Nigeria has dropped to 149 (of 180) on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI).
The position, which is for 2020, represents the West African country’s worst ranking since 2015.
Countries are ranked on a scale of zero to 100 in TI’s rating. Zero means “Highly Corrupt,” while 100 stands for “Very Clean”.
Nigeria scored 25 out of a possible 100 points.
In the last TI rating in 2019, Nigeria was ranked 146th out of the 180 countries surveyed, scoring 26 points out of a possible 100.
The latest ranking shows that Nigeria is two steps worse off than it was in 2018 when it scored 27 points to place 144th out of 180 countries.
The ranking also reveals that Nigeria is now the second most corrupt country in West Africa with Guinea-Bissau the only country more corrupt than Nigeria in the sub-region.
In Africa, only 12 countries are perceived to be more corrupt than Nigeria. They are Zimbabwe, Chad, Eritrea, Burundi, Congo, Guinea Bissau, Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya, Equatorial Guinea, Sudan, Somalia and South Sudan. Both Somalia and South Sudan were ranked as the most corrupt nations on earth.
Globally, the least corrupt countries are Denmark, New Zealand, Finland, Singapore, Sweden Switzerland, Norway, The Netherlands, Germany and Luxembourg.
The United Kingdom, Canada and Hong Kong were all ranked at 11 while the United States received one of its lowest ever rankings at 25.
The US, with a score of 67, reached its lowest position on the CPI since 2012.
TI said the adminstration of former American President, Donald Trump, failed to properly oversight COVID-19 spending.
“The Administration’s challenges to oversight of the unprecedented US$1 trillion COVID-19 relief package raised serious anti-corruption concerns and marked a significant retreat from longstanding democratic norms promoting accountable government,” the Germany-based organisation said.
The report noted that corruption is prevalent across the COVID-19 response, from bribery for COVID-19 tests, treatment and other health services, to public procurement of medical supplies and overall emergency preparedness.
“Our analysis shows that corruption diverts funds from much needed investment in health care, leaving communities without doctors, equipment, medicines and, in some cases, clinics and hospitals,” it read.
“In addition, a lack of transparency in public spending heightens the risk of corruption and ineffective crisis response. Budget transparency, particularly during an emergency response like COVID-19 when speed and efficiency matter, can be difficult to enforce during a crisis.
“Finally, our research shows that corruption continues to undermine democracy, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Countries with higher levels of corruption tend to be the worst perpetrators of democratic and rule-of-law breaches while managing the COVID-19 crisis.”
PRESIDENT BUHARI’S ANTI-CORRUPTION FIGHT
Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, came into power with the promise of getting rid of corruption which has been plaguing Nigeria for decades.
However, the country’s ranking on the CPI has continued to drop in the last four years.
In July 2020, Buhari suspended the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, amid allegations of corruption. Magu was the administration’s face of anti-corruption war.
After Magu’s suspension, Buhari admitted that some of his political appointees had abused his trust.
“On the issue of corruption, all past and present cases will be fully investigated. This is why we put the commission (of investigation) in place. There has been abuse of trust by people trusted by the previous administration and this administration,” the President said at the time.
There are speculations that the presidential panel set up to investigate Magu found him guilty of corrupt practices and recommended his dismissal but the presidency is yet to make the panel’s report public.