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Nigeria Ranks Second Most Corrupt West African Country; Garba Shehu kicks, PDP swells

Nigeria Ranks Second Most Corrupt West African Country; Garba Shehu kicks, PDP swells

NIGERIA, in the Global Corruption Index (CPI) 2020 released on Thursday by Transparency International, fell three places to 149 out of 183 countries.

With a score of 66, Seychelles consistently earns top marks in the African region, followed by Botswana (60) and Cabo Verde (58).

At the bottom of the index are Sudan (16), Somalia (12) and South Sudan (12), perceived as the most corrupt nations on earth.

Nigeria Ranks Second Most Corrupt West African Country  - CPI Index
Nigeria Ranks Second Most Corrupt West African Country – CPI Index

Of the 49 countries assessed in Sub-Saharan Africa, 12 countries of Zimbabwe, Chad, Eritrea, Burundi, Congo, Guinea Bissau, Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya, Equatorial Guinea, Sudan, Somalia and South Sudan are more corrupt than Nigeria.

The index reveals that Nigeria scored 25 out of 100 points in the 2020 CPI, falling back by one point compared to last year.

Nigeria dropped to 149 on the rating to become the second most corrupt country in West Africa, an indication that the country has worsened, with the new ranking being the worst in two years.

Nigeria follows Guinea Bissau which finished on 165 as the most corrupt nation in the sub-region, scoring 19 points. The report said: “this year’s CPI paints a grim picture of the state of corruption worldwide. While most countries have made little to no progress in tackling corruption in nearly a decade, more than two-thirds of countries score below 50.

“Our analysis shows corruption not only undermines the global health response to COVID-19, but contributes to a continuing crisis of democracy.”

CPI scores 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, according to experts and businesspeople with 100 being very clean and 0 highly corrupt.

Nigeria scored 25 out of 100 and tied with seven other countries of Cameroon, Guatemala, Iran, Lebanon, Madagascar, Mozambique, and Tajikistan. With a score of 88, however, Denmark and New Zealand jointly won the first price followed by Finland, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland, scoring 85 points each at third position. Chair of TI, Delia Ferreira Rubio, noted that 2020 was marred by COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is not just a health and economic crisis but a corruption crisis. And one that we’re currently failing to manage.” The institution advised the strengthening of oversight institutions, ensuring open and transparent contracting, defending democracy, promoting civic space and publishing relevant data to guarantee access.

Specifically, Sub-Saharan Africa was the poorest performing region with average score of 32 per cent.

According to TI, unless corruption challenges are addressed, many countries in sub-Saharan Africa risk missing the SDGs targets by 2030.

“The region is already experiencing an alarming rise in extreme poverty, undermining the progress of recent decades. Institutions charged with providing basic public services should be more transparent and accountable in their operations. Improved policies and mechanisms are needed to allow citizens to access public information, demand accountability and safely report corruption.

“To reverse the region’s position as the worst-performing on the CPI, governments in sub-Saharan Africa must take decisive action, particularly in those economies already weakened by the ongoing recession stemming from COVID-19,” the report said.

Reacting to the new ranking, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the “abysmal” 2020 corruption index report on Nigeria has further confirmed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) government “is a citadel of corruption and the most corrupt administration in the history of our nation.”

In a statement by Kola Ologbondiyan, its national publicity secretary, in Abuja, the opposition party asserted that the TI report, which showed the country plunging to a putrid 149th on the corruption perception index in 2020; dropping 13 places since 2015, “is an incontrovertible confirmation that our nation is more corrupt under President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC than it was in 2015 when they took office.”

The PDP maintained that now that the APC administration had been further “exposed,” Nigerians should join in the demand for the ruling party to commence the processes of refunding the money allegedly stolen by its leaders before exiting the political firmament in 2023.

Reacting, the Presidency faulted the corruption perception index, asserting that the report is not an accurate portrayal of the facts on ground.

A statement issued by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media and Publicity) in Abuja, maintained that the Buhari administration deserved credit for diminishing corruption in the public service and would continue to support prevention, enforcement, public education and enlightenment activities of anti-corruption agencies.

The statement informed that government is currently analysing the sources of data used in arriving at the latest TI report, adding that by TI’s admission, the group did not gather their own data. While asserting that the report is not an accurate portrayal of the facts on ground, the statement added: “We are also not unaware of the characters behind the TI in Nigeria, whose opposition to the Buhari administration is not hidden.

“We have repeatedly challenged TI to provide indices and statistics of its own to justify its sensational and baseless rating on Nigeria and the fight against corruption. We expect them to come clean and desist from further rehashing of old tales.”

The presidency indicated that in the coming days, the government’s Technical Unit on Governance Research (TUGAR) will be providing more detailed information on the sources of the TI data.

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