Presidency replies Transparency International, says Buhari deserves credit for diminishing corruption

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By Ismaila Chafe

Abuja, Jan. 29, 2021 The presidency says the Buhari administration deserves credit for diminishing corruption in the public service and will continue to vigorously support prevention, enforcement, public education and enlightenment activities of anti-corruption agencies.

Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s spokesman, stated this on Thursday in a statement while reacting to the latest Transparency International (TI) report on Corruption Perceptions Index in Nigeria.

The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2020 report, published by Transparency International, had said that Nigeria scored 25 out of 100 points, thereby occupying the 149th position out of the 180 countries surveyed.

The report further alleged that Nigeria is now the second most corrupt country in West Africa with Guinea-Bissau the only country more corrupt than Nigeria in the region.

However, the presidential spokesman dismissed the report, questioning the sources of data used in arriving at the TI report on Nigeria.

According to him, the report is not an accurate portrayal of the facts on ground.

He said: ”We are currently analyzing the sources of data used in arriving at the latest Transparency International (TI) report on Corruption Perceptions Index in Nigeria since by their own admission, they don’t gather their own data.

”This report is not an accurate portrayal of the facts on ground.

”In the coming days, the Government’s Technical Unit on Governance Research (TUGAR) will be providing more detailed information on the sources of the TI data.

”While this is being awaited, the examination carried out on their 2019 report showed that 60 percent of their data was collected from businesses and other entities with issues bordering on transparency and the ease of doing business at the ports.

”Although this is a government ready to learn from mistakes and make corrections, the economy of this country, in its fullness, is bigger than the sea ports we have.

”We are also not unaware of the characters behind the TI in Nigeria whose opposition to the Buhari administration is not hidden.

”We have repeatedly challenged TI to provide indices and statistics of its own to justify its sensational and baseless rating on Nigeria and the fight against corruption.

”We expect them to come clean and desist from further rehashing of old tales.”

Shehu, who narrated the achievements of the Buhari administration in the fight against corruption in the last five years, revealed that the government had so far recovered N1.2 trillion from corrupt individuals and organisations through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from 2015 to 2019.

He said various anti-corruption measures were also put in place to check corrupt-practices in the public service.

”A Naira denominated review that excludes recoveries in Dollars, Pounds, Euros shows that a sum of N1.2 trillion was recovered by EFCC between 2009 — 2019, N939 billion of that total was recovered between 2015 and 2019 with less than N300 billion recovered in the first six years.

”Additionally, preventative instruments deployed by this administration such as Treasury Single Account (TSA), Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) coverage expansion and the removal of 54,000 ghost workers from federal civil service (saving us N200 billion annually), serve as evidence that perception is not reality.

”Reality is based on verifiable facts and data. And any evidence-based analysis would prove that whether it is by prevention or punitive measures in recoveries and prosecution, this administration would be rising fast up these rankings rather than standing still,” he added.

He, therefore, advised that organizations should be factual in their analysis and be prepared to rely on inputs outside of sensational media reports and age-old narratives which had not been updated to reflect today’s reality in Nigeria concerning its globally-respected war on corruption.

”In the existential fight against this multi-pronged malice and manifestations of corruption, President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed that he would take-no-prisoners, guided by respect for the rule of law.

”We invite Nigerians to stand with an administration that has done so much on asset recovery, prosecution, legislation, political will and leadership by example in the fight against corruption.

”Equally, we urge our friends in the media, development partners and the civil society organizations to continue to support efforts to strengthen accountability, transparency, ethical values and integrity in Nigeria’s public sector.”

According to him, Buhari has put his hand to the plough and will not relent in working with those passionate about the welfare, stability and prosperity of future generations to come in Nigeria

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