Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo says Nigeria dropped in only one of the indices used by Transparency International (TI) in corruption perception for 2017.
While the country scored 27/100 and was ranked 136th in 2016, the latest CPI scores Nigeria 28/100 but with a rank of No. 148 out of 180 countries surveyed — a significant 12 places below where it was the previous year.
Osinbajo said on Tuesday while speaking at an event organised by the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) and the ministry of justice that the Buhari administration is making progress in the fight against corruption.
“It is also important to note that the main reason for Nigeria’s decline in the Transparency International 2017 corruption perception index is that Nigeria recorded a major drop in score on just one out of the nine international recognised indeces used by Transparency International to ascertain perceived levels of public sector corruption from the perspective of experts and business people,” he said.
“So the the drop recorded was in just one out of the nine recognised indexes. The index in question scored Nigeria low on the economy intelligence unit country’s risk service with the decline from 37 points to 20. This is an index that analyses the risks of financial exposure in countries.
“The question to be asked then is what changed so dramatically between 2016 and 2017? As we speak, the budget for 2018 is under public scrutiny at the National Assembly, the allocation and use of public funds is guided by the budget and represents one of the key areas of consultations and interaction between the two arms of government, that is the executive and legislature.
“The endless number of probes and the use of public funds going on both within the executive and the legislative arms, underscores the transparency of this government and its intention to ensure that funds are used for public purposes.”
Represented by Ade Ipaye, deputy chief of staff, the vice-president said the administration is recording progress in the fight against corruption.
He said the report should not be seen as a setback but an opportunity to continue building on the “many successes” that have been recorded by the government.
“What sets Buhari’s leadership apart from others is the prudent and transparent management of national resources,” he said.
“Thus, despite up to 60 percent drop in revenue, we have by stopping grand corruption, make the highest capital spent in the history of Nigeria, in the sum of N1.3 trillion in 2017.
“The dialogue couldn’t have come at a better time because only recently, Transparency International released a report suggesting that Nigerian declined in the perception index for reasons which I will discuss shortly.
“We are firmly of the view that real progress is being achieved in the fight against corruption in Nigeria, and perception may indeed lag behind reality. But as the saying goes, perception is sometimes stronger than reality, so we have to keep up the good fight until the full effect of our efforts can be clearly seen and perceived.
“In that regard, the ranking of Nigeria by the 2017 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, released on February 21st, 2018, should not in anyway be seen as a setback but rather as an opportunity to continue building on the many successes that have already been recorded by this government in all the key sectors.”
On his part, Itse Sagay, chairman of PACAC, said corruption could not be fought by lip service.
“Fighting corruption cannot be lip service. You cannot be corrupt and be talking against corruption, it ridicules the whole exercise and the spirit of that struggle,” Sagay said.
“And so we should purge ourselves of corruption so that we can stand on firm ground to speak. Some might have been corrupt in the past but if you purge yourselves then you are welcome.”