FG condemns Nigeria’s corruption ranking by TI as SERAP backs report/

The federal government has condemned the latest report by Transparency International (TI) which ranked Nigeria low on its corruption index.

The latest report by TI showed Nigeria dropped on its Corruption Perception Index 2019 with 26 per cent, noting not much progress has been recorded despite the anti-graft war by President Muhammadu Buhari-led government.

But reacting during an interview on Lunch Time Politics, a programme of Channels Television on Thursday, Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami, described the report as baseless.

His words: “In terms of the fight against corruption, we have been doing more, we have done more and we will continue to do more out of inherent conviction and desire on our part to fight against corruption devoid of any extraneous considerations relating to the rating by Transparency International.

“Our resolve to fight corruption is inherent and indeed devoid of any extraneous considerations, we will continue to do more and we will redouble our efforts.”

Also reacting to the statement, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) fault the TI’s report, accusing the organization of being bias in examining corruption in Nigeria.  

Speaking in a statement issued through its spokesman, Tony Orilade, the anti-graft agency stated the report was a sharp contrast to the various achievements of the Buhari-led administration’s fight against corruption.

The statement read: “We insist that the rating is a far cry from the evident strides and achievements so far accomplished by the anti-graft agency in the fight against corruption, particularly under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

”The claim is evidently not supported by any empirical data, especially when placed side-by-side with the remarkable achievements of the Commission in the past years.

“Moreover, it is quite ironic that the report by TI posits that the index does not show real incidences of corruption, yet it claims that the report is a reliable indication of the perception of the Nigerian public and the international community about the state of corruption in the country.

“Over the past years, billions of naira, millions of dollars and other foreign currencies were recovered from corrupt persons in the country, including securing the forfeiture of assets of their illegal and fraudulent activities,” the EFCC added.

Meanwhile, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on the federal government to accept the TI’s report, noting it should rather dissipate more energy into improving the situation that merely attempting to discredit the ranking.

SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oludare, said: “Nigeria’s score on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index 2019 is hardly surprising but suggests that the fight against corruption in the country has not improved, and in fact remains at the level of the 2015 ranking in which Nigeria also scored 26.

“With an average of 32, sub-Saharan Africa’s performance paints a bleak picture of inaction against corruption.

“The authorities should not simply dismiss the ranking. Going forward, Nigerian authorities must embrace the recommendations by TI and set some benchmarks for anti-corruption improvements in the coming years.”