The Transparency International (TI) has said that despite moving four steps in the global corruption index, Nigeria remain among the worst corrupt countries due to over bloated contract costs, abuse of security votes and selective anti-corruption prosecution, among other.
The body in its 2018 corruption perception index released on Tuesday in Abuja, ranked Nigeria as 144th most corrupt nations globally.
The latest statistics, released through the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), its intermediary in Nigeria, posited that Nigeria scored 27 out of 100 points in the 2018 CPI, maintaining the same score as in the 2017 CPI.
The Executive Director, CISLAC, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, while presenting the report also urged the Federal Government to strengthen anti-graft agencies and provide protection for whistle blowers to intensify the anti-corruption efforts.
In the country comparison, Nigeria ranks 144 out of 180 countries polled for the year 2018 as opposed to 148 out of 180 countries in the 2017 CPI, the group said.
He said the ranking shows Nigeria moving up four places, this only indicated that four other countries only scored worse in 2018, while Nigeria stagnated, hence still perceived as highly corrupt nation.
Rafsanjani also faulted the Whistle-blower policy of the federal government which does not guarantee immunity for persons with privileged information, apart from failure to inaugurate the National Procurement Council (NPC) as provided in the Public Procurement Act.
The report attributed the high corruption index in Nigeria to secrecy in allocation of licenses to owners of oil and gas firms, including construction and contracting companies.
It accused the government of feigning ignorance to money-laundering crimes and tax evasions, most of which should have been stringently investigated and prosecuted by competent agencies in line with financial action task force standards.
“Despite some indisputable evidence, many corrupt politicians and businessmen and women seem to be above the law and out of reach of law enforcement.
“Recent corruption scandals, including the GandujeGate, ShemaGate, DasukiGate, IkoyiGate, among others, have not seen diligent investigations, prosecutions and convictions of these cases and other Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs),” he added.
He noted that despite corruption in procurement being responsible for about 70 percent of the aggregated corruption in the public administration, the NPC has still not been inaugurated.
He lamented that the confirmation of 60 nominees for leadership positions across various institutions vital to fighting corruption continued to suffer delay, thus continued to undermine governance and complicate the fight against corruption.
He said that frivolous and fraudulent tax wavers to multinational and Nigerian companies, especially in high net revenue sectors such as oil and gas, communication and construction must be stopped.