The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, said the damning 2019 corruption index report on Nigeria by Transparency International (TI), is a vindication of its stand that corruption has worsened under President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The party said it is a national embarrassment “that under an administration by the same leader who wears the medal as ‘African Union (AU), Anti-Corruption Champion,’ and whose government boasts of zero-tolerance for corruption, our nation now ranks as fourth most corrupt country in West African and one of the leading most corrupt countries of the world.”
In a statement issued by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP chided President’s Buhari’s handling of the economy since he came to power in 2015.
The statement read: “The TI report, which shows our country dropping to a malodorous 26, from the already disapproving 27 points it maintained since 2017, has further exposed the Buhari administration and the APC as merely posturing as saints and hounding innocent Nigerians with fake anti-corruption war, while engaged in unprecedented looting of our national resources.
“It indeed speaks volume that the Buhari administration and the APC that came into power in 2015 on an anti-corruption mantra, has ended up becoming the most corrupt in the history of our dear nation. Moreover, the fact that the APC and its government, with their numerous megaphones, have remained silent over the report is also very revealing.
“By this TI report, Nigerians are no longer in doubt as to why our nation has been plagued with worsening economic hardship, poverty and hunger, dilapidated infrastructure and devastating retrogression in critical sectors such as health, power, education, transport, agriculture among others in the last four years while APC leaders, their families and cronies, gloat in affluence to the chagrin of Nigerians.
“Nigerians can recall that our party has since been challenging Buhari Presidency and the APC to come clean, account for the over N14trillion allegedly stolen by APC leaders from government coffers in the last four years.
“This includes the stolen N9trillion detailed in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) leaked memo; the N1.1trillion worth of crude allegedly stolen by certain APC leaders using 18 unregistered vessels; the over N1.4trillion stolen from shady oil subsidy deals as well as monies stolen from sensitive government agencies, including the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), among others.
“It is now clear that the Buhari administration and the APC have not only failed in their boasts to tackle corruption and insecurity but have ended up economically despoiling our nation and worsening our security challenges.
“The fact remains that the Buhari Presidency and the APC cannot controvert these damning facts. The only thing left for them is to apologize to Nigerians and get ready for their place in the dustbin of history as the worst government and political party ever in the history of our nation,” the PDP spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has berated Transparency International (TI) for naming Nigeria as the second most corrupt country in West Africa in the 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released, yesterday.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), said there was no evidence to back the report by TI, which placed Nigeria at 146 out of the 180 countries on the 2019 Corruption Perception Index (CPI).
In an interview on Channels Television’s LunchTime Politics, yesterday, Malami said TI’s report had no bearing on reality.
He said, “In terms of the fight against corruption, we have 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.
“Our resolve to fight corruption is inherent, and indeed, devoid of any extraneous considerations, we will continue to do more and we will double efforts.”
Speaking from the perspective of performance, Malami said there was nothing that has not been done as a nation in the fight against corruption.
Nigeria has slipped on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index 2019, scoring 26 per cent.
Nigeria scored 27 out of 100 in TI’s 2018 report but dropped by a point in 2019, making Africa’s most populous country take the 146th position.
Malami complained that the Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government has done more in the fight against corruption.
He also said there are no proofs by Transparency International to rank Nigeria 146 out of 180 countries on the 2019 CPI.
Malami, however, urged Transparency International to provide indices and statistics, from which it got its facts and figures.
The justice minister said the facts on the ground did not correlate with the information dished out by Transparency International, adding that that there was nothing that has not been done as a nation in the fight against corruption.
“In terms of legislation, we have done more, in terms of enforcement we have done more, in terms of recovery of looted assets we have done more, and in terms of political goodwill, we have demonstrated extra-ordinary political goodwill,” Malami stated.
Malami challenged Transparency International to provide indices and statistics from which the organisation adjudged that Nigeria is not doing enough in its fight against corruption, adding that for a conclusion to be legitimate, then there has to be specific facts and figures to establish a position.
However, the TI’s latest report states that Africa’s most populous country, like most other countries in Sub-Saharan nations, has continued to witness a high rate of corruption which has now worsened due to vote-buying.
After more than four years of anti-corruption campaign by the Buhari administration, Nigeria was ranked 146th out of the 180 countries surveyed by the group, one of the worst ranking in the last few years.
Nigeria was 144th in 2018.
Nigeria’s score of 26 out of 100 points in 2019 is below the global average of 43.
In Africa, countries such as Botswana (61), Cape Verde (60), Rwanda (53), Namibia (52), Senegal (45), South Africa (44) and Tunisia (43) met the average.
Also, Benin (41) Ghana (41), Morocco (41), Burkina Faso (40), Lesotho (40), Ethiopia (37), Tanzania (37), Algeria and Egypt (35), Zambia (34), Sierra Leone (33), Niger (32), Malawi (31), Djibouti (30) and Guinea (29) are ranked higher than Nigeria.
Nigeria is ranked higher than Cameroon (25), CAR (25), Comoros (25), Zimbabwe (24), Madagascar (24), Eritrea (23), Chad (20), Equatorial Guinea (16), Guinea Bissau (18) and Somalia, the worst country in the world, with a score of 8 and ranking at 180th.
The CPI ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, drawing on 13 expert assessments and surveys of business executives.
It uses a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).
Nigeria scored 28 out of 100 in 2016 and 2017 but fell in 2018 to 27 and fell further to 26 in 2019.
In the latest report, Nigeria scored the same as Iran, Honduras, Guatemala, Bangladesh, Mozambique and Angola.
Out of 180 countries surveyed, Nigeria scored better than only 28.
They include – Comoros, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Eritrea, Nicaragua, Cambodia, Chad, Iraq, Burundi, Congo, Turkmenistan, Haiti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya, Guinea-Bissau, North Korea, Venezuela, Equatorial Guinea, Sudan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, South Sudan and Somalia.
The TI survey measures public sector corruption in 180 countries.
The countries with the highest score were Denmark and New Zealand which both scored 87 out of 100.
Others that were highly placed include, Finland (86), Switzerland (85), Singapore (85), Sweden (85), Norway (84), Netherlands (82), Luxembourg (80) and Germany (80).
The United States and France ranked 23, United Kingdom and Canada 12, Japan 20, and Italy 51, respectively.
At 12, Canada and UK scored 83 and 81 in 2015, 82 and 81 in 2016, 82 and 82 in 2017, 81 and 80 in 2018 and 77 apiece in 2019, respectively.
Japan ranked 20, scored 75 in 2015, 72 in 2016, 73 in 2017, 73 in 2018 and 73 in 2019.
Tying at a rank of 23 in 2019, US and France scored 76 and 70 in 2015, 74 and 69 in 2016, 75 and 70 in 2017, 71 and 72 in 2018, and 69 and 69 in 2019, respectively.
Wike Orders All Markets Closed From, ’Morrow …Confirms Index Case …Directs Civil Servants From GL 1 To 10 To Stay At Home
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has confirmed the index positive case of Coronavirus in the state, declaring that the state government has commenced contact tracing of all those she had contact with.
Wike also announced that all markets in the state are to remain closed from Saturday, March28, 2020.
The governor also directed that all civil servants from Grade Level 1 – 10 are to remain at home from today until further notice.
In a broadcast, yesterday, Wike said: “It is, however, unfortunate that despite all the preventive measures we put in place, our state has recorded a positive case as confirmed by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
“The positive case is a 19-year-old female model from Edo State who resides in Port Harcourt. Her travel history reveals that she travelled to France, Italy and Greece before returning to Port Harcourt on March16, 2020. ”On arrival to Port Harcourt, she was asymptomatic and commenced self-isolation in her family house before her samples were collected and sent to the Reference Laboratory, Irruan in Edo State.”
The governor added: “The patient is presently being managed at the State Treatment Centre and she is doing excellently well.
“As it is in normal established practice, intensive line listing and contact tracing of all those she came in contact with has commenced in full force.
“In addition, samples have been collected from high risk contacts for further evaluations while decontamination process has also commenced.
“As the State Chief Executive, I want to sincerely thank this young lady for her patriotic spirit which aided health officials to get relevant information in this direction.
‘May I, therefore, urge you all to remain calm because there is no cause for alarm. The state government is fully prepared to ensure that the incident is contained to avoid further spread.”
Wike outlined additional measures to check the spread of Coronavirus in the state.
He said: “All civil servants from Grade Levels 1 – 10 are to remain at home from Friday, March 27 until further notice.
“All markets in the state, no matter how small, are to remain closed with effect from Saturday, March 28, 2020.
“All local government chairmen are to head task forces in their various local government areas that will ensure that markets remain closed. Council chairmen are empowered to confiscate the goods of defaulters.
“All commissioners and special advisers are to monitor the compliance of the above directives in their various local government areas.
“Security agencies have also been directed to enforce all the decisions taken by the security council.”
Wike said that the state government cannot relax the measures as requested by some organisations.
He said: “After our announcement about border closure, we have received requests from the following companies, Nigeria LNG Limited, Total E&P Nigeria Limited, International Breweries PLC, Oilserve Limited and Nigerian Gas Company to the effect that government should relax the measures because of their activities.
“Government cannot grant their requests now because the protection of human life is more important than any other thing, and we shall do everything necessary to fulfill our obligation in this direction.
“However, we shall review our restrictions concerning their activities when we are fully convinced that it will be reasonable to do so. Let me reiterate that we have taken these painful decisions because we cannot afford to lose any life in this state.
“It is very important at this stage that all citizens continue to practice hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and social distancing to keep our dear state safe.”
Wike pleaded with Rivers people to continue to cooperate with the state government for the containment of Coronavirus.
PDP’ll Rule Rivers 16 Years After Wike-Akawor
The new Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Rivers State chapter, Amb Desmond Akawor says with his emergence as chairman of the party in the state, there will be no vacancy for other political parties to rule Rivers State in the next 16 years after Governor Nyesom Wike.
Akawor gave the assurance last Tuesday in an interview with The Tide at the sideline of a private reception in his residence in Port Harcourt to thank friends and associates on his emergence as new helmsman of PDP in the state.
H said he would not allow other political parties to take over the state from PDP as long as he remained the chairman of the party and even after his tenure.
Akawor said it would be unprecedented if during his tenure as chairman of the state chapter of the party, another political party defeated PDP in the state.
“Am sure, my God will not allow other political parties to take over the state from PDP during my tenure.
“It would be unprecedented if during my tenure another political party beats PDP to take over the state”, Akawor said.
He commended the outgoing chairman of the party in the state, Bro Felix Obuah for successfully leading the party to greater heights, saying that the new leadership will borrow a leaf from his leadership of the party in the state to make more progress.
The party chairman also commended Governor Nyesom Wike for his courage and style of leadership which, according to him, ensured that peace and harmony prevailed in the party.
Also speaking, the Senior Special Adviser to the Governor of Rivers State on NDDC, Barrister Erastus Awortu expressed confidence in the emergence of Desmond Akawor as chairman of PDP in the state.
According to him, Akawor has been tested in various leadership capacities, stating that he believed that the new chairman of the party in the state would take the party to greater heights.
Awortu, who is also serving as secretary, Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority said that the party in the state was in safe hands in the next eight years and beyond considering the antecedents of Akawor.
By: Enoch Epelle
We Should Join Hands To Prevent COVID-19 Outbreak In Rivers, NMA Appeals
The Nigerian Medical Association, Rivers State branch, has appealed to all citizens of the state and stakeholders to work together and prevent any outbreak of the Coronavirus infection ravaging other parts of the world.
The NMA Chairperson in the state, Dr Obelebra Adebiyi, who made the appeal at a press conference in Port-Harcourt, to address the issue of Coronavirus, said that it was important for everyone to be involved in preventing outbreak of the disease in the state.
Adebiyi said: “All hands must be on deck to prevent an outbreak in the state and maintain high level of surveillance”.
She urged people of the state to take seriously guidelines provided by the Federal Ministry of Health through Nigeria Centre for Disease Control against the disease.
She said: “Specifically, the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Health has issued protocols and guidelines for travel and gatherings during the outbreak. These guidelines are to help break transmission and ensure health and safety and are to be taken very seriously”.
Quoting Federal Ministry of Health, she said that people organizing events should use the events to reinforce the message on hand and respiratory hygiene and stay safe against the infection.
The NMA chairperson advised citizens of the state not to panic but implement steps being announced by the state Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
She advised against misinformation and causing panic about the Coronavirus, saying that the bid to prevent an outbreak of the disease in the state should be seen as a collective responsibility.
Adebiyi commended the state Ministry of Health for steps already being taken to prevent an outbreak of the disease in Rivers State.
She said: “Rivers State Ministry of Health has also embarked on sensitization and education of different groups in our society. The NMA Rivers State is advising all citizens not to panic but adhere to all protocols laid out by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the Rivers State Ministry of Health, especially as it concerns hand hygiene, cough etiquette and social distancing.
“We urge the general public to maintain social distancing and avoid crowded places as this will help to break transmission. The state Ministry of Health has placed appropriate measures at the entry points into the state aimed at detecting and curbing any spread of COVID-19 virus in the state”.
She said that people with symptoms such as fever, cough, catarrh, chest pain and difficulty in breathing should report to health facilities to be tested stressing that those who recently travelled to countries with high prevalence of the disease should also self-isolate for at least 14 days.
The chairperson of the NMA also commended the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, for appointing NMA members into his cabinet, saying that they will be “super performers” in the administration.
Adebiyi said: “His Excellency has once again shown by this appointment that doctors in the state are capable of effectively contributing to the NEW Rivers Project”, saying that the group assures its members will be “super performers in their ministries and departments”.
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