The national corruption report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is not an indictment on the federal government, which has been fighting corruption in the last two years, a criminologist and member of the Advisory Committee on Corruption, Prof. Femi Odekunle, has said.
NBS had yesterday, released a report on national corruption, stating that an estimated N400 billion or the equivalent of $4.6 billion in purchasing power parity (PPP), representing 39 per cent of the combined federal and state education budgets in 2016, is paid out as bribes to public officials in Nigeria annually.
Reacting to the report, Odekunle said the report did not in any way indict the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government as being widely speculated.
Odekunle who spoke yesterday on ARISE Television, the sister broadcast station of THISDAY Newspaper, said the Buhari-led government should rather be commended for vigorously fighting corruption since he assumed office in May 2015. Citing the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), through which Nigeria has recovered a lot of money, Odekunle said the Buhari-led government met a corrupt economy and had tried to save the situation in the last two years of his administration.
"I am not surprised about the report of NBS on corruption because before the present government came into power, the economy was like a deep swamp in the ocean and the government has been trying to rebuild a befitting structure for the country, but the efforts cannot be noticed in just two years because the economy was already in a bad shape," Odekunle said.
He, however, said the fact that corrupt politicians are returning stolen funds, is an indication that the Buhari government is doing well for the country and should be commended, despite the NBS report on corruption.
Odekunle also said the report which claimed that nine out of 10 bribes were paid in cash, does not rule out the federal government's effort to make Nigeria a cashless economy.
He said corruption cases were lost in courts because the judiciary still doubt the integrity efforts of government, and that the judiciary tends to dwell more on technicalities, rather than the negative impact of corruption on the society. Odekunle said residual corruption was deep-rooted among public officers and called on Nigerians to support government in malaise.