Nigeria has moved up four places from 148th to 144th position in the 2018 corruption perception index (CPI) compiled by Transparency International.

According to Transparency International, the 2018 CPI ranking draws on 13 surveys and expert assessments to measure public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories, giving each a score from zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). 

Despite Nigeria's upward movement in the new ranking, the country's CPI score did not improve from the 27 points that it scored in the 2017 ranking, making it drop from 136th position.

While Côte d'Ivoire and Senegal were identified as significant improvers in the new CPI ranking, Nigeria was listed as a country to watch alongside Angola, Botswana, South Africa and Kenya.

President Muhammadu Buhari's anti-corruption fight has been plagued by allegations of unfairness [Twitter/@BashirAhmaad]

TI's report noted that despite President Muhammadu Buhari's positive steps to combat corruption, they have not yielded desired results.

The report read, "Nigeria's Buhari administration took a number of positive steps in the past three years, including the establishment of a presidential advisory committee against corruption, the improvement of the anti-corruption legal and policy framework in areas like public procurement and asset declaration, and the development of a national anti-corruption strategy, among others.

"However, these efforts have clearly not yielded the desired results. At least, not yet."

President Buhari's anti-corruption fight has been plagued with allegations that he's being partisan and shielding his close associates from the law while aggressively targeting people in the opposition.

With the 76-year-old seeking re-election in the February 16, 2019 presidential election, he has ramped up on his promise to jail looters and ensure they return stolen loots to the nation's treasury.

Denmark tops 2018 CPI ranking

The top countries in the 2018 CPI ranking are Denmark and New Zealand with scores of 88 and 87, respectively while the bottom countries are Somalia, Syria and South Sudan with scores of 10, 13 and 13, respectively. 

TI's managing director, Patricia Moreira, warned in a statement that the 2018 index reveals that the continued failure of most countries to significantly control corruption is contributing to a crisis in democracy around the world.

The report noted that countries with higher rates of corruption also have weaker democratic institutions and political rights.

To curb corruption, Transparency International urged governments to strengthen the institutions responsible for maintaining checks and balances over political power, and ensure their ability to operate without intimidation; close the implementation gap between anti-corruption legislation, practice and enforcement; support civil society organisations which enhance political engagement and public oversight over government spending, particularly at the local level; and support a free and independent media, and ensure the safety of journalists and their ability to work without intimidation or harassment.