Nigeria has been so plagued by political and socioeconomic corruption and recently, the country was ranked 150th out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2022 corruption perception index. The index released exclusively in Nigeria by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) indicated that the perception of corruption that has ravaged Nigeria, even though the index did not specifically target any corruption incident. Regardless, the index was described as impartial, objective and globally accepted as a cross-country paradigm for quantifying corruption.
The Transparency International emphasized that the index perception was in no way an assessment of the country’s anti-graft agencies who were making tremendous efforts to curb corruption in the country, despite the political interferences. The corruption perception index, known to be published at the beginning of the year, has come at an immensely crucial moment for Nigeria and Africa, with Nigeria’s general election in the loop. The report further explained that although Nigerians had rooftop expectations as regards this administration addressing the corruption challenges, the corruption ratio had only worsened.
Passage of important legislation, positive for Nigeria’s corruption fight.
While Nigeria moved up 4 spots in the country ranking, it maintained its previous score of 24, the lowest recorded by CPI since 2012, indicating a slowdown in the constant decline, as observed in the past three CPIs. The CISLAC/TI-Nigeria pointed out important areas as to why Nigeria did not witness an upward or downward move in the latest CPI ranking and while some of these reasons were positive, others were negative. Some of the positive factors included the passage of important legislation. Passing the Electoral Act 2022 was noted to have further enhanced Nigeria’s electoral system, improving the citizens’ confidence in the electoral process for the impending election.
The report further pointed out that the passage of the Proceeds of Crime (and Management) Act 2022 and the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) were also immensely necessary for enhancing the country’s asset recovery process and legal framework when fighting and preventing money laundering and related crimes. The organization further recognized the consistent resolve of the anti-graft agencies in addressing the corruption related challenges in the country despite the constant political interferences. These efforts, it confirmed, cut across investigations and increased convictions.
Lack of accountability highlighted as one of Nigeria’s weaknesses.
On the highlighted weaknesses, CISLAC/TI-Nigeria pointed out that the deliberate pardon of certain individuals by the present administration was a major setback in the country’s fight against corruption. This act was described as damaging for its failure of equity and fairness. This was noted to have contributed negatively in the country’s efforts to curb corruption. The prevalence of high profile corruption and the failure at investigating corruption cases like the Panama papers, Paradite papers and Pandora papers were other weaknesses noted. The recurrent problems of oil theft in spite of the presence of security agencies which have caused an increased spending on security was also highlighted as a challenge in Nigeria’s fight against corruption. News of oil thefts continually strike the oil industry, causing the country to fail to reach OPEC’s quota.
In the face of brazen attacks on lives and properties, the lack of accountability and transparency was again highlighted as a major weakness of the country and despite these consistent attacks, no individual had been held responsible for these atrocities. In fact, CISLAC/TI-Nigeria was reported in the past, to have argued about the link between corruption in the security sector and the rise of insecurity in Nigeria. Judicial issues was also cited as another important weakness. The Nigerian Judiciary was attributed to have contributed to the rise of corruption in the country.
CISLAC urges relevant bodies to ensure free, fair and credible election.
The organization however urged the president and other relevant bodies such as INEC, political parties and security agencies to ensure a free, fair and credible general election. The president was advised to make necessary consultations with citizens, the media, civil society and other actors before presidential pardons are enacted. The presidency was also urged to address the lingering oil theft challenge and ensure transparency in the fuel subsidy process. The organization also noted that relevant agencies must investigate the importation of toxic fuel in the country and punish the perpetrators. With the impending election drawing near, the Judiciary was also advised to ensure that justice is served.
Transparency International: Website