According to the global Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2009 by Transparency International (TI), a global anti-corruption watchdog, Nigeria takes 130th position out of the 180 countries.
The survey measures domestic public sector corruption in selected countries and is conducted by TI, which is based in Berlin, Germany. In terms of level of perceived corruption, Nigeria, which had moved up 27 places to rank 121 out of 180 countries in 2008, placed 10th out of the 16 West African countries. However, according to TI, no region of the world is immune to the perils of corruption, as the world economy begins to register a tentative recovery and some nations continue to wrestle with ongoing conflict and insecurity. The newly released Corruption Perceptions Index is different from the Global Corruption Report (GCR), which was released by last September. In the GCR report, Nigeria's banking sector was lambasted for its perceived corruption, which was described as partially responsible for the collapse of many banks in the 1990s and losses to many depositors and stakeholders, AllAfrica.com reports.
It was also reported, Nigeria's CPI index in the span of an eight year period dating back to 2001 did not improve until 2006 when it ranked 142nd out of 163 countries. Before then the country ranked second to last for four years consecutively with its lowest CPI ranking in 2001 at 1.0. The first three countries on this year's CPI index are New Zealand, Denmark and Singapore.
TI's representative in Nigeria Osita Nnamani Ogbu blamed the retrogression on the Federal Government having not demonstrated any political will to the fight against corruption.
Ogbu who is the Secretary General of Transparency in Nigeria (TIN) said the government was paying lip-service to the fight against corruption and there was a reign of impunity in Nigeria which the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) has called "the rule of law."
According to him some of the areas which the country under President Yar'adua has defaulted included the electoral system, judiciary, and poor implementation of anti-corruption laws, AllAfrica.com reports.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan occupies second place on the CPI after Somalia.
Afghanistan did so badly that it fell from only fifth worst to second to bottom.
This is not a new problem in a society once based on clan patronage. What is new is that it has become a political obstacle both for the Afghan government and for the countries whose soldiers are dying in its defence, most notably from the US and Britain. It has gathered pace after the corruption uncovered in the presidential election.
President Karzai has now set up his third anti-corruption unit. The first was disbanded when it was revealed that its head had been imprisoned on drugs charges in the US.
Not everyone is impressed. "Words are cheap. Deeds are required," remarked the US ambassador Karl Eikenberry, who has recommended to President Obama that no further US troops be sent until corruption is confronted, BBC News reports.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969