Nigeria has ranked 145 out of 180 countries and scored 25 out of 100 points in the recently launched 2023 Corruption Perception Index, published by Transparency International Nigeria.
The 2023 CPI is the first index under the Presidency of Bola Tinubu.
This represents a rise five places above its previous ranking in the 2022 CPI, where Nigeria placed 150 out of 180 countries, and scored 24 of 100 points.
The CPI score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0 (representing highly corrupt), to 100 (representing least corrupt perception).
Nigeria had its lowest CPI score in 1996, scoring 6.90, and its highest ever being 28 in 2016, in the first year of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
Speaking during the official launch of the CPI in Abuja, yesterday, the Executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, Ibrahim Musa Rafsanjani, said the scores showed that Nigeria still had a lot of work to do at the national and regional levels, noting that the country’s score is below the Sub-Saharan African average of 33 points.
“The index reveals that Nigeria scored 25 out of 100 points in the 2023 Corruption Perception Index, compared to 24 points in the year 2022 CPI, while Nigeria ranks 145 out of 180 countries, compared to 150 on 2022 CPI results. Nigeria’s score is low the sub-Saharan African average of 33 points. Most African countries show stagnation, ninety per cent of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa scored under 50.
“This shows that it is a problem that we have both in the country and at the regional level and that we have to wake up to ensure that we do everything possible to defeat corruption and corrupt practices. You can see many reasons why these are happening, political corruption is on the increase, and when you loot the nation, and you are rewarded with the appointment, you will continue to do business as usual. So, at both national and regional levels, we have a lot of work to do to create a conducive atmosphere where development can thrive, and where democracy and electoral transparency can happen”, he said.
Highlighting the weaknesses and the reasons why Nigeria’s position had scarcely changed, the Country Director of Accountability Lab Nigeria, Friday Odeh, noted judicial and electoral corruption, as well as corruption in the security sector, as some of the key weaknesses that the country needed to improve on.
“First, we have electoral corruption, which I think most of us are aware of. It is no longer news that the 2023 election dashed the hope of Nigerians, most especially those of the young population who were excited to come out to vote in 2023.
“But now we are not sure what will happen in the next elections. Still referencing the 2023 elections, the Nigerian Judiciary was expected to display independence and dispatch justice transparently, as well as in equity and fairness. However, different conflicting rulings by the different courts, have questioned the independence and integrity of the judiciary as an institution.
“The third weakness is the corruption in the security sector. The defence and security sector has accounted for 13.4% of the national budget. Over the years security budget has been the highest, if not the last three years across the years, which is about twice the sum of the next two sectors, talking about education which is 8.2% and infrastructure which is 5.7%.
“The primary aim of the government is to protect the life and property of citizens, we no longer know if that is the priority. Continuous corruption and wasteful expenditure in the security sector are likely to determine the success or failure of the development objectives of this new administration”, he stated.
The Index was aggregated from eight different sources including the Bertelsmann Foundation Transformation Index, Economist Intelligence Unit Country Ratings, Global Insights Country Risk Ratings, PRS International Country Risk Guide, Varieties of Democracy Project, World Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessment, World Economic Forum Executive Opinion Survey as well as World Justice Project Rule of Law Index.
Customs Suspends Rice Sale As Seven Die In Stampede
The Nigeria Customs Service has announced the suspension of the sale of foodstuffs following a stampede that reportedly killed seven persons at the NCS Old Zonal Headquarters in the Yaba area of Lagos State, last Friday.
A Chief Superintendent of Customs and National Public Relations Officer for Comptroller General of Customs, Abdullahi Maiwada, disclosed the suspension of the exercise in a statement on Monday.
Nigeria Customs had said it was selling seized food items at N10,000 per 25kg to alleviate the people’s suffering as a result of the current high cost of living and other economic hardships.
Last Friday, a pregnant woman and six others reportedly died in a stampede after some suspected hoodlums attempted to force their way into the Yaba Customs office compound.
Some Lagos residents who thronged the NCS office in Yaba expressed disappointment on Monday following the suspension of the initiative.
However, in a statement on Monday evening, the NCS said the suspension became necessary considering “the recent unfortunate event.”
“We regrettably announce the suspension of this exercise until we establish what transpired on Friday, February 23, 2024,” the NCS spokesman said.
He explained that: “The disposal of the food items got off to a smooth start at about 0800hrs. We enjoyed the cooperation of the large crowd that obliged us, giving preferences to the elderly, people living with disabilities, pregnant women, and other vulnerable Nigerians who showed up for the exercise.
“This was the case up until about 1700hrs, as attested to by the over 5,000 beneficiaries and members of the press. However, unforeseen challenges arose when we ran out of stock and announced the continuation of the exercise the following day, leading to a regrettable outcome.
“The crowd became desperate and charged through our barricades in search of rice bags inside emptied containers. In the stampede that ensued, some fatalities and injuries were regrettably recorded.”
The Customs extended its “heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives during the unfortunate incident.”
The service said it was working with health authorities to establish contact and engage directly with the victims’ families on their next steps.
Court Dismisses Police Objection Against Fubara’s CoS …Restrains Police From Arresting Ehie
A Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt, yesterday, dismissed the preliminary objection by counsel to the Nigerian Police, Celestine Dickson, challenging the jurisdiction of the Court to hear the fundamental rights suit by the Chief of Staff to Governor Siminalayi Fubara, Hon. Edison Ehie against the police for lack of merit.
The trial Judge, Justice Sika Aprioku, in a ruling, yesterday, assumed jurisdiction and held that the non-joinder of the Nigeria Police Force in a matter that the Commissioner of Police is a party to does not render the suit incompetent.
Justice Aprioku said the application by the Police lacks merit and thereby dismissed it with a cost of N100,000 in favour of Hon Edison Ehie.
Aprioku also granted the prayers of the counsel to Edison, Damian Okoro to restrain the Police from arresting, detaining, harassing, or inviting Ehie based on the trumped-up charges in the suit by Rt Hon. Martin Amaewhule in connection to the destruction of the Hallow chamber of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
Speaking to newsmen outside the courtroom, counsel to the Police, Celestine Dickson, said he would study the judgment and advise his clients accordingly.
Dickson stated, “That is the wisdom of the court and we cannot criticise the wisdom of the court. The outcome of court decisions must bind parties.
“If you are not satisfied I think you study the judgement and take the next step. The court made it clear that in a couple of minutes, we were going to have copies of the judgement. That will give us the opportunity to look at the judgement and advise our clients accordingly.
On his part, one of the counsel to the Chief of Staff, Ibioku Mac-Barango said the judgment reflects the position of the law.
Fubara Expresses Confidence In Tinubu To Address Labour Concerns
In the midst of the ongoing nationwide protest organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has expressed confidence in President Bola Tinubu’s ability to address the concerns raised by the organised labour and alleviate their fears.
Fubara gave the assurance during the NLC’s protest to the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday .
The State NLC, led by its chairman, Alex Agwanwor, had joined its counterparts in other parts of the country to protest against high cost of living in the country occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government in May last year.
Recall that there have been a series of protests across the country over the cost of living, inflation, insecurity and hardship among Nigerians.
The NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had on February 8 issued a 14-day nationwide strike notice to the Federal Government over the failure to implement the agreements reached on October 2, 2023 following the removal of the fuel subsidy.
Responding to a letter of demands presented to the governor by the State NLC, Fubara noted that the grievances outlined by the protesters primarily fell within the purview of the Federal Government.
The governor, who was represented by the Head of the Rivers State Civil Service, Dr. George Nwaeke, said, “To all who listened to every presentation of the labour leader as it is being read out, we can find out none is local, not originating from local source here. They are all national issues and we have hope in the Renewed Hope Agenda of the Federal Government. We have hope. And I know Governor Fubara will also deliver this message as presented by you to the President.”
Fubara further assured the protesters that his administration remained committed to alleviating the economic hardships faced by the people of Rivers State.
He highlighted initiatives such as the provision of palliative buses in response to the fuel subsidy removal and the ongoing development of 20,000 housing units for low-income earners.
The governor also emphasized his administration’s dedication to improving the welfare of civil servants, citing measures such as the employment of 10,000 youths into the state civil service, promotions, and the provision of bonuses.
He affirmed the significance of the issues raised and reiterated his commitment to prioritizing the welfare of workers in the State.
He, however, assured that the NLC’s demands would be conveyed to the President as presented.
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