The federal government has said it will not be distracted by the rating of the Transparency International, which ranked Nigeria low in its latest international Corruption Perception Index (CPI).
It also said it was not fighting corruption to impress any organisation, including Transparency International (TI).
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, gave the government’s position in London when he featured on interview sessions with some international media organisations.
Reacting to the TI rating, the minister described as incorrect the position by the organisation that Nigeria was doing worse in fighting corruption, adding that the government is unhappy about the development.
“In any event, we are not fighting corruption because we want to impress any organisation.
“We are fighting corruption because we believed that without fighting the menace, the much-sought development will not happen and we have results to show for fighting corruption.
“We have put in place policies and legislations that have tamed the monster called corruption.
“For instance, apart from the TSA, which has saved us billions of naira, we put in place transparency portal which enables every Nigerians to see how much is being spent by the government every day.
“Under the transparency portal regulation, any expenditure above N5 billion must be reported and that gives every Nigerian the opportunity to know exactly what is going on.
“We will continue to fight corruption and we know that we are winning the war,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the minister stressed that for the first time in the history of the country, high profile people have been convicted of corruption charges.
“For those who say that the anti-corruption fight is selective, how do you say that when serving senators and past governors who were members of the ruling party are now serving jail terms,’” he said
The federal government had earlier rejected Nigeria’s rating as 146 out of 180 countries and the fourth most corrupt country in West Africa on the 2019 Transparency International’s CPI.
Again, TI had scored the President Muhammadu Buhari- led administration low in its fight against corruption as Nigeria was scored 26 out of 100 points in the Corruption Perception Index CPI, 2019.
Of the 19 countries in the West African region, Nigeria ranked the fourth most corrupt country, after Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Cameroon.
The CPI 2019 released globally by TI revealed that Nigeria has further slipped down by one point compared to last year
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), had faulted the ranking, saying there is no evidence to back the report by TI.
“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,” Malami reportedly said on LunchTime Politics, a programme on Channels TV.
“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,” he added.
Malami said there was nothing that had not been done as a nation in the fight against corruption.
“In terms of legislation, we have done more; in terms of enforcement we have done more; in terms of recovery of looted assets we have done more and in terms of political goodwill, we have demonstrated extra-ordinary political goodwill,” Malami said.
He had also added that “the empirical evidence” did not support Transparency International’s report.