The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and the anti-graft agency, EFCC, have condemned the Transparency International 2019 report that ranked Nigeria poorly on the fight against corruption.
According to the latest anti-corruption watchdog index, Nigeria dropped two places from 144th to 146th position out of the 180 countries that were surveyed worldwide.
In the 2019 Transparency International’s corruption perception index released on Thursday, Nigeria scored 26 out of 100 points, falling by one point compared to 2018. In the country comparison, Nigeria now ranks 146 out of 180 countries – two places down compared to 2018 results.
Nigeria’s latest placement by the international body has drawn debates about the success of the fight against corruption in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari has the battle against graft as one of the three cardinal promises he made before he was elected. The other two are security of lives and properties and restoring the economy.
Both the EFCC and Mr Malami condemned the report on Thursday.
In his reaction, Mr Malami said there is no ‘evidence’ to back the report.
Mr Malami, in an interview on Channels Television’s LunchTime Politics, on Thursday, said the facts on the ground do not correlate with the information dished out by the group.
He also said: “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.
“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.”
Mr Malami challenged Transparency International to provide statistics from which the organisation came to the conclusion that the country performed poorly.
According to him, “there is nothing that the country has not 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,” Mr Malami stated.
EFCC: ‘Baseless, appalling’
The EFCC has also condemned the report.
The commission, in a communique on Thursday, described the report as baseless and appalling.
“The claim and inference by TI that Nigeria ranks the fourth most corrupt country in West Africa is totally unacceptable, as it is evidently not supported by any empirical data, especially when placed side-by-side with the remarkable achievements of the Commission in the past years,” the EFCC said.
The commission noted that it “will not be distracted by a body that has been consistent in its biased rating of Nigeria and will continue in its mandate of fighting corruption.”
The PDP, which lost the presidential election in 2015, said Mr Buhari’s government, which boasts of zero-tolerance for corruption, now ranks as the fourth most corrupt country in West Africa and one of ”the leading most corrupt countries of the world.”
”It indeed speaks volume that the Buhari administration and the APC that came into power in 2015 on an anti-corruption mantra, has ended up becoming the most corrupt in the history of our dear nation,” the opposition party said.