…Says report a reflection of corruption by Nigerians and not by Buhari administration
By Ishaku Yohanna
Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media & Publicity, Garba Shehu, says the report by Transparency International (TI) that ranked Nigeria low was an indictment of Nigerians and not President Buhari or his administration.
The Presidential spokesman said this on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Monday while reacting to the poor ranking on Transparency International’s 2020 Corruption Perception Index in which Nigeria scored 25 out of 100 and was named the second most corrupt nation in West Africa and ranked 149 out of 180 countries.
He said, “I’ll tell you that this one by TI is not a judgment on Buhari or his administration or its war against corruption, I will tell you that this one is a judgment on Nigerians because if you look at the indices they used at arriving at these conclusions, they used eight indices, six of which showed Nigeria as being more or less Nigeria in the same position.
“The two that they dwelled on, that caused this backslide, are essentially Nigerian problems. They’re talking about the political culture of this country, vote-buying, thuggery. Is it Buhari that is a thug? We’re not doing thuggery.
“And when they talk about the justice sector, they are talking about perceived corruption in the judiciary. These perceptions are essentially not correct. Yes, there are issues in that sector but so many changes are going on in that sector wouldn’t it have been nice if they acknowledged it so that you encourage those judicial officers that are upright, and then the system gets getting better.”
Although Shehu said the index drew conclusions from the behaviour of Nigerians, the TI report says it drew its conclusion from 13 data sources that capture the assessment of experts and business executives on a number of corrupt behaviours in the public sector including bribery, diversion of public funds, use of public office for private gain and nepotism in the civil service.
It added that some of the sources also looked at the mechanisms available to prevent corruption in a country, such as “the government’s ability to enforce integrity mechanisms, the effective prosecution of corrupt officials, red tape and excessive bureaucratic burden, the existence of adequate laws on financial disclosure, conflict of interest.”
Garba Shehu said the report was a judgment on Nigerians, reiterating that the said report was blind to the areas where the Federal Government had “done extremely well.”
When asked why the Federal Government responded to the Transparency International’s report if it indicted Nigerians and not the Presidency, Garba Shehu said: “We responded because the report turned a blind eye on where we did extremely well.
“Before we came corruption was part of daily life and it was never denounced. But now, with increasing education and awareness, Nigerians are coming to accept that corruption is wrong and not the way to go.”