The Federal Government says it will not be distracted by the “baseless” rating of the Transparency International, which ranked Nigeria low in its latest international Corruption Perception index.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, gave the government’s position on Wednesday in London when he featured in interview sessions with some international media organisations.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports the minister had so far engaged with international media outfits, including Reuters News Agency, BBC, Financial Times and The Guardian, since he arrived in London on Monday.
Reacting to the TI rating, the minister said the position by the organisation that Nigeria is doing worse in fighting corruption is incorrect and the government is unhappy about the development.
He said: “In any event, we are not fighting corruption because we want to impress any organisation.
“We are fighting corruption because we believe that without fighting the menace, the much sought development will not happen and we have results to show for fighting corruption.
“We have put in place policies and legislations that have tamed the monster called corruption.
“For instance, apart from the TSA, which has saved us billions of Naira, we put in place transparency portal, which enables every Nigerian to see how much is being spent by government every day.
“Under the transparency portal regulation, any expenditure above N5 billion must be reported and that gives every Nigerian the opportunity to know exactly what is going on.
“We will continue to fight corruption and we know that are winning the war.”
The minister stressed that for the first time in the history of the country, high profile people have been convicted of corruption charges.
Mohammed said: “For those who say that the anti-corruption fight is selective, how do you say that when serving senators and past governors who were members of the ruling party are now serving jail terms?”
Mohammed recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 won election based on his promise to fight corruption and he was re-elected overwhelmingly in 2019 because of his achievements in that regard among others.
He, therefore, called on Nigerians to continue to support and encourage the government in the fight against corruption and disregard the baseless rating of the TI.
NAN reports that in the latest TI rating, Nigeria was ranked 146 out of the 180 countries that were surveyed worldwide.
By the rating, Nigeria slipped from 144th to 146th position in the corruption perception index, falling by 26 points, a minus of one when compared to its score in 2018.