Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja
ActionAid Nigeria, a social justice non-governmental organisation working to combat poverty and all forms of injustice in Nigeria has called on the Nigerian government to intensify its fight against corruption through stiffer punishment for looters and inclusion of citizens in the fight against corruption.
The Country Director of the anti-poverty organisation, Ene Obi in a statement made available to journalists in Lokoja at the weekend said: “While it appears that the Nigerian Government is doing so much in fighting corruption, the just released Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2019 has contradicted the assumption that we are excelling in the fight against corruption. We do agree that the CPI report annually is based on perception, however, perception also help to validate the gaps that exist in the ways government relates with its citizenry”
According to the statement, the report, which ActionAid Nigeria considers to be revealing, shows how Nigeria has retrogressively slipped down in the hierarchy of 180 countries measured.
In the last two years Nigeria has slipped from 148 in 2017, made a slight progress in 2018 and now slipped down by two position to 146 among 180 countries. Nigeria’s score has placed her between three top scorers and bottom scorers in sub-Sahara Africa”.
The country director further said that “the recommendations were valid as we have seen in recent times that the civic space is shrinking, Journalist are indiscriminately arrested and detained with frivolous charges; access to information is still very weak and social contract between government and citizens is still not effectively executed.”
Ene Obi, however, advocated that government at all levels should be more deliberate on citizen inclusion and engagements in the anti-corruption fight through sensitisation to mobilise a critical mass of citizens against corruption. This will eliminate the distrust and negative perceptions gaining momentum in citizens’ space.
She also said that there should be more support in strengthening institutions with credible visionary leadership with the capacity to mould both the narrative and direction of the anticorruption efforts in Nigeria.
There should be no political interference in execution of legislations and there should be clear-cut roles and responsibilities among relevant agencies in the fight against corruption.
Ene Obi advised that citizens should uphold values of honesty, integrity and transparency and should strongly take ownership of the fight against corruption in Nigeria.