Transparency International (TI) has said one of the reasons it ranked Nigeria low on the 2019 Corruption Perception Index is that the government has been partial in its application of the rule of law.
It said during the last elections, some politicians who were members of a party were allowed to go free after joining a particular party.
It further stated that the government’s negative behaviour towards the media and civil society organisations had created an atmosphere for corruption to thrive.
The explanation is contained in a statement signed by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre which is Transparency International’s chapter in Nigeria.
It read in part, “All useful reforms in Nigeria are limited to those who cannot afford to ignore them. The pre-election period witnessed mind-blowing scandals, which stayed without consequences. Politicians stashing millions of dollars in kickbacks or having corruption charges upon them just need to switch political parties or stay loyal and charges are dropped against them.
“Despite evidences brought by brave media and civil society, prominent personalities in politics and business are untouchable by the Nigerian law enforcement and the executive.”
TI further stated that Nigeria had failed to implement its own recommendations for fighting corruption.
The statement read further, “It takes an average of 10 years to confiscate criminally obtained assets. Nigeria has no legal and policy framework which would enable accountable confiscated assets management.
“The Proceeds of Crime Act that we have been negotiating for over 10 years has not been signed by the Presidency, probably due to the resistance of the anti-corruption agencies, which do not want any accountable and transparent system. While few profit from the chaos, Nigeria continuous suffering.”
The organisation stated that anti-corruption legal and policy framework was underdeveloped even as it lamented that political parties in the country lacked integrity.
It said Nigeria had a poor understanding of the concept of corruption and how to tackle it, adding that corruption in vital sectors such as oil and gas and defence is endemic.
The organisation, however, advised the government to take the report in good faith rather than focus on launching a media campaign against TI.
It read further, “As every year, when results are not favourable to the Government, the CPI, CISLAC and all other critical citizens will be dismissed, branded as unpatriotic and some activists may even be physically attacked.
“Instead of analytically discussing why Nigeria does not seem to be winning the war on corruption, the Government and her supporters will spend tax payers’ resources and precious time on denying the obvious – Nigeria does not make much progress in the fight against corruption!”