Last month, during the presidential and parliamentary elections, corruption was one of the main topics at the forefront of political debate. Yet, despite promises to prioritise anti-corruption efforts nationally and across the African Union, Nigeria has yet to show serious results.
Democracy and corruption is a key theme in this year’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), where Nigeria scores 27 out of 100, well below the regional average of 32 in the Sub-Saharan Africa region.
Nigeria has neither significantly improved nor declined on the CPI in the past six years, with scores oscillating between a low of 25 in 2013 and a high of 28 in 2016. Unfortunately, this poor track record earned Nigeria a place as a ‘country to watch’ in the 2018 CPI, alongside Angola (19), Botswana (61), South Africa (43) and Kenya (27).
Current measures against money laundering crimes and tax evasion in Nigeria are not in line with international standards and can contribute to higher corruption rates. These crimes lead to a massive financial outflow, damaging the country’s economy and hurting the poorest in society.
According to a recent report by Global Financial Integrity, which measures how much illicit money flows in and out of countries, approximately US$8.3 billion left Nigeria between 2006 and 2015. At the same time, around half of Nigeria’s population live on less than US$2 dollars a day, making the country home to the highest number of people living in extreme poverty in the world.