The presidency on Thursday said the data used by Transparency International (TI) in its latest corruption rating for Nigeria might not have accurately reported the facts.
The presidency in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu added that it is analyzing the data used by the organization is arriving at its latest Corruption Index ranking for Nigeria under the Buhari administration.
It will be recalled as earlier reported by Naija News that TI had in its 2020 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) ranked Nigeria as the second most corrupt country in West Africa.
The report also rates only 12 countries as more corrupt than Nigeria in the whole of Africa with Nigeria occupying 149th position out of 180 countries of the world analyzed in the report.
The countries listed as more corrupt in the latest report are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya, Equatorial Guinea, Sudan, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Chad, Eritrea, Burundi, Congo, Guinea Bissau, and South Sudan.
According to the TI report, with 25 out of 100 points, Nigeria also dropped two places compared to the 2019 report where it scored 26 points and ranked 146th out of 180 nations and Nigeria’s ranking on the corruption perception index has continued to drop in the last four years.
However, in its reaction via a statement on Thursday evening titled “President Buhari deserves credit for diminishing corruption in public service,”, the presidency said it was aware of some anti-Buhari elements within the organization.
The presidential media aide noted that the Buhari administration has been actively fighting corruption and the source of the organization’s data will be investigated since it said it doesn’t gather its own data.
The statement read, “In the coming days, the Government’s Technical Unit on Governance Research 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 seaports 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.
“A Naira denominated review that excludes recoveries in Dollars, Pounds, Euro shows that a sum of N1.2tn was recovered by EFCC between 2009 — 2019. N939bn of that total was recovered between 2015 – 2019 with less than N300bn recovered in the first six years.
“Additionally, preventative instruments deployed by this administration such as Treasury Single Account, Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System coverage expansion and the removal of 54,000 ghost workers from federal civil service saving us N200bn annually serve as evidence that perception is not reality.”
Shehu argued that Buhari won’t be distracted from his commitment to stamping out systemic corruption in Nigeria and urged all stakeholders to support the administration’s efforts and avoid sensational media reports.
In his words, “In the existential fight against this multi-pronged malice and manifestations of corruption, President Muhammadu Buhari has avowed 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.
“President 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.”
Earlier, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had supported the TI rating, describing the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration as the most corrupt government in the history of Nigeria.