Editorial: Forget Cameron; Nigeria is not the most corrupt country

 As the anti corruption summit starts in London today, some political commentators have summarily dismissed the comments by British Prime Minister David Cameron that Nigeria is ‘fantastically corrupt’ as a ploy to divert attention from whether or not the UK should exit the EU.

Others hold that his remarks are undiplomatic.

We at continental radio Station believe that Mr. Cameron was being frank though he only managed to name Nigeria among other inherently corrupt regimes in the continent.

Main opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate Mohammadu Buhari speaks after casting his vote at a polling station in the "Gidan Niyam Sakin Yara A ward" at Daura in Katsina State on March 28, 2015. Voting began in Nigeria's general election but delays were reported countrywide because of technical problems in accrediting electors. AFP PHOTO/PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)
In a recent controversial comment,British PM, David Cameroon said Nigeria was ‘fantastically corrupt’.  Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari (pictured)  has openly acknowledged that Nigeria is ridden with corrupt practices and have pledged to clean up their acts.

 

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari have openly acknowledged that Nigeria is ridden with corrupt practices and have pledged to clean up their acts.

The worry is that Nigeria is not the most corrupt country in Africa according to the charity Transparency International (TI)

We would like to believe that Nigeria and Afghanistan jumped to the PM’s lips probably because Britain gives £237million a year in aid to Nigeria and £198million to Afghanistan.

The total aid spending on the two countries is 30 per cent up on when Mr. Cameron became the British Prime minister in 2010.

What we are insinuating here is that, there are countries in Africa which are more corrupt than Nigeria.

Take this: According to TI’s latest Perception Index, Somalia, Sudan, Angola and Libya are the most corrupt nations under the sun.

It is quite interesting that the media in the west jumped on Mr. Cameron’s back when even Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has openly acknowledged that Nigeria is ridden with corrupt practices and have pledged to clean up their acts.

Though Nigeria is not the most corrupt country in the world, its unenviable position on TI index is astonishing given that it is seen as a model of a thriving economy in Africa.

In a damning verdict, a study by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact found that ‘Petty corruption in Nigeria touches virtually every aspect of life and is accepted throughout society as normal and necessary.

The discovery of huge reserves of oil and natural gas in Nigeria, for example, has led to huge opportunities for corruption by public officials.

‘We heard stories of parents paying bribes to teachers in order to educate their children, students paying bribes to administrators to take exams, workers paying bribes to get jobs and to receive their salaries, and pensioners paying bribes to receive pensions’ the report concluded.

It is believed that up to 20 billion dollars have gone missing or misappropriated from the books of the state oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

The former government of President Goodluck Jonathan was involved in a series of scandals including kickbacks in the Ministry of Petroleum, and the stealing of millions of bank notes by the low-level officials at the country’s Central Bank.

It has been alleged that 2.2 billion dollars was illegally withdrawn from Excess Crude Oil, with half going towards the former Nigeria’s President re-election campaign.

Dependable surveys show that the Nigerian police is seen as the most corrupt institution in the country, with people having to pay bribes before officers will agree to help them.

Police officers are accused of turning a blind eye to or even colluding with criminals and insurgents in smuggling or kidnapping for ransom.

On a bigger picture, TI estimates that 75 millions of Africans paid a bribe in the past year.

Inherently corrupt regimes in Africa

A majority of Africans say corruption has risen in the continent in the past 12 months.

Many Africans, particularly the poor, are burdened by corruption when trying to get access to key basic services in their country.

Twenty two percent of people who have come into contact with a public service in the past 12 months paid a bribe according to TI’s research.

Of the six key public services sampled by the charity, people who come into contact with the courts and police are the most likely to have paid a bribe.

Across the continent, poor people who use public services are twice as likely as rich people to have paid a bribe, and in urban areas they are even more likely to pay bribes.

Unsurprisingly, most governments are seen as failing in their duty to stop the abuse of power, bribery and secret deals, according to a new opinion poll from Transparency International.

CPI
A latest survey by the German-based Transparency International clearly shows that Somalia and Sudan are the most corrupt countries in the world.

With a Corruption Perception Index of 08, Somalia stands out as the most corrupt country in the world.

The failed state has been besieged by Al-Qaeda-aligned Al-Shabab insurgents.

With a population of about 10 million inhabitants, Somalia is the most corrupt nation under the sun.

The second most corrupt country is Sudan with a Perception Index of 11. Corruption practiced by top government officials has inflicted devastating consequences on economic growth.

Africa is no stranger to corruption but it seems various attempts to eradicate the cankerworm is not making a headway, at least not for now and Africans must as well continue to live with it for an indeterminate time.

 

 

 

 

 

Ange Ngu Thomas

Author: Ange Ngu Thomas