Issues of graft in Nigeria exaggerated, says Jonathan
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has faulted the perception ratings on corruption in Nigeria, saying such belief was exaggerated and has political motives.
Speaking Monday night with Aljazeera, Jonathan said notwithstanding the country’s position in the global corruption perception index, the thinking that corruption has worsened under his leadership was erroneous.
Transparency International, in 2014, ranked Nigeria 136th out of 175 countries and territories. The country polled a score of 27.
Though better than the 25 and 144th rank polled in the previous year, the present ranking still placed Nigeria among the most corrupt countries, where it is dragging the trenches with Cameroun, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon and Russia.
The Thabo Mbeki High Level report on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa released recently said Nigeria accounted for about 68.1 per cent of the total revenue Africa lost between 2001 and 2010 through corruption and illegal transfers.
The President, however, said the perception ratings were a far cry from the reality and were misconstrued for political gains.
He noted: “Yes, people talk about corruption now, because it has become a political issue,” Jonathan said. “And when you promote something to the level of politics, normally it is blown out of proportion.”
“Yes, we have corruption cases, no doubt about that. Yes, we have cases of people stealing, no doubt about that. I always say call a thief a thief. I am not saying that in Nigeria we do not have these elements of corruption, or stealing,” he added.
Citing the controversial claims by the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Lamido Sanusi, now the Emir of Kano, that about $49.8 billion oil money was unremitted by state-owned national oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation,(NNPC) between 2011 and 2012, Jonathan said because of politics he was yet to know the true picture of things.
“If you start from my former CBN governor, who said initially that $49.8billion was missing. $49.8billion is a lot of money. What is the budget of this country for God’s sake? Our federal budget has been three point something trillion, that’s roughly on the average $18 to $20 billion a year.
“And you are saying we lost $49.8 billion. If we lose $49.8 billion, the federal and state governments will not pay salaries. I don’t know how he came by that figure.
“The next moment, he changed from $49.8billion to $12billion. The next day it was $20 billion. Up to this time, I don’t know which is the correct accusation,” he stressed.
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