Nigeria has been ranked 148th on the 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index of the Transparency International (TI), making it the 16th corrupt country alongside Guinea and Comoros.
In the report made available to National Wire on Wednesday, New Zealand, Denmark and Finland ranked first, second and third respectively as the least corrupt nations, scoring 89, 88 and 85 in that order out of 100.
The report also revealed that Somalia, South Sudan and Syria came first, second and third respectively as the most corrupt nations, scoring 9, 12 and 14 out of 100.
Africa’s largest economy scored 27 out of 100, dropping one point from its 2016 score and one point better than that of 2015.
“The worst performing regions are Sub-Saharan Africa (average score 32) and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (average score 34),” noted the report.
Senegal’s score remained at 45 as it was in 2016, while Cote d’Ivoire bettered its 2016 score of 34 as it improved to 36 in the current index, standing out as two African countries that “significantly improved” their index score, according to the report.
TI said further analysis of the result indicates that countries with “least protection for press and non-governmental organizations (NGO) also tend to have the worst rates of corruption,” as it noted that “at least one journalist is killed in a country that is highly corrupt.”
The organization, however, recommended that to curb corruption, governments and businesses must “do more to encourage free speech, independent media, political dissent and an open and engaged civil society.”
It also urged governments to minimize regulations on media, “including traditional and new media” and ensure that journalist can work without fear of repression or violence.
It is recalled that war against corruption is a major plank of the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari with many past government officials indicted for graft and cases in courts.
Also Minister of Defense, Mansur Dan Ali, recently directed that “relevant security agencies should as a matter of urgency tackle the propagation of hate speeches through the social media, particularly by some notable Nigerians,” over what he described as “worrisome trend of hate speech.”