Presidency faults Transparency International corruption rating

•As Nigeria drops to 146 on global anti-graft ranking •We’ve been vindicated –PDP

The Federal Government has described as unrealistic, Nigeria’s poor ranking in Transparency International’s (TI) latest corruption perception index .

Nigeria dropped from 144 position in 2018 to 146 out of 180 corrupt countries behind Botswana (34), Rwanda (51) and Mauritius (56) among African nations considered in the TI report.

The agency cited selective prosecution and attack on the media and whsitleblowers exposing corruption as some of the factors that led to Nigeria’s poor rating.

However, Abubakar Malami, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), said the Federal Government has been “doing more work” regarding anti-graft war. He said current realities did not support Nigeria’s ranking.

He insisted that Nigeria has done more work in terms of legislation, enforcement and recovery of looted assets, and has been “extraordinary” in terms of political goodwill.

“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,” he said.

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

However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the  ranking has  validated its position that corruption has worsened under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

The PDP in a statement by Kola Ologbondiyan, said it was a national embarrassment that the country now ranked as the fourth most corrupt country in West Africa under President Buhari, whose government boasts of zero tolerance for corruption.

“It indeed speaks volume that the Buhari administration and the APC that came into power in 2015 on an anti-corruption mantra has ended up becoming the most corrupt in the history of our dear nation.

“Moreover, the fact that the APC and its government, with their numerous megaphones, have remained silent over the report is also very revealing.”

PDP said with the latest TI report, “Nigerians are no longer in doubt as to why our nation has been plagued with worsening economic hardship, poverty and hunger, dilapidated infrastructure and devastating retrogression in critical sectors such as health, power, education, transport, agriculture among others in the last four years while APC leaders, their families and cronies, gloat in affluence to the chagrin of Nigerians.

“Nigerians can recall that our party has since been challenging Buhari Presidency and the APC to come clean, account for the over N14 trillion allegedly stolen by APC leaders from government coffers in the last four years.

“This includes the stolen N9 trillion detailed in the NNPC leaked memo; the N1.1 trillion worth of crude allegedly stolen by certain APC leaders using 18 unregistered vessels; the over N1.4 trillion stolen from shady oil subsidy deals as well as monies stolen from sensitive government agencies including the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) among others.”

Meanwhile, the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) in a statement by Niyi Akinsiju and Cassidy Madueke, said it was uncharitable for TI to conclude that the anti-graft war was not delivering results.

“Here is a group that went to some length to acknowledge that President Muhammadu Buhari has since 2015 introduced what it described as important reforms that have saved billions of naira.

“It also argued, in its own words, that the introduction of the Single Treasury Account (TSA)  eliminated continuous leakages in most MDAs.

“But, despite these, TI still went ahead to rank Nigeria very low, lower than even Ghana that was recently adjudged as the second most corrupt country in Africa by an international body, based on what it said is the perception of business community and country experts of the level of corruption in the public sector.’

“We wonder how the so-called experts concluded that the anti-corruption war is not delivering results when TI’s Nigeria representative, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, himself admitted in his opening remark that the current administration has since 2015 blocked leakages in MDAs.”

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