globally acknowledged as the most widely used cross country parameter for measuring corruption.

“This shows that corruption is still a major challenge in our country, hindering development. It has upturned our value system negatively. It has affected good governance in this country; that is why we are concerned as Nigerians.

“Corruption is destroying our country. It is because of corruption that insecurity persists in Nigeria.

“The report is not an assessment of the Federal Government’s anti-corruption fight but a perception of corruption in the public sector. Everything that has to do with our public sector is embedded in corruption.

“We all have a responsibility to ensure that corruption is tackled in a manner that doesn’t destroy this country for all of us.”

The report called on the relevant anti-graft agencies to investigate allegations of corruption by politically exposed persons.

The TI also called on the National Assembly to speed up deliberations on the passage of relevant anti-corruption laws or amendments to strengthen anti-corruption efforts in the interest of Nigerians.

The organisation called on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to assent to the laws once they were passed, while taking into consideration the best interest of the citizens.

But the Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, Dr Bolaji Owasanoye, said the nation should question TI’s assessment parameters, which gave Western countries receiving illicit financial flows a clean bill, while thumbing down countries that were victims of graft.

Speaking at a two-day training workshop for journalists organised by the ICPC at the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria, Keffi, Nasarawa State, Owasanoye observed that the data sources on which the ranking was based did not take into cognisance the advances against graft recorded by Nigeria.

The Media Consultant to the ICPC Chairman, Oluyinka Akintunde, in a presentation, said the global anti-corruption coalition’s assessment of Nigeria was based on outdated data sources.

According to him, only five out of the 13 data sources used by the TI were current, while eight others were based on 2017, 2018 and 2019, which were also used in previous years without taking cognizance of the actions or new developments in the country.

Akintunde submitted, “Nigeria performed better under the African Development Bank country assessment, but the TI has not explained why it stopped using the AfDB assessment.

“Transparency International will need to explain why the AfDB country policy and institutional assessment is no longer used for the country’s score in the CPI. We must know that the fight against corruption is not about numbers, but systems.”

 

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