Transparency International says Nigeria, under President Goodluck Jonathan, remains highly corrupt.
Nigeria remained rooted to the bottom of the global corruption ranking Wednesday as global corruption watchdog, Transparency  International, rated it the 35th most corrupt country in the world.

In a report released at 6 a.m. Wednesday,  Nigeria scored 27 out of a maximum 100 marks to clinch the 139th position out of the 176 countries surveyed for the report. It shared that position with Azerbaijan, Kenya, Nepal and Pakistan. Countries such as Togo, Mali, Niger and Benin fared better than Nigeria.

Nigeria placed 143rd in the 2011 ranking, making it the 37th most corrupt country. It is difficult to say Nigeria has improved in the ranking this year because 182, six more than this year’s, were ranked in 2011.

This year’s index ranks 176 countries/territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, TI explained in the report.

The index draws on 13 surveys covering expert assessments and surveys of businesspeople.

The Corruption Perceptions Index is the leading indicator of public sector corruption, offering a yearly snapshot of the relative degree of the corruption problem by ranking countries from all over the globe.

Nigeria’s woeful performance in this year’s survey is not entirely surprising.

Since assuming office in 2010, President Jonathan has not shown vigour in the fight against corruption – including corruption involving past and current actors in his administration.

The tipping point in the president’s profile, regarding reluctance in promoting transparency, came when, in televised media chat in June, he scoffed at a question on why he had not publicly declared his asset. On live television, the president snapped “I don’t give a damn!”
The petroleum minister, Diezani Madueke, a close ally of the president, has heaps of established corruption allegations against her, but none has been investigated by Mr. Jonathan’s administration; while she still remains in office as one of the favorite ministers.

In August 2011, President Goodluck Jonathan secretly ordered the payment of $155 million to Malabu oil, a firm owned by an ex-convict and former petroleum minister, Dan Etete. Not only was the payment done without the knowledge of the Finance Minister, as revealed by PREMIUM TIMES, Malabu transferred the money into dubious accounts including that owned by a man with links to Mr. Jonathan. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives have agreed to investigate the Malabu scandal.

Ranging from the monumental fuel subsidy scam to the massive corruption uncovered in pension administration to the scams at the Security and Exchange Commission and the Bureau of Public Enterprises, Nigeria stinks with graft. Government officials, including some of Mr. Jonathan’s favourite appointees have been named in the brazen theft of public funds.

Two members of the President’s cabinet, Godsday Orubebe and Stella Oduah, illegally registered an NGO, Neighbour to Neighbour, on whose board they sit, and which they then used in campaigning for the President’s election; in contravention of CAC registration guidelines and the CAMA Act. The presidency has kept mum on this.

There have been several cases of visitors to the Presidential Villa offered huge sums of money after their visits. The Save Nigeria Group was offered $30 thousand, and the Northern elders N20 million; both groups rejected the cash gifts given to them by the presidency.

There are also piles of corruption cases involving government officials, politicians and ‘friends of the government’ that have been lingering for years while perpetrators roam free.

Yet, in his Independence Day anniversary speech to Nigerians, President Jonathan claimed his administration had made substantial gains in the fight against corruption, saying TI had endorsed and praised his administration’s war against corruption.
Transparency International promptly replied, disowning Mr. Jonathan and saying it had no such report.

TI described this year’s report as an indication that “corruption is a major threat facing humanity. Corruption destroys lives and communities, and undermines countries and institutions. It generates popular anger that threatens to further destabilise societies and exacerbate violent conflicts.”

The organization added, “Corruption translates into human suffering, with poor families being extorted for bribes to see doctors or to get access to clean drinking water. It leads to failure in the delivery of basic services like education or healthcare. It derails the building of essential infrastructure, as corrupt leaders skim funds.

“Governments need to integrate anti-corruption actions into all aspects of decision-making. They must prioritise better rules on lobbying and political financing, make public spending and contracting more transparent, and make public bodies more accountable.”

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