Nigeria has ranked 154 out of 180 countries in the 2021 Corruption Perception Index, CPI indicating that the country dropped five places from 2020 ranking.
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, and Transparency International, TI, released the report on Tuesday, January 25, 2022.
The index further revealed that Nigeria scored 24 out of 100 points in the 2021 CPI. The maximum points a country can score is 100 points, and the least is zero. Zero signifies the worst performing countries and 100, the best-ranked.
According to the Executive Director, CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Rafsanjani seven parameters are used for the ranking of countries.
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These parameters called weaknesses as were highlighted in the report as: The “Non-Compliance/Internal Control Weaknesses Issues in Ministries, Departmentsand Agencies (MDAs); Security Sector Corruption; Failure to Investigate High Profile Corruption Cases and prevent Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs); Absence of asset recovery, protection of whistle-blowers, and other key anti-corruption legal frameworks; Judicial Challenges; Corruption in the COVID-19 Response; and Twitter ban.
Ibrahim Rafsanjani said, “The CPI aggregates data from 8 (eight) different sources that provide perceptions by country experts and business people on the level of corruption in the public sector.
“While the index does not show specific incidences of corruption in the country, it indicates the perception of corruption in Nigeria. The index is completely impartial, objective and globally acknowledged as the most widely used cross-country parameter for measuring corruption.
CISLAC/TI-Nigeria also explained some of the key weaknesses to have contributed to the fruitlessness recorded in the country’s fight against corruption.
“Security Sector Corruption: The systemic corruption in the Nigeria Police Force has sadly continued unabated and with the police at the frontline of Nigeria’s criminal justice system with enormous powers to investigate and prosecute crimes. This weakness puts the country in bad light.
“As a matter of fact, the Police was indicted by the Auditor General’s report on the “NonCompliance/Internal Control Weaknesses Issues in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) published in November 2021” and Nigerians are still struggling to understand how 178,459 arms and ammunition were missing from the armoury of the Nigeria Police without trace. Of this figure, 88, 078 were AK 47 assault rifles and 3,907 assorted rifles and pistols. For context, these arms are enough to arm a force equivalent 3 to about 25% of the current strength of the Nigeria Police at 370,000 which gives an explanation on the level of insecurity in the country.
In addition to the above, the Auditor general’s report showed that over 17,000 police officers had future dates of employment with hundreds employed before their date of birth.
While Assistant Investigation Editor, CJID, Taiwo Adebayo identified Weakness 3: Failure to Investigate High Profile Corruption Cases and prevent Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs).
“Nigeria’s anti-graft agencies have made commendable progress in their efforts to combat corruption in 2021 with an increase in convictions. However, high profile convictions of Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) across political, regional and any other form of divide have fallen short of public expectations.
“While we commend the arrest of cyber criminals and call on the anti-graft agencies to do more, there is a need to investigate high profile political cases including those of individuals who have switched political affiliations”, Adebayo said.
Reading Weakness 4: Absence of asset recovery, protection of whistle-blowers, and other key anti-corruption legal frameworks, the Project Coordinator, Progressive Impact Organisation for Community Development, PRIMOG, Adaobi Obiabunmuo, said, “When it comes to asset recovery, Nigerian anti-graft agencies have made progress in recoveries, specifically those that have been finally forfeited. Sadly, the repeated failure to enact the Proceeds of Crime Act as a legal framework for the management and utilization of recovered assets in Nigeria which is one of the key pillars of this administration’s anti-corruption strategy is inexplicable! While Nigerians read about these recoveries by the numerous agencies with mandates to recover assets, Nigerians are in the dark as to the status of these recoveries.”
“Weakness 5: Judicial Challenges; There is a need for the Nigerian judiciary to speed up its delivery of judgment. The delay in treating high profile cases of corruption dampens the morale of anti-graft agencies. It is also important for the National Judicial Council (NJC) to ensure that judicial officers appointed are competent and qualified.
“The NJC should shun nepotism in its appointment of Judges and also when it undertakes disciplinary actions against Judges.”
Meanwhile, Manager, BudGit, Tolulope Aguloye, said, “Weakness 6: Corruption in the COVID-19 Response, there have been reports of diversion of funds earmarked for Nigeria’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, Nigerians are yet to see any high-profile convictions.
“Weakness 7: Twitter ban, shrinking civic space and intimidation of human rights defenders. The final weakness which is very important relates to the shrinking Civic Space and clampdown on freedom of speech. The theme of the 2021 CPI by TI beams the searchlight on human rights and democracy under attack.
“The arbitrary and illogical decision of the Nigerian government to ban Twitter on the 5th of June 2021 for about seven months stands condemned. While this ban has been lifted just recently, Nigeria is still suffering from the consequences of the ban. According to the CIVICUS monitor, Nigeria’s civic space is repressed.
“On the Freedom House’s Freedom in the World 2021 report, Nigeria recorded a decline with a score of 45 out of 100 from a score of 47 in 2020 and 50 in 2019 (with 0 being not free and 100 being very free).
“The tale is further gloomy when one considers the World Press Freedom Index released in 2021 by Reporters Without Borders which describes Nigeria as “one of West Africa’s most dangerous and difficult countries for journalists.”