The Transparency International (TI) has warned that the poverty level in Nigeria is expected to rise due to the failure to curd rising corruption and non-compliance with statutory laws mostly by the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government.
The Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), and Transparency International in Nigeria (TI-Nigeria), Mallam Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, gave the warning on Tuesday in Abuja at the formal launch of the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2021.
Citing the Auditor General’s revelation that N49bn was spent by nine MDAs without appropriation by the National Assembly, the CISLAC-TI said that this is in gross violation of section 80 (4) of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended).
He urged the Federal Government to act on the weaknesses in the system to tackle systemic corruption and salvage Nigeria’s deteriorating image on anti-corruption and also for the sake of the nation’s economy and well-being of ordinary Nigerians.
“The “Non-Compliance/Internal Control Weaknesses Issues in MDAs report for 2019 published by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation in November 2021, have left Nigerians in awe. The level of financial recklessness, abuse of budgetary processes, and failure of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in following the due process of appropriation is disturbing.
“For example, The Auditor General revealed that the sum of N49bn was spent by nine MDAs
without appropriation by the National Assembly. This is in gross violation of section 80 (4) of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended).
“Recent revelations made on the 17th January 2022 by BudgIT on the duplication of projects in the 2022 budget do less to palliate the pandemic corruption currently experienced despite a rising unemployment rate of 33percent,” Rafsanjani said.
The CPI report which also ranked Nigeria 154 of 180 countries sampled methodically, showed that the Nigeria dropped five places downward compared to the 2020 CPI results where it was 149.
The report showed that Nigeria scored 24 out of 100 points in the 2021 CPI, falling back one point compared to the 2020 CPI.
The report noted that corruption in Nigeria has greatly contributed to the nation’s underdevelopment.
“In the Corruption Perceptions Index 2021, Nigeria ranks 154 out of 180 countries and territories, falling back five places from the rank of 149 in 2020,” he said.
The TI report noted that despite successive governments claiming to fight corruption, job opportunities, driving license acquisition, passport applications among others, were still frost with corrupt tendencies, especially as officials in charge of these basic services expect some form of kickbacks while rendering such duties.
It said that corruption was responsible for rising insecurity, high unemployment rate and systemic failure in healthcare delivery and leadership dysfunctions.
He said, “This shows that corruption is still a major challenge in our country, hindering development. It has upturned our value system negatively. It has affected good governance in this country; that is why we are concerned as Nigerians.
“The report is not an assessment of the federal government’s anti – corruption fight but a perception of corruption in public sector. Everything that has to do with our public sector is embedded in corruption. We all have a responsibility to ensure that corruption is tackled in a manner that doesn’t destroy this country for all of us.”
The report also urged the relevant anti-graft agencies to investigate allegations of corruption by Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs).
It urged the National Assembly to speed up deliberations and passage of relevant anti-corruption related laws or amendments to strengthen anti-corruption efforts in the interest of Nigerians.
The report urged President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to these laws once they are passed while taking into consideration the best interest of the country and its citizens.