Ronald Mutum & Idowu Isamotu — The Federal Government has rejected the 2019 report on Corruption Price Index released by the Transparency International, which ranked Nigeria the second most corrupt country in West Africa.
According to the report released yesterday, the country is now ranked 146 out of the 180 countries considered.
Nigeria scored 26 out of 100 points, a drop from the 27 points that it has maintained since 2017.
According to the TI's report, this year's analysis shows corruption is more pervasive in countries where big money can flow freely into electoral campaigns and where governments listen only to the voices of wealthy or well-connected individuals.
Guinea-Bissau ranked first most corrupt West Africa having scored 168.
The latest report, which surveyed public sector corruption in 180 countries, has Iran, Honduras, Guatemala, Bangladesh, Mozambique and Angola in the same level with Nigeria.
At a press conference in Abuja, TI through the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, its local chapter in Nigeria, listed the reasons Nigeria's rating on corruption perception dropped as including attack on the media and journalists exposing corruption, one-sided anti-graft war as well as ingrained corrupt practices in critical sectors
CISLAC Executive Director Auwal Musa Rafsanjani wondered why Nigeria continued to slip into corruption despite the whistleblower policy and some other policies being put in place this present administration.
But the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, faulted the report, saying there was no clear evidence to back TI's report.
Malami, in an interview on Channels Television yesterday, said the TI's report lacked fact and reality.
"In terms of the fight against corruption, we've been doing more, we have done more and we will continue to do more out of inherent conviction and desire on our part to fight against corruption devoid of any extraneous considerations relating to the rating by Transparency International," he said.
Similarly, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission yesterday described the ranking of Nigeria by TI as baseless and appaling.
In a statement by its spokesman Tony Orilade, the EFCC said the TI used bogus and ambiguous criteria to arrive at "a jaundiced and illogical rating."