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Nigeria’s corruption worsens, says Transparency International report

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  • Report inaccurate – Presidency

Nigeria is now the second most corrupt country in West Africa, behind Guinea-Bissau declared as the country with the worst corruption perception level in the region, the latest report of the Transparency International has indicated.

But the presidency said that the report was not an accurate portrayal of the facts on the ground.

The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2020 report published by Transparency International ranked Nigeria as the 149th position out of the 180 countries surveyed, having scored 25 out of 100 points.

In the 2019 report, Nigeria was ranked 146th out of the 180 countries surveyed, scoring 26 points out of 100 points.

The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) is an annual survey report published by Berlin-based Transparency International since 1995, which ranks countries by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys.

The CPI scales zero (0) to 100, zero means “Highly Corrupt,” while 100 stands for “Very Clean”.

Nigeria’s ranking on the corruption perception index has continued to drop in the last four years.

With the current ranking, Nigeria is two steps worse off than its position in 2018 when it scored 27 points to place 144th out of 180 countries.

Only 12 countries are perceived to be more corrupt than Nigeria in the whole of Africa.

The countries are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya, Equatorial Guinea, Sudan, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Chad, Eritrea, Burundi, Congo, Guinea Bissau and South Sudan.

Somalia and South Sudan remain the most corrupt nations on earth, according to the CPI 2020 ranking.

Denmark, New Zealand, Finland, Singapore, Germany, Sweden Switzerland, Norway, The Netherlands and Luxembourg are the least corrupt countries in the world.

But a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said that the report was not an accurate portrayal of the facts on the ground.

The Presidency also claimed that some persons at the Transparency International in Nigeria were against President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

Part of the statement read, “The Buhari administration deserves credit for diminishing corruption in the public service and will continue to vigorously support prevention, enforcement, public education and enlightenment activities of anti-corruption agencies.

“We are currently analyzing the sources of data used in arriving at the latest Transparency International (TI) report on Corruption Perceptions Index in Nigeria since by their own admission, they don’t gather their own data.

“This report is not an accurate portrayal of the facts on ground.”

Even as it noted that the Government’s Technical Unit on Governance Research (TUGAR) would be providing more detailed information on the sources of the TI data, it stated the examination carried out on their 2019 report showed that 60 per cent of their data was collected from businesses and other entities with issues bordering on transparency and the ease of doing business at the ports.

It also said, “Although this is a government ready to learn from mistakes and make corrections, the economy of this country, in its fullness, is bigger than the seaports we have. We are also not unaware of the characters behind the TI in Nigeria whose opposition to the Buhari administration is not hidden.

“We have repeatedly challenged the TI to provide indices and statistics of its own to justify its sensational and baseless rating on Nigeria and the fight against corruption. We expect them to come clean and desist from further rehashing of old tales.”

The Presidency noted that the naira-denominated review excluded the FG’s recoveries in dollars, pounds, euro showing that a sum of N1.2tn was recovered by the EFCC between 2009 and 2019; N939bn of that total recovered between 2015 and 2019 with less than N300bn recovered in the first six years.

It said, “Additionally, preventative instruments deployed by this administration such as Treasury Single Account (TSA), Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) coverage expansion and the removal of 54,000 ghost workers from federal civil service saving us N200bn annually serve as evidence that perception is not reality.

“Reality is based on verifiable facts and data. And any evidence-based analysis would prove that whether it is by prevention or punitive measures in recoveries and prosecution, this administration would be rising fast up these rankings rather than standing still.”

It also stated, “Organizations should be factual in their analysis and be prepared to rely on inputs outside of sensational media reports and age-old narratives which have not been updated to reflect today’s reality in Nigeria concerning its globally-respected war on corruption.

“In the existential fight against this multi-pronged malice and manifestations of corruption, President Muhammadu Buhari has avowed that he would take-no-prisoners, guided by respect for the rule of law.”

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EFCC grills ex-Kwara gov, Ahmed, over N9n fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has quizzed a former governor of Kwara State, Abdulfatah Ahmed, for allegedly diverting N9bn.
The former governor was grilled by an EFCC team of operatives from the commission’s headquarters at Jabi, Abuja.
Ahmed, on invitation of the anti-graft agency, was said to have arrived at the EFCC headquarters by 10am on Monday.
EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed that he was in their custody, but did not give further information on the development.
Ahmed had governed Kwara between 2011 and 2019.
Before then, he had served as commissioner for finance in the administration of Bukola Saraki, his predecessor.
Details of the allegations of fraud against him are still sketchy but TheCable understands the funds involved run into billions of naira.
This is the second time the former governor will be invited by the EFCC since he vacated office in 2019.
In December 2020, he was at the commission’s office after an invitation.

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Only 9% of miliraty budget spent on weapons – Gbajabiamila

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  • DHQ: Nigeria needs N826bn annually to fund armed forces

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, says only nine per cent of the total budget of the military is spent on weapons.
He stated this at a public hearing on the Armed Forces Support Trust Fund (Establishment) Bill, organised by the House Committee on Defence on Monday in Abuja.

This came as the Defence Headquarters said Nigeria would need $2bn (about N826bn) annually to fund its armed forces to effectively combat the daunting challenges of insecurity facing the country.
This disclosure also came on Monday just it was revealed that some members of the Armed Forces currently engaged in the fight against insurgency and other criminal act are lobbying to be redeployed from the area where they are posted as a result of poor welfare.

Gbajabiamila said that appropriation records showed that about 91 per cent of the current funding of the Armed Forces was spent on recurrent overhead, salaries and welfare.
“This bill seeks to provide an injection of additional capital funding for the Armed Forces of Nigeria at a crucial time in our nation.

“I am sure many of you will wonder why the Armed Forces of Nigeria need an additional financial injection at this time.
“The fact based on appropriation records is that about 91 per cent of the current funding to the Armed Forces go on recurrent overhead, salaries and welfare, leaving only nine per cent for capital purchases.
“This reality has prompted this 9th House of Representatives to seek a way of providing funds that will be focused on the capital needs and training of our Armed Forces,’’ he said.
Gbajabiamila said that the importance of the bill is evidenced by the dwindling resources available to the Armed Forces to prosecute the various security operations it is involved in.
Gbajabiamila said that Nigeria’s expenditure on military hardware and training in the last five years was between nine per cent and 11 per cent of the budgetary allocation to the military.
He said that it was incapable of empowering the military to face the security challenges in the country especially the insurgency in the North-East.
Gbajabiamila said that to succeed in the fight against insecurity, the military would need more funding for modern weapons and training.
He said, “Nigeria is at war against insurgency, terrorism, kidnapping and all manner of insecurity; hence the need to uplift the resources available to our armed services to enable them procure the best tools to help win this war.
“So, what we seek to do in this bill is not new or unique to us as a nation; the solution to our security challenges requires asymmetric actions across many policy areas. This is what we have tried to do as the representatives of the people.
“The concept of a trust fund already exists for the Nigerian Police; it only makes sense to also bolster our military capability as well through this unique vehicle.”
Chairman, House, House Committee on Defence, Rep. Benson Babajimi (APC-Lagos) said that the bill sought to explore alternative sources of funding for the military.

Meanwhile, Director of Production, Defence Headquarters, Air Vice Marshal M. A. Yakubu, who spoke at the public hearing said even the sources of funding specified in the bill would be inadequate to tackle the problem.
He said the projection for funding in the Bill is estimated at about N100bn per year.
When established, the Support Trust Fund is expected to draw funds from one per cent of the total money accruing to the federation account; 0.5 per cent of the profit made from the investment of the National Sovereign Wealth Fund (NSWF) by the Nigerian Sovereign Investment, one percent of Value Added Tax (VAT) remitted to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) as well as any take-off grant and special intervention fund as may be provided by the Federal Government, states and local governments of the Federation.
It will also draw funds from one percent of the air ticket contract, charter and cargo sales charge to be collected by the airlines and paid to the support fund; Aids, grant and all assistance from international agencies, nongovernmental organizations and the private sectors; and Money derived from investments made by the Support Fund.
But AVM Yakubu said this will still be inadequate, saying “I have been a defence attaché in the United States of America from 2014 to 2017. I have been a Director of Procurement at the headquarters of the Nigerian Airforce for another two years.
“I have been a chief of logistics also at the headquarters Nigerian Airforce for another two years. So I am fully conversant with what it takes to run the affairs of a fighting Airforce.
“I also understand the limitations we have in Nigeria and what it should have been. I want you to understand how large is this problem we are trying to address before I make my point.”

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Insecurity: FCTA demolishes taxi park shielding criminals

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In a bid to eliminate criminal activities in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory Administration has demolished a taxi park reportedly turned into a drug addict’s colony and a haven for many other criminal activities.

FCTA said the place, located at NICON Junction in Maitama District, was supposed to be an interchange by the Abuja Master Plan, but temporarily made a taxi park to mitigate the hardship of commuters.

Director, FCTA Security Services Department, Adamu Gwari, said the taxi park had not only turned into an environmental nuisance but also a security threat that could not be allowed.

Gwari, who led other officials on the demolition exercise, also noted that in view of the persistent insecurity across the country, the administration is prepared to deal with all potential dangers to the residents.

His words: “In line with the city programme, this place is a taxi rank. But it has been highly abused and turned into nuisances. That is why we have to remove everything. This place has become a security threat and it breeds criminality. There are series of concerns from the residents regarding the rate of criminality which emanates from this place.”

Chairman,  FCT Ministerial Committee on City Sanitation,  Ikharo Attah said the FCT Minister  Malam Muhammad Bello was worried that the government’s efforts towards alleviating residents’ transportation difficulties were scuttled by miscreants.

Attah explained that the ministerial directive to immediately demolish the taxi park was meant to promptly address brewing insecurity within the highbrow Maitama District, saying the park was abused.

According to him, a place provided by the government to ease residents’ movement, unfortunately, had turned into a hiding place for drug addicts.

He vowed that the contravention won’t be allowed to remain an environmental nuisance that breeds insecurity within the neighbourhood and the territory in general.

Attah said: “This place is supposed to be an interchange according to the plans, but temporarily turned to a taxi park to manage transportation problems, but the place was abused. The place was turned into a home for drug addicts and has become dangerous for the neighbourhood.

“The Minister was clear when he gave a matching order that this nuisance is removed. The taxi park has become a contravention that can’t be allowed.

“All the concerned departments will ensure that the nuisance does not reappear because this place is the heart of Maitama District. The Minister has ordered that we should green the place, to add to the aesthetic of the city.”

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