The acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, on Wednesday criticised Transparency International’s ranking of Nigeria in its latest Corruption Perception Index.
Speaking to journalists at the Commission’s new headquarters, Mr Magu said while he was worried by the ranking, he remained undeterred in his anti-corruption fight.
“We will continue to fight corruption, it (ranking)) doesn’t matter,” Mr Magu said.
“There’s a lot of politics in this indices, I don’t believe it, I don’t believe it’s right.”
Mr Magu said as far as anti-corruption rating is concerned, Nigeria has done “very well.”
“You are in this country, would you honestly say the situation is the same 12 years back?
“So I don’t believe in this Transparency index, but we are doing everything possible to improve on our rating next year.”
The latest Corruption Perception Index released by Transparency International earlier this year showed that corruption in Nigeria worsened between 2016 and 2017.
The report, which ranked Nigeria 148th out of 180 countries, showed a slight deterioration in the perception of corruption in public administration in Nigeriacompared to 2016 when Nigeria ranked 136th.
The Presidency disagreed with the report, describing the ranking as “fiction.”
But the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, welcomed it as a catalyst for Nigeria to do better in its fight against corruption rather than a setback.
Adetokunbo Mumuni, the Executive Director of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, said rather than blame Transparency International’s ranking as political, the Nigerian government should intensify its fight against corruption.
“Let us say as Nigerians that the ranking by Transparency International is indicative of the way we are in the fight against corruption,” Mr Mumuni told PREMIUM TIMES.
“But I will advise Magu and President Buhari to take the opinion and findings of Transparency International seriously so that where they say we are not doing well we move in that direction and do well. We must be seen to be doing the work effectively on our own.”
The Corruption Perception Index (CPI), established in 1995, is one of the most respected international measurement of corruption trends. It is a composite indicator used to measure perceptions of corruption in the public sector in different countries around the world.
The CPI is computed by the Transparency International Secretariat in Germany and is published in Nigeria by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC).
Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, CISLAC’s Executive Director, said the objective of the CPI ranking is being misunderstood by Nigerian government officials.
“What is important is for us to appreciate and recognise that we have corruption issue in Nigeria,” Mr Rafsanjani told PREMIUM TIMES.
“It’s better we stop the denial and be honest with ourselves
“The focus of the Corruption Perception Index is to help countries to improve in their systems, we know that they are lacking in the capacity to combat corruption, we know that there are lapses in policy implementation that will help against corruption. So, however, the situation is, why not be open to this and work towards addressing these lapses that we have which everybody knows that we have?
“So I don’t think it was a well-informed dismissal (by the EFCC boss) because, ideally, government, especially one that is fighting corruption, should be open to exchange of concerns when there is a problem of corruption.”