The United States has described as “widespread and pervasive” the manifestation of corruption under President Muhammadu Buhari.
The U.S. in its 2020 annual report on human rights said Mr Buhari’s government has failed to take action to stem widespread looting using existing laws that criminalise theft in public service.
“Although the law provides criminal penalties for conviction of official corruption, the government did not consistently implement the law, and government employees frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity,” the U.S. report said. “Massive, widespread, and pervasive corruption affected all levels of government, including the judiciary and security services.”
The report also noted that the president, vice president, governors, and deputy governors have continued to enjoy the immunity clause in the Constitution that shields them from facing charges while in office.
President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office in 2015 on the back of a widely parroted claim of fighting corruption. He has, however, largely failed to live up to his promise to stem the menace, with criminal activities amongst his officials being regularly reported.
The president has also repeatedly looked away as his officials and political associates, including Tunde Fashola and Bola Tinubu, faced credible allegations of corruption.
The U.S. report also corroborated the findings of corruption watchdog Transparency International, which has consistently found that both Mr Buhari and his officials have been even more corrupt than previous governments they derided before coming to power.
The administration, however, pushed back against the claims of graft, with officials like information minister Lai Mohammed and presidential spokesman Garba Shehu attacking the conclusions of Transparency International and other NGOs as one-sided with insufficient parameters.
The U.S. report comes as Mr Buhari departed for London on another round of his medical treatments, leaving behind striking doctors at public health facilities across the country.