Nigeria’s low score on the Corruption Perception Index is an indictment of the present ‘war’ on corruption
In Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index report for 2015, Nigeria ranked very low, at 136 out of 168 countries. Though Nigeria retained the same position from the 2014 report, the fact that it was ranked 136 out of 175 countries, suggests that corruption in the country hardly improved in 2015. The ranking is usually based on a scale that ranges between 0, for a high perception of corruption, to 100 which represents a high perception of cleanliness. While Nigeria scored 26, down one place from its score in 2014, Denmark retained the number one position in the ranking for the second year running with a score of 91.
Though the index is based on expert opinions of public sector corruption, Transparency International’s criterion for being corrupt is a lot “more than missing money”. Key characteristics considered include levels of press freedom, access to budget information so the people know how money is spent, levels of integrity among people in power, impartial judiciaries, strength of public institutions etc. Countries like Somalia and North Korea scored the lowest on the ranking, with an unchanged score of 8 each. Other decliners in Africa include Libya, Angola, Sudan and South Sudan.
President Muhammadu Buhari made promises to clean up the corruption in Nigeria’s public system when he was sworn in May 2015. But even though the war on corruption is currently in full swing, especially due to the investigation into the $2.1 billion scam, it is increasingly likely that this may not be enough. Many operations in Nigeria’s public system are still shrouded in secrecy and opaqueness; most recently the issue of its “missing” 2016 budget and the allocation for its National Assembly. However, Nigerians will be expecting a better end to 2016 in terms of transparency.
Meanwhile, African gainers in the ranking include Ghana and Senegal. A significant change which has been attributed to the determination of activists in these countries to “drive out the corrupt”. The effort of the masked Ghanaian, an Investigative Journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, to unravel corruption in Ghana’s judiciary, is a clear example of people rising up against corruption in Africa. “The 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index clearly shows that corruption remains a blight around the world, but 2015 was also a year when people again took to the streets to protest corruption — people across the globe sent a strong signal to those in power: it is time to tackle grand corruption,” said the head of Transparency International, Jose Ugaz, in a press release by the organization. Also, five of the most corrupt nations in the world also feature in the list for the least peaceful places in the world, showing there is a clear correlation between corruption and conflict.