Press highlights Transparency International’s damning verdict on Nigeria’s anti-corruption war, others

APA – Lagos (Nigeria)

The Transparency International’s damning verdict on Nigeria’s anti-corruption war, ranking the country 149th on its yearly Corruption Perception Index dominates the headlines of Nigerian newspapers on Friday.

The Guardian reports that Transparency International (TI) has, again, passed a damning verdict on Nigeria’s anti-corruption war, ranking the country 149th on its yearly Corruption Perception Index (CPI) after it picked 25 points, the worst since 2013.

With the rating, Nigeria dropped three points from its last (2019) ranking when it sat 146th on the table. The 2020’s index was co-led by New Zealand and Denmark after they polled 88 points individually. They were followed by Finland, Switzerland and Singapore (a country that emerged from a stinky official corruption history under the late Lee Kuan Yew) in that order.

In the latest assessment, Nigeria picked the same point with Cameroon, Mozambique, Madagascar and Tajikistan for the 149th position out of 179 countries surveyed.

Nigeria ranks ahead of Somalia, which sits at the bottom, South Sudan, Sudan, Congo, Chad, Burundi, Guinea Bissau and a few other African countries. It, however, falls short of its peers such as Angola, Egypt, Algeria, Kenya and many others.

Stakeholders have described the latest rating as an open testimony of President Muhammadu Buhari’s inability to tame corruption in fulfillment of his electioneering promises about six year ago.

The Punch says that the Nigerian Government is expecting the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill by the National Assembly in March or April, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, said on Thursday.

Sylva said this on the side-lines of the groundbreaking and foundation laying ceremony of the headquarters building of the Department of Petroleum Resources in Abuja.

He said, “Of course, the PIB, which has defied passage or assent for the past 20 years, is now before the National Assembly. It is at the committee stage in both houses and they asked us to attend the public hearings.

“On Monday, we were at the Senate, while yesterday (Wednesday) and today we were at the House of Representatives and the sessions were very successful.”

He added, “We hope that the bill will be passed as promised by the Senate between March and April this year. “The House of Representatives also made similar commitment. So it is our hope that the PIB will be passed by March or April this year.”

The newspaper reports that the Nigerian Government is repositioning the Nigerian Commodities Exchange into a commercially viable platform for delivering efficient pricing of Nigeria’s agric produce, among others.

The government has also stopped the current plan to privatise the NCX, given the unfortunate arbitrage opportunities which it noticed in the private sector arrangement, which had become an obstacle in moderating food prices in Nigeria.

The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, said this during the inaugural meeting of the steering committee for the repositioning of the NCX on Thursday.

In a statement from the CBN, Emefiele said the Federal Government along with the CBN had implemented several intervention schemes in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors, aimed at boosting employment generation and wealth creation, reducing dependence on imported food items, conserving foreign exchange earnings, and spurring economic growth.

Notwithstanding the gains that had been achieved, he said, there were still significant challenges within the Nigerian agricultural commodities value chain that would need to be addressed, in order to accelerate investment and productivity in the sector.

Speaking on the restructuring approved by the Federal Government, Emefiele said, “That CBN, as majority shareholder of NCX, should collaborate with Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority and Africa Finance Corporation, under the Infraco Structure, to develop and implement a strategic repositioning plan for the NCX to make the NCX an efficient world class Commodity exchange.

The Nation says that the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Chief Niyi Adebayo, on Thursday expressed Federal Government’s readiness to partner with private investors in sugar production in the country.

He said this was aimed at accelerating the nation’s economic growth. Adebayo said this at the official commissioning of multi-billion naira Nigeria Sugar Institute located in Jimba-Oja town in Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara State.

He said that investment already made by the Federal Government and the private sector in sugar industry is capable of creating over thousands of jobs in agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

“The government, therefore, recognises the need to deepen the partnership with the private sector to drive access to skills development, research and development in a manner that promotes competition, productivity, profitability and sustainability in the sugar industry,” Adebayo said.

ThisDay reports that Nigeria has lost the West African air market to Ghana as today no Nigerian airline is operating to destinations such as Accra, Abidjan, Dakar, Freetown, Monrovia and the Gambia.

Industry operatives told THISDAY that the aforementioned routes used to be lucrative for Nigerian airlines, where they generate dollar revenue and were known as low hanging fruits. Since international flights started on September 5, last year, no Nigerian airline has been operating to any of the aforementioned routes, which are currently dominated by Ghana-based African World Airlines (AWA), Asky, Air Senegal and others.

Along with the loss of these air travel market are also businesses that were dominated by Nigerians but today, with the influx of Chinese into retail trade in the West Coast and the entrance of South African investors, Nigeria has lost huge market in the sub-region.

Travel expert and organiser of Akwaaba African Travel Market, Ikechi Uko, attributed the development to the dwindling of Nigeria’s economy and the loss in the value of the naira. The travel expert noted that Nigeria started losing its grip in the economic dominance of West and Central Africa from 2016, when the nation’s economy began to nosedive.

The Vanguard says that a Civil Society Organisation, Concerned Nigerians (CN) on Thursday, called on the International Criminal Court, ICC, to investigate, arrest and prosecute former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai (Rtd), over alleged human rights abuses while serving in the Nigerian military as Chief of Army Staff.

This was contained in a letter signed by the Convener, Comrade Deji Adeyanju, with the subject, ‘A Call for the Investigation and Arrest of Tukur Buratai’ and addressed to Chief Prosecutor, Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court, The Hague, The Netherlands, Mrs. Fatou Bensouda, which President Muhammadu Buhari was copied.

The group alleged that in 2015, Gen Buratai ordered members of the Nigerian army to kill over 300 defenseless Nigerian Shiite Muslims; ordered the Nigerian soldiers to kill hundreds of Nigerian citizens of South-Eastern extraction, in the guise of searching for members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB); and personally ordered the killing of the innocent protesters at Lekki toll gate, Lagos, on October 20, 2020.

“We write to call on the International Criminal Court and all lovers of democracy and human rights in the world to immediately investigate, arrest and prosecute Lieutenant General Buratai (Rtd) who was just relieved of his duty as Chief of Army Staff for crimes against humanity and the Nigerian people,” the group said.


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