The Kogi State Government on Saturday carpeted the recent report of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report which ranked the state as the most corrupt in the country.
It described the report as a “dubious attempt to blackmail and blacklist the state by those scared by her rising economic profile and opportunities”.
The director-general of media and publicity to the state governor, Kingsley Fanwo, said the bureau has lost the “little credibility left in it”.
He said the state government would soon come with facts to challenge the false report by the NBS.
“How can we be the most corrupt state when we have institutionalised strong mechanisms to check fraud in the system? It is unfortunate that the Bureau just looked through its office windows to cook the discredited report.
“In the last 47 months, we have strengthened our internal mechanisms to combat corruption in the system. We undertook a strenuous staff verification exercise to exorcise corruption from our civil service.
“The state government has since digitalised the civil service. We granted autonomy to the tax administrative board, changing the name from the Board of Internal Revenue to the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service. Today, the Service is led by one of the most respected hands in the industry, leading to opening new vistas for higher revenue as a result of managerial innovations and blockage of leakages in the system.
“Our accounting and auditing administration have been digitalised and made to be more effective, efficient and dynamic.
“Sitting in their offices at the Central Business District in the FCT to write fiction will not be accepted by the Kogi State Government. We are the most transparent state in the federation and deserves an award for that.
“We are not unaware of some sinister political moves to discredit the state by some individuals for certain reasons. However, it is our responsibility to defend the integrity of our system and our openness to investments. No amount of blackmail and falsehood can halt our march to economic prosperity.”
Fanwo questioned the indices leading to the conclusions, saying nobody came to ask questions from relevant authorities in the State.
“The Kogi State Government has consistently and religiously published its financial report every year. We have also published how every penny that accrued to the state either through bailout or Paris Refund was expended. NBS didn’t find out all these facts and transparency initiatives before publishing its controversial report.
“Like the budget, it is our hope that the NBS will be honourable enough to own up to its errors on the Corruption Index and tender unreserved apologies to the state,” he said.
He said if NBS fails to provide the parameters for the rating, the state government may have no choice than to seek legal redress to save the name of the state.