The presidency has reacted to the corruption perception index of Transparency International TI, which indicated that Nigeria dropped four steps backward in its anti-corruption war.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lia Mohammed, reacted in defence of the All Progressive Congress led administration on Wednesday, shortly after the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja.
According to Mohammed, the war against graft in Nigeria was not to please or impress the Transparency International under any guise whatsoever.
Recall that Transparency International through its intermediary in Nigeria, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre CISLAC had said Nigeria dropped from 150 position to 154 in the global ranking of corruption index for year 2022.
It hinged it on a number of issues ranging from freeing individuals, especially politicians that had been jailed for corrupt practices. The global graft agency also beamed its rating on the opaqueness in budgetary allocations and implementation, including administrative wastages in the public sector.
The Information and Culture Minister also faulted the rating parameters of the TI, insisting that battle against graft was not just synonymous with arresting and trying suspects or persons culpable in such crimes.
He said, “With regards to the question on Transparency International rating of Nigeria, our position is the same. We are not fighting corruption because we want to impress Transparency International or any organization whatsoever.
“We’re fighting corruption because we believe if we do not fight corruption, there’ll be no growth either in terms of the economy or even politically. Therefore, what we do and what we’re putting in place to fight corruption is not because we want to be rated by anybody.
“However, I can assure you that we do not know what template TI is using. Whatever template they’re using is clearly oblivious of what this administration is doing, to fight corruption.
“Corruption fighting is not just by how many people have you arrested? How many people have you tried? How many people have you convicted? Of course even in that respect, we have a very impressive record, is it the EFCC or is it the ICPC? You seem, if you look at what we’re doing even to make corrupt practices, almost impossible or difficult…
“I’ll just give you two examples, for instance, this administration when funds were returned from the Abacha loot and other funds were recovered from the USD, the UK and Europe, what this administration did, was that rather than pay these funds into the treasury and face the possibility of it being stolen or being rel-ooted, the administration decided that we will put this money into a separate account and ask the National Sovereign Investment Fund to manage these funds, and we used this money for specific projects”.