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Nigeria now sixth most corrupt nation – TI • Rating is faulty – Presidency

Posted by Yemi Ajayi, Oluyinka Akintunde, Tobi Soniyi and Semiu Okanlawon on 2005/10/19 | Views: 744 |

Nigeria now sixth most corrupt nation – TI • Rating is faulty – Presidency

Nigeria’s clean rating under the watch of the global sleaze monitor, the Berlin-based Transparency International, has improved.

Nigeria’s clean rating under the watch of the global sleaze monitor, the Berlin-based Transparency International, has improved.

According to the annual report of the organisation, released in London on Tuesday, Nigeria moved from its third position as the most corrupt nation in the world last year to the sixth.

It tied with two other African nations, Cote d’Ivoire and Equatorial Guinea, ranking 152 out of the 159 nations surveyed. Forty-four of the countries surveyed are in Africa.

Top on the list of this year’s Corruption Perception Index is Chad, followed by Bangladesh, which tied with Haiti in the 2004 CPI report.

The CPI is derived from the perception of the degree of corruption in the eyes of business people and country analysts. It ranges from 10, which is for highly clean to 0, the score for a country perceived as highly corrupt.

Nigeria improved on the CPI rating with a score of 1.9 in the latest report as against 1.6 in that of last year.

This is the first time since 2002 that Nigeria will improve its rating on the CPI.

In 2002 and 2003, the TI, of which President Olusegun Obasanjo was a founding member, rated the country as the second most corrupt nation. It trailed Bangladesh.

Iceland emerged the cleanest nation with a score of 9.7, followed by Finland and New Zealand, which tied with a score of 9.6.

The United States ranked 17th on the list with a score of 7.6, France 18th (7.5) and Japan 21st (7.3).

However, the TI CPI ranked Nigeria as the second most corrupt country in Africa, after Chad.

But despite its poor showing on the list, the TI, at the presentation of the report, singled out Nigeria as Africa’s most improved state in the fight against corruption.

The TI’s Chief Executive, Mr. David Nussbaum, who presented the report in London, said Nigeria’s case showed that the war against corruption was “a long haul, not a quick silver bullet fix.”

He told Reuters, “It is encouraging that a poor and developing country changed its score and its ranking in our index.”

The TI Chairman, Prof. Peter Eigen, who also spoke from Berlin through video conferencing at the unveiling of the TI’s CPI 2005 in Abuja, on Tuesday, said the Federal Government had recorded improvements in its anti-corruption crusade through the establishment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the National Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

He said, “Nigerian people are interested in the impact of the six years fight against corruption by the Obasanjo administration. On the CPI 2005, Nigeria improved by 0.3 in the grade. Though this is significant, it does not call for champagne.

“Nigeria has not moved out of the unhealthy position. The improvement is reflective of what is going on in the country, especially with the EFCC, NEITI and transparency in public sector management, strong media and strong civil society.

“I think tremendous efforts have been made by the government in the fight against corruption and recovery of looted funds. Bunkering in the Niger Delta is being curtailed, which is a big success.”

He, however, called for more independent and strengthened oversight institutions, as well as a holistic approach to counter corruption in the country.

However, just like last year, the Federal Government, again, faulted Nigeria’s latest ranking and the methodology adopted.

The Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, in a telephone interview with our correspondent said, “It is gratifying and encouraging to note that Transparency International is finally acknowledging the fact that tremendous efforts have been made in this country since 1999 to fight corruption.

“However, having said that, it is our view that their method of gathering information and the indices they have been using to assess the performances of these countries are faulty and defective.

“It is simply not true to suggest that Nigeria is the sixth most corrupt country in the world given the tremendous efforts that have been made since 1999 by President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Nigerian people to fight corruption.”

He, however, described as “gratifying and encouraging” the statement by Nussbaum, which lauded the efforts by the Federal Government in fighting corruption, thus leading to a drop in Nigeria’s standing on the TI’s ranking.

Last year, the Federal Government had taken on the TI, saying that its ranking of the country did not take into cognizance the giant strides which it had achieved in its sleaze fight.

The Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, cited a leading authority on survey and founding Head of Research at the TI, Mr. Fredrik Galtung, as saying in an academic paper, that the TI’s Corruption Perception Index was outdated. After Chad and Bangladesh, which tied with a score of 1.7 on the index, the three next most corrupt countries in the world are Haiti, Myanmar and Turkmenistan with scores of 1.8 apiece.

Out of the 44 African covered by this year’s report, 31 scored less than three, “a sign of rampant corruption.”

“Africa is the continent with the lowest average in the CPI,” TI added, confirming the general belief that the poorest countries in the world are also the most corruption-ridden.

Africa’s least corrupt countries, according to the ranking, are Botswana (5.9), Tunisia, South Africa (4.5), Namibia and Mauritius.

In Africa alone, TI said that some $148billion was lost to corruption yearly.

That is about half the continent’s external debt, estimated by the International Monetary Fund at $284 billion.

THE PUNCH, Wednesday. October 19, 2005

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Comments (3)

Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.