The Nigerian Government has described the 2019 corruption perception index ranking of the country by Transparency International as biased and unsubstantiated.
Speaking to the Guardian of London on Tuesday as part of his international media engagement in the United Kingdom, the country’s Information and Culture Minister, Mr Lai Mohammed revealed that the millions of Nigerians who voted for President Mohammadu Buhari twice, believed in his ability to curb corruption which was one of his cardinal campaign promises.
The Minister also posited that the Nigerian government has done enough with accompanying evidence to tame the monster of corruption.
“Our position is that, it appears the Transparency International is not recognizing the fight against corruption and we are not very happy with the rating they are giving to the country.
How can anybody say that this administration is not doing anything to improve the anti corruption stance?,” the Minister queried.
The truth of the matter is that in 2015, this President campaigned on fighting corruption and won the election, he was again re-elected overwhelmingly in 2019 because Nigerians believed in him and saw how much he has delivered on the anti corruption fight.
Based on these and many other factors, it is safe to say that the Agency’s position that the country is doing worse in fighting corruption is totally incorrect.”
The Minister posited that the country was not fighting corruption to impress any organization or country. He said the anti-corruption fight was borne purely out of the belief that without fighting corruption, the much sought after development will not take place in the land.
“We are speaking from a position of facts and we have results to show for fighting corruption. We have put in place policies and legislation that have tamed the monster called corruption.
For instance, apart from the Treasury Single Account which has saved us billions of Naira, we have put in place transparency portal which enables every Nigerian to see how much is being spent by government every day.”
Mr. Mohammed also revealed that under the transparency portal regulation, any expenditure above N5 billion must be reported and that gives everybody the opportunity to know exactly what is going on.
“We will continue to fight corruption and we are winning the war for sure,” he simply submitted.
Again, he said for the first time in the history of the country, high profile personalities have been convicted and several other such cases have been prosecuted conclusively.
“For those people who say that the anti corruption fight is selective, how do you say that when serving Senators, past governors and persons who are members of the ruling party are currently serving jail terms.
We must continue to fight corruption and all we need is the encouragement from the people. We will not be distracted by any rating because we know that we are winning the war.”
In his international media engagement in the United Kingdom, the Minister had sessions with the British Broadcasting Corporation, Financial Times of London, the Guardian, Reuters News Agency, Associate Press and Sky News so far, where burning national issues concerning Nigeria were put on the front burner of discourse.
Nigeria is currently ranked 146 out of the 180 countries on the 2019 corruption perception index, according to Transparency International.
The index ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption in the opinion of experts and business people; using a scale of 0 to 100, where zero means “highly corrupt” and 100 means very clean.
The report released on Thursday said Nigeria scored 26 out of 100 points, dropping from the 27 points that it has maintained since 2017. In the 2018 index, Nigeria rose by four places from 148 to 144.