Posted on Wednesday, December 5th, 2012
Global corruption watchdog, Transparency International (TI), has again ranked Nigeria the 35th most corrupt country in the world in its 2012 report.
According to the report released on Wednesday, Nigeria scored 27 out of a maximum 100 marks to clinch the 139th position out of the 176 countries surveyed for the report.
It shared that position with Azerbaijan, Kenya, Nepal and Pakistan.
Countries such as Togo, Mali, Niger and Benin fared better than Nigeria.
It will be recalled that Nigeria placed 143rd in the 2011 ranking, making it the 37th most corrupt country. However, when compared with this year’s result, it is difficult to say whether Nigeria has recorded any improvement because 182, six more than this year’s, were ranked in 2011.
According to the report, this year’s index ranks 176 countries/territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption.
The index draws on 13 surveys covering expert assessments and surveys of business people.
The Corruption Perceptions Index is the leading indicator of public sector corruption, offering a yearly snapshot of the relative degree of the corruption problem by ranking countries from all over the globe.
TI described this year’s report as an indication that “corruption is a major threat facing humanity. Corruption destroys lives and communities, and undermines countries and institutions.
“It generates popular anger that threatens to further destabilise societies and exacerbate violent conflicts.”
The organisation added: “Corruption translates into human suffering, with poor families being extorted for bribes to see doctors or to get access to clean drinking water.
“It leads to failure in the delivery of basic services like education or healthcare. It derails the building of essential infrastructure, as corrupt leaders skim funds.”
TI, however, encouraged governments to integrate anti-corruption actions into all aspects of decision-making.
“They must prioritise better rules on lobbying and political financing, make public spending and contracting more transparent, and make public bodies more accountable,” it added.
Reacting to the report, Nigerian based Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) said the damning verdict is a reflection of the obvious truth that the nation’s leadership was not committed in the fight against corruption.
The group, speaking through its Executive Chairman, Debo Adeniran, said those championing the crusade against corruption in Nigeria are a bunch of unserious people who are “merely paying lip service to the fight against corruption.”
“What Transparency International revealed about Nigeria is nothing but the truth. It is an indication that he leadership and agencies concerned with the crusade are not making progress in the fight against corruption as far as the official quarters are concerned.
“It exposes the lie our leaders are telling us in their commitment to the fight against the menace. It is also an indication that there is no hiding place for corrupt leaders despite their well oiled propaganda machines.
“Our consolation is that the international community is also watching and corroborating our own observations, vindicating our comments. Nigeria cannot claim to becoming a world power under the type of mess we find ourselves.”
In its own reaction, the Labour Party (LP) argued that there have been enough scandals in the country in the last few weeks to justify the rating of Nigeria by TI.
National spokesman of the party, Ikpe Etokudo, told Daily Independent in a phone chat that the report could not have been otherwise.
“Transparency International’s low rating shouldn’t surprise anyone because predatory capitalism is all about corruption and it is what the Federal Government since 1960 has been pursuing; the starting point in capitalism is corruption.
“In the oil sector we know of Halliburton; the oil blocks cloaked in oily scandals; what of the scandal involving Iyabo Obasanjo and the Federal Ministry of Health?
“What of the scandals in the banks and the fuel subsidy scam – Femi Otedola, and Farouk Lawan – and others? Don’t forget the Cadbury mess.
“These scandals sum up public affairs in the recent past; so, what else were you expecting from TI?” LP asked rhetorically.
Some eminent Nigerian lawyers, however, expressed surprise at the rating of Nigeria as the 35th most corrupt country in the world by TI, insisting that there were fundamental defects in the research and statistics of the international group.
They believed Nigeria’s corruption level was worsening contrary to the impression given by TI report that the fight against graft has made some impact compared to the 2011 report of the same global corruption watchdog.
In separate telephone interviews with Daily Independent, the lawyers argued that corruption now pervades every fabric of Nigeria’s national life.
Senior Advocate of Nigeria,
Itse Sagay, said the latest rating came to him as a huge surprise.
“This is a big surprise to me because Nigeria is at the centre of corruption in every sense of the word.
“This is a country where when a body is set up to investigate corruption, the body will end up being enmeshed in bribery and corruption.
“Most Nigerians usually utilise every opportunity to be corrupt, and you say we are improving? No, I disagree,” Sagay stressed.
On his part, Lagos lawyer and right activist, Bamidele Aturu, argued that there is a fundamental problem with TI’s research and statistics on corruption in Nigeria.
“What have we done differently from the time we were rated among the most corrupt nations in the world? You see, the gospel truth is that corruption is getting worse in Nigeria. Government is not serious about the fight against corruption.
“This is a country in which someone standing trial for embezzling billions of our national patrimony will be allowed to travel abroad for medical checkup by the courts, and Transparency International is saying we are improving? No, I vehemently disagree,” Aturu said.
He added that all hands must be on deck in the fight against corruption, noting that government at all levels must also intensify efforts against graft.
Another constitutional lawyer, Tunde Esan, said it was glaring that the leaders currently parading the corridors of power in Nigeria were unserious about the fight against corruption.
“If you ask me, I think we do not need TI to convince us we are a pathetically corrupt nation.
“The monstrosity of corruption is evident in our day to day life from the Customs personnel at the border who will compromise the security integrity of the entire nation for a morsel of porridge to the civil servant who will not attend to your file until she receives gratification to do a job she is paid for.
“Can corruption be tackled? In my opinion not by this group of jesters parading the corridors of power,” Esan concluded.
Also speaking, another lawyer, Anthony Omaghomi, stressed that the sophistication of government officials in the act of corruption must have misled the international body in its evaluation of corruption in Nigeria.
“I’m sure the sophistication of our public officials in the act of corruption is responsible for the current rating.
“Our public officers have become more sophisticated in the act of bribery and corruption. They now siphon huge resources using their cronies and associates,” Omaghomi said.
President of the Campaign for Democracy (CD), Joe Okei-Odumakin, in fact queried the authenticity of the latest report by TI.
Odumakin, while casting doubt on the authenticity of the report, said the result is unexpected going by the slow action of the Federal Government in the fight against corruption.
Odumakin, who lamented the non-implementation of the Farouk Lawan as well as the Nuhu Ribadu reports on graft, said the present administration has clearly shown from all indications that it was not committed to winning the war against corruption.
“Well, it is unexpected, considering the fact that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as an institution has not been properly strengthened, and also considering the fact that all the probes we have had, like the Farouk Lawan subsidy probe and the Nuhu Ribadu Presidential Task Force probe have been completely killed and the fight against corruption by the Federal Government has been cosmetic.
“This is despite the blatant lies told by President Jonathan recently during the Presidential media chat that his government is winning the war against corruption,” she added.
In his own reaction, Chairman of the Lagos State House of Assembly on Committee on Information, Olusegun Olulade, described the rating of Nigeria as the 35th most corrupt country in the world by TI as a testimony of a failed nation.
Olulade, who represents Epe State Constituent II, said “corruption is a Siamese with politics in Nigeria. It would be very difficult for the country to win the current war against corruption given intrinsic relationship between politics and the act.”