The Presidency on Friday faulted Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index 2017 released on Wednesday which indicated that corruption in Nigeria had worsened in the last one year.
According to TI, Nigeria, with a score of 27 per cent , now ranks 148 out of 180 countries.
The organisation said Nigeria’s latest result was worse than that of 2016 wherein the country was ranked 136 with a score of 28 per cent .
In the latest rankings, Nigeria shares the 148th spot with Comoros and Guinea.
But the Presidency, in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, described the report as misleading and unfair.
Shehu said the whole episode might turn out to be a political distraction, considering the strong views some of TI’s patrons had expressed against the present administration.
He said while the Presidency welcomed constructive criticisms from the anti-corruption watchdog, the organisation had a responsibility to reflect the larger picture of the “verifiable” achievements of the present administration since May 2015.
“The government is still wondering what the criteria or facts the anti-corruption watchdog used to arrive at its very misleading and unfair conclusions in its assessment of the Federal Government’s efforts in this anti-corruption crusade,” the presidential spokesman said.
While describing political will as the first major component of fighting corruption in any country, Shehu said the President had made a huge difference by demonstrating not only the political will but also the courage to go after high-profile looters, including former military service chiefs and judges.
He said while it was once unthinkable to touch or prosecute “big men” for corruption in Nigeria, Buhari had ended impunity for corruption.
He added that the Buhari administration had made accountability the bedrock of governance and that corruption was no longer fashionable because it attracts consequences.
“Blocking leakages for corruption through the rigid enforcement of the Treasury Single Account had made life tougher for corrupt officials. He regretted that these efforts were not acknowledged by the Corruption Watchdog.
“Figures published by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the anti-corruption agency, revealed that N738.9bn was recovered in just two years of the Buhari administration and this impressive and unprecedented record is worthy of mention and acknowledgement by anybody genuinely looking at the larger picture of the country’s progress in the war against corruption.”