Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, has said the present administration has abolished grand corruption and is achieving a lot in the effort to reduce the prevalent administrative and low-value corruption in the country,
This is a reaction to the latest Transparency International’s (TI) report on Channels Television’s current affairs programme, “Sunrise Daily” where he stated that the administration’s fight against corruption is still very much focused.
TI had in the said report indicated that Nigeria had dropped two places in the new corruption rating.
“The focus by the administration on large-scale corruption has paid off as no one can today take 16 billion Dollars from the treasury to say he is providing power and in the end provides nothing,” Shehu maintained.
He further explained that Buhari’s government, through the various anti-corruption agencies, in line with the National Anti-Corruption Strategies 2017-2021, is now vigorously tackling “low value bribery through the reduction of bribe-seeking behaviours among public servants.”
Quoting a recent study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes, (UNODC), Shehu said it has shown that bribe-seeking is gradually reducing among policemen, Customs officials, licensing authorities and in the processes of granting approvals in government agencies.
He further more and more Nigerians now consider corruption unacceptable, particularly among the young people, compared to the past when corruption was considered as normative.
“Nigerian women in public service are found by the UN research to be the least likely to demand bribes”, he said adding “this may account for why President Buhari has maintained women as Finance Ministers for the years he has been in office”.
He said the recent directive by the President for the online digitisation of requests for waivers, approvals, and services, including payment for electricity in his New Year letter to Nigerians were aimed at “reducing person-to-person contacts with public officials, which would hopefully reduce the incidences of corruption.
“From January this year, all payments made from government agencies and department of N5M and above must be published online, following a government directive”, he said.
He argued that these are matters that should interest the TI, which he described as the “ground reality”, instead of relying on secondary data to put down the efforts that the Buhari administration is making.
“Nobody is saying there is no corruption in the country. The job of eliminating it is still work in progress. What we need is support and cooperation that would encourage our anti-corruption agencies to do more” he said.