The Presidency has said that the latest Transparency International’s report indicating worsening corruption in Nigeria is an indictment of the citizens and not the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Femi Adesina, the president’s senior media adviser, stated this on Wednesday while appearing on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily programme.
In its report released on Tuesday, Transparency International said Nigeria and seven other African countries hit “historic lows” in the 2021 Corruption Perception Index (CPI).
Nigeria hit a historic low of 24, just as the Pandora Papers exposed further secretive dealings among powerholders who buy property abroad in the UK.
“Elites have a sense of impunity as the anti-corruption agenda has stalled and little action has been taken in response to previous revelations from the Panama Papers and FinCEN Files investigations,” said the global anti-corruption watchdog. The CPI scores are given on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).
It said, “In the Corruption Perceptions Index 2021 Nigeria ranks 154 out of 180 countries and territories, falling back five places from the rank of 149 in 2020.”
The report showed that despite the anti-corruption fight being one of the key priorities of the Buhari administration, the country has continued on a downward trend on the index. Nigeria had dropped from 26 in 2019 to 25 on the index, while the latest report showed that the county dropped further to 24 in 2021.
But Adesina, while appearing on the TV programme, said Nigerians do not “need TI’s report to authenticate or validate what government is doing. Government is working and anti-corruption is one of the key pillars of this administration.”
He said, “Globally there’s no place that has eradicated corruption. It is a national issue. This administration is fighting corruption and we are getting results.
“I cannot rate the corruption of the country, rather Nigerians should rate the government.
“The EFCC reported that they had over 2,000 convictions last year alone. We have moved from a time that stealing is not corruption to now that stealing is corruption,” Adesina said.
“The government has fought corruption very well. We have statistics from all the agencies made up to fight corruption and they give reports from time to time.
“Now what would you rather believe, the information from your country or information from outside. It depends on the statistics TI is using but we know corruption is being fought in Nigeria.”
Adesina added, “Also when such reports come, if we would believe such report, it is not an indictment of the government, rather it is an indictment of you and me because we constitute the country.”