Transparency International (TI) has decried the growing wave of grand corruption worldwide, lamenting that no fewer than six billion people are now affected by the menace.
Transparency International’s Chair, Delia Matilde Ferreira Rubio, disclosed this in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, while delivering a keynote address at the opening of an international experience-sharing workshop on best practices to address emerging issues organised by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC).
According to her; “our last Corruption Perception Index (CPI) states that 69 per cent of the 180 countries we have surveyed are under 50 in our scale. Our scale reads from 100, very transparent countries, how public sector is perceived in those countries, and zero, highly corrupt-perceived public sector. 69 percent of those countries are under 50.
“That means that more than six billion people live in context of highly corrupt governments and highly corrupt private sector. They are exposed to corruption everyday because corruption has to do with everyday lives of citizens.
“That is what is at stake here. They are facing corruption when they go to ask for a place in schools or when they go to the hospitals. They are also the victims of corruption in cases of grand corruption.”
She said it was disheartening that “in many countries, corruption has been normalised as the ordinary way of doing business and misbehaving.”
“We have to fight that. We cannot accept that it is the normal way of doing business from the petty corruption to grand corruption. We have to stop discretionary powers. We must stop comparing corrupt administrations
“Corruption can happen in any country. It has nothing to do with our countries being in the south or being developing countries or being poor.
“The difference between countries in our Corruption Perception Index has to do with the reaction. The reaction against corruption, not only from the institutions saddled with fighting corruption but the reaction of society,” she said.
Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Musa, urged the National Assembly “to also make their budget open to the public as well to comply with the laws passed by the institution such as Freedom of Information Act 2011, Public Procurement Act 2007.
“We also use this medium to call on NASS to ensure quick passage of subsequent budgets by not allowing personal or party interests to override the national interest.”
While lauding the Federal Government for its “Open Government Partnership,” Musa said Nigerians would be greatly interested ” in seeing the beneficial ownership operationalised and the FOI being complied with”.
Former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, and the Board Chairman of CISLAC, Ibrahim Ya’u, noted that corruption is a key factor in Nigeria’s underdevelopment, calling on all stakeholders to work in synergy to reduce the menace.