The Goodluck Jonathan administration has reacted to recent ratings by Transparency International that ranked Nigeria as 35th most corrupt country as well as a recent Gallup Poll that also put the country’s leadership as second most corrupt. According to Nigeria’s Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, both reports were products of interactions with Nigerians as well as negative media reports.
Mr. Maku made the claim while fielding questions yesterday from State House reporters at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Jonathan. Maku insisted that the corruption ratings were not a true reflection of what is going on in the country.
The minister noted that most of the rating institutions rely on Nigerians’ perceptions of the country as well as media accounts.
while accusing the rating agencies of failing to recognize the efforts of the Jonathan administration to combat corruption, he claimed that the government’s systematic and institutional approaches are gradually yielding results.
Mr. Maku cited what he described as the administration’s efforts to arrest fraud in the fuel subsidy management by prosecuting suspects. He also stated that the administration had initiated audits of ministries, departments and agencies in order to curb graft in the supply of fertilizers and seeds to farmers.
The Information Minister also accused Nigerians of hysterically mobilizing to oppose President Jonathan’s policy to curtail patronage in the oil and gas sector through deregulation. Then he asserted that the administration had continued to take decisive measures against defaulters in the fuel subsidy scam.
The Transparency International rating “is because of the bad reports we get from journalists like you.” Mr. Maku stated. Then he went further to add: “There are so many issues involved in dealing with corruption. When you are systematic and deliberate, the reform goes deeper.”
“The president does not sit in court to imprison people. There are institutions set up to do that.” He therefore called on journalists to follow up on institutional proceedings to get to the root of issues and to unearth omissions and commissions to enable the government to track and act on such.