…as judiciary, electoral, and security sectors top Index
THE 2023 Corruption Perception Index, CPI, Tuesday, indicated that Nigeria ranked 145 most corrupt country out of 180 countries compared with the 2022 CPI results she ranked 150.
This was made known by the Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre CISLAC, Auwal Rafsanjani, during a press conference held in Abuja.
According to Rafsanjani, the index revealed that Nigeria scored 25 out of 100 points in the 2023 CPI, compared to 24 points in the 2022 CPI, he also said Nigeria’s score is below the Sub-Saharan African average of 33 points, and added that most African countries showed stagnation, 90 per cent
of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa scored under 50 per cent.
He further stated that the CPI for Nigeria aggregates data from eight different sources that provide perceptions by country experts and business people on the level of corruption in the public sector, which are: Bertelsmann Foundation Transformation Index; Economist Intelligence Unit Country Ratings; Global Insights Country Risk Ratings; PRS International Country Risk Guide; Varieties of Democracy Project; World Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA); World Economic Forum Executive Opinion Survey (EOS); and World Justice Project Rule of Law Index.
He also maintained that while the index does not show specific incidences of corruption in the country, it indicates the perception of corruption in Nigeria. The index is impartial, objective, and globally acknowledged as the most widely used cross-country parameter for measuring corruption.
He said: “In this year’s CPI release, it is important to highlight that this is not an assessment of Nigeria’s
anti-corruption agencies which are making commendable efforts in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
“The data used for the CPI is not collected by CISLAC/TI-Nigeria but by independent and reputable organisations with rigorous research methodologies.
“The CPI is highly consequential as governments, business entities, civil society organizations and others direct their decisions based on this assessment.
“It is important to highlight that this is the first CPI under this administration thus, it will be used as a benchmark for subsequent years.
Nigeria’s 2023 general elections dashed the hopes of Nigerians who were hoping for a better electoral process despite the passing of the 2022 Electoral Act. According to the European, “The 2023 general elections did not ensure a well-run transparent, and inclusive democratic process as assured by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Public confidence and trust in INEC were severely damaged during the presidential poll and was not restored in state-level elections…”. This abysmal performance by Nigeria’s electoral umpire saw numerous litigation cases being sent to the courts in Nigeria. The poor performance of the election fails to justify the huge resources allocated to INEC for the conduct of the elections.
With the disappointing conduct of the 2023 general elections in Nigeria, the Nigerian judiciary was expected to display independence and dispatch justice transparently as well as in equity and fairness.
“However different conflicting rulings by the different courts have questioned the independence and integrity of the judiciary as an institution.
“This has thrown up the discussion
on the need for effective judicial oversight. Reinforcing this was Justice Musa Dattijo Muhammed Retired who was the second most senior Justice in Nigeria’s Supreme Court and was the deputy chairman of the National Judicial Council.
“In his valedictory session in October 2023, the retired Justice highlighted the abuse of power in the Judiciary and the absence of
adequate representation in the nation’s Supreme Court amongst other challenges which need
to be resolved for the judiciary to win the total trust of citizens.
“Corruption in the Security Sector
In 2023, the defence and security sector accounted for 13.4 per cent of the budget which was about twice the sum of the next two sectors education (8.2%) and infrastructure (5.7%).
However, the security situation of the country continues to be a challenge and the corruption in this sector is worrisome. In October 2023, a military court martial sitting in Abuja sentenced a Major General to seven years imprisonment for stealing, forgery, misappropriation, and. This is likely
only one incident of many. Corruption in the security sector is worrisome because aside from its impacts on the peaceful coexistence of citizens, it also impacts the economy with over 400,000 barrels of crude oil stolen daily as stated by the National Security Adviser. Continuous
corruption and wasteful expenditures in the security sector are likely to determine the success or failure of the development objectives of the new administration.
“Opaqueness of public institutions;
Numerous public institutions in Nigeria are yet to fully comply with the Freedom of Information Act 2011, the Open Government Partnership and other international commitments Nigeria has signed onto. Information surrounding key contracts in the oil and gas sector, the infrastructure sector, and the social protection sector amongst others are not provided to the public.
“The anti-corruption agencies also need to provide information and data on their arrests, investigations, and prosecutions as well as on the proceeds of crime they recover in line with the Proceeds of Crime Management Act (POCMA) 2022.
“Wasteful expenditures: Last year saw the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly known as fuel and citizens were made to pay over 220 per cent increase in the price of PMS. Despite this, public officeholders in Nigeria have failed to show empathy or concern for citizens’ plight rather, we have seen wasteful appropriation and approval of billions of Naira for luxury items. For example, in 2023, it was reported that the National Assembly had budgeted N110 billion for cars and palliatives. Furthermore, N5 billion was budgeted for a Presidential yacht while N5.5 billion was budgeted for student loans.
“Reward of corrupt and questionable individuals with an appointment; The appointment and nomination of individuals with corrupt and questionable pasts into leadership positions at the political party level, the executive, and the legislative arms of government were worrisome. We saw instances where individuals who are under investigation by anti-corruption agencies perform oversight functions on these agencies as members and leaders of the National Assembly. The nomination of these individuals as ministers and political party leaders also signalled that the current administration has no regard or concern for the public demand for a responsible government.
“Failure to prosecute high-profile cases; There have been allegations of corruption in the present and past administrations. While the anti-corruption agencies have invited a handful, there is a need to ensure that all petitions, actionable intelligence and most especially investigations by reputable media and civil society organisations are looked into. For example, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation hp
as been the subject of numerous scandals.
“There are other ministers past and
present who also have allegations of corruption against them, and we call on the relevant agencies to ensure that a comprehensive investigation is carried out.”
However, according to the 2023 CPI, Nigeria showed some improvement and areas where gaps persist. Some of the positive points include: The launch of the Beneficial Ownership Register; Vibrant Media, Civil Society and citizenry in demanding transparency and accountability; and arrests and recoveries by anti-corruption agencies