By Akanimo Sampson
A seeming nerve-breaking report by Transparency International which shows that the Police, the Legislature and the Judiciary are among the most corrupt institutions in Nigeria has rattled the federal lawmakers, forcing them to rise in self-defence.
Chairman of the Senate ad-hoc Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Adedayo Adeyeye, says the report of the global whistle-blowing body was based on perception, claiming that it did not represent the reality on the ground because no scientific investigation was carried out by the body before arriving at its conclusion.
According to the Senate spokesman, “The Transparency International report was merely the opinion expressed by some people out of all population of over 200 million citizens of this country. They did not use any scientific method neither did they carry out any forensic investigation.’’
While Senator Adeyeye pointed out that the 9th Senate was doing everything possible to change the negative perception of the people towards the parliament, the Green Chamber of the bicameral Legislature was busy brushing the allegations aside, claiming the group lacks details to prove the corruption claim.
A member of the House of Representatives ad hoc Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Bamidele Salam, claimed that the troubling report mentioned ‘parliament’ and not ‘National Assembly,’ stressing that state Houses of Assembly could also be referred to as ‘parliament.’
“We cannot take issue with TI, they are a respected organisation and they have their own methods and means of assessing institutions and organisations, some of which may not be very applicable to all systems. But I must say that wherever there are issues about corruption and transparency, they provide an opportunity for institutions to self-examine.
“So, if there are specifics that TI is bringing up – specific areas where they believe that there is no transparency or there are corrupt practices, then it will be easier for the parliament to look inwards and see what can be done to improve on its rating in that regard.
“In the absence of specifics, it will be difficult to just give a blanket judgment or comment about corruption. It is very easy to say that. And the specifics have to be measurable. They have to let us know what particular areas of the operations of the parliament have tendencies of corruption, so that we can then do internal assessment and if need be, cleanse it’’, the House of Reps spokesperson said.
In the publication of the 10th edition of the Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) – Africa, Transparency International said on Thursday that corruption in African countries was hindering economic, political and social development.
In Nigeria, the organisation partnered Practical Sampling International for the survey, sampling 1,600 people from April 26 to May 10, 2017. The data showed that the police topped the list of most corrupt institutions in the country at 69 per cent, followed by ‘Members of Parliament’ (60) and local government officials (55).
Others were government officials (54), judges and magistrates (51), business executives (44), presidency (43), non-governmental organisations (40), traditional leaders (35) and religious leaders (20).
The survey indicated that 47 per cent public service users had paid a bribe to the police in the previous 12 months, while 44 per cent had contributed to overall bribery rate in that period.
Others were IDs (38), utilities (34), public schools (32), public clinics and health centres (20).
Asked if the government was doing a good or bad job of fighting corruption, 59 per cent indicated ‘good’, 40 per cent said ‘bad’ and one per cent said ‘don’t know’ and on whether ordinary people could make a difference in the fight against corruption, 54 per cent said ‘yes’, 41 per cent said ‘no’, four per cent said ‘neither yes nor no’, and one per cent did not know or refused to answer.
The survey added that 43 per cent thought corruption increased in the previous 12 months.
The group said, “Corruption is a major barrier to economic growth, good governance and basic freedoms, such as freedom of speech or citizens’ right to hold governments to account. More than this, corruption affects the well-being of individuals, families and communities.
“The 10th edition of the Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) – Africa reveals that, while most people in Africa feel corruption increased in their country, a majority also feel optimistic that they, as citizens, can make a difference in the fight against corruption.
“The report also found more than one in four people who accessed public services, such as health care and education, paid a bribe in the previous year. This is equivalent to approximately 130 million citizens in the 35 countries surveyed.’’
The survey, according to the organization, is the largest, most detailed survey of citizens’ views on corruption and their direct experiences of bribery in Africa, incorporating the views of more than 47,000 citizens from 35 countries across Africa.