• States, LGAs, legislature, judiciary not on the same page with FG to fight corruption – IT/CISLAC….Says corruption in security sector responsible for lives being wasted.

From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

Nigeria has maintained its 2021 score of 24 out of 100 points while ranking 150 among 180 countries on the 2022 Corruption Perception Index released by Transparency International on Tuesday. 

The country moved up in ranking from 154 to 150, in the newly released index.

Transparency International’s tool for measuring the level of corruption in the systems of the 180 countries across the world, based on certain prevalent indices.

The indices are bribery, diversion of public funds, public officials using public office for private gain without consequences, ability of governments to contain corruption and enforce effective integrity mechanisms in the public sector, red tape and excessive bureaucratic burden which may increase opportunities for corruption, meritocratic versus nepotistic appointments in the civil service.

For Nigeria, the CPI sourced its data for the ranking from eight globally acclaimed organisations, some of which are Nigeria’s  partners.

The eight organisations are the World Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessment, World Economic Forum Executive Opinion Survey, Works Justice Project Rule of Law Index, Varieties of Democracy Project, Global Insight Country Risk Guide, PRS International Country Risk Guide, Economist Intelligence Unit Country Ratings, and the Bertelsmann Foundation Transformation Index.

In previous years, Nigeria had experienced a consecutive drop in the CPI ranking. In 2012, the country scored 27, and in 2013 it scored 25, then went back to 27 in 2014, and down to 26 in 2015, moved up to 28 in 2016, 27 in 2017 and 2018, 26 in 2019, down to 25 in 2020, and 24 in 2021 and 2022.

Addressing a press conference before releasing the report in Abuja, the Executive Director of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), and Head of Transparency International Nigeria, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, said “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.”

He 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.

Rafsanjani said the report was not to condemn government but to bring to fore leakages that are frustrating the fight against corruption.

He noted that while the executive arm of government was dishing out anti-corruption pronouncements, states, local governments, legislature, judiciary and some top government officials actions show that they were not on the same page with the anti-corruption mantra of the government at the center.

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Rafsanjani, said: “Let me also say that we are deeply worried and concerned that in spite of the claim by our government  to fight corruption, sadly, corruption continues to be a major problem in Nigeria and we are not surprised. Because, the issue of corruption discuss has remain largely at the federal level. 

“You have local, state and federal governments and when you are looking at corruption in the country, you look at all these tiers of government. And within the three major component of our governing structure, you have executive, legislative and judiciary, all of them ideally if the country is determined to fight corruption, they must all be on the same page. They must all compliment one another in the fight against corruption. 

“But as we all know, while the executive is making pronouncements that they are interested in the fight against corruption, the other tiers of government are probably not on the same page of what the president and the Vice President are pushing. Because even within the executive arm of government, you will see that some of the ministers, some director generals, some other top government officials are not having the same zeal to fight corruption. 

“That is why the Nigerian civil society organisations have struggled to ensure that we have national strategy for the fight against corruption. So that when we have this plan, it will involved everyone, all of us will play the role to compliment the fight against corruption.”

The Head of Transparency International Nigeria, expressed sadness that the whole pronouncements of the fight against corruption appears to be limited to the President, adding that “even his lieutenants, assistants probably do not share the same aspiration. And that definitely is a huge challenge for the nation when you are looking at it.

“So corruption continues to undermine every single effort of even what the government wants do. We have seen that because of corruption even lives have  become worthless in this country, there is corruption in the security sector because of the fact that some people have compromised. Some people come with arms and ammunition into this country how outcome? Where are the customs? Where are the officials that all these dangerous people that are killing Nigerians…Where are the people responsible that are supposed to  check all those things that are coming into the country?

“So, to fight corruption, you must get all agencies to be involved. So if customs, for example, is not seen to be doing that, you know, definitely, there is a challenge. If police,  despite the efforts to amend the police Act, to create enabling and conducive environment, for the judicial process, you keep on having the experience of corruption perpetrated by some people.

“When you look at the recruitment process, it is already compromised, you have to give bribe to be recruited, you have to bribe to be promoted, you have to give bribe to be posted to what they call lucrative places. 

“So already, if you are to critically analyze, we’re already in trouble. Because once those institutions, the processes of getting personnel are compromised, then you will really not be surprised with the decay  and the kind of consequences of corruption that has brought to this country.”

Rafsanjani said the report is not to laugh at Nigeria but to serve as a clarion call. He said:  “Now, the intention of Transparency International and CISLAC is not to laugh at the current state of corruption in Nigeria, but to serve as a clarion call, so that we blocked  all the leakages, we improve on those areas where we are lacking. 

“So it is important that Nigerian government understands that we are all stakeholders in this country, we are patriotic and responsible Nigerians, and we want to see our country working. And we will not be happy to go even to  the neighboring country and be seen as corrupt persons because of the general impression created by the action of some irresponsible public officials. Once you carry a Nigerian passport, the impression is that you are one of them. And I know that majority of Nigerians are not. So we have to be worried and concerned because our country’s image is going down. “

The CISLAC boss regretted that government officials rather that take the report in good fate, always resort to insults and politicizing the report.

“And when you are open, honest, sincere about the effort that you are putting in and when someone sees that there are gaps you will listen and take correction. But sadly, some of our public officials once you say this, they will politicize it and start threatening you and calling you names. Only for some officials to be arrested for corruption that was pointed out by the civil society.

If political interference is reduced, corruption will reduce.”