- Political and economic corruption has been responsible for derailing Nigeria's development and growth, said African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), the continent's self-monitoring mechanism established by the African Union.
Having conducted a month-long assessment visited to Nigeria in March, a team of APRM experts issued the damning 380-page report to the Nigerian government this week. Among other issues, the report touches on democracy, political and economic governance and management.
"There is virtual agreement among observers that corruption - political and economic - primarily explains poverty in Nigeria," the report said, concurring that the menace "has held back economic growth and development and frustrated incentives to align budgetary allocations with development priorities."
The report also admitted the revelations of the former World Bank President, Paul Wolfowitz, that the West African economic giant has lost US $300 billion to corruption in the last four decades.
Nigerian authorities have been urged to eradicate endemic and entrenched corruption if they want to meet the target of being one of the top 20 economies in the world by the year 2020.
Nigeria lies at the bottom of Transparency International's most corrupt nations in 2007, ranking 148 out of the 180 world nations. Both the outgoing and current administrations expressed commitment to stamp out official corruption in the country.
APRM experts were also concerned about Nigeria's failure to plough back its oil and gas wealth into socio-economic development. Nigeria records below the sub-Saharan average on socio-economic indicators.
Despite being the eight largest oil producer in the world, Nigeria has the world's third largest poor people.
President Umaru Yar'Adua's Special Adviser on the New Partnership for African Development said the report was an unbiased external evaluation of the country's governance status.
Tunji Olagunju said the report represented an unbiased external evaluation of governance in the country.
"There is virtual agreement among observers that corruption- political and economic - primarily explains poverty in Nigeria," Dr. Tunji Olagunju said.
"Corruption is responsible in large measure for broken promises, the dashed hopes and shallow dreams that have characterised the lives of most Nigerians in the past few decades," he said, adding that Nigeria was unlikely to meet the Millennium Development Goals.
"Nigeria has been unable to manage rapid and uncontrolled urbanisation, or providing effective intra and inter-urban transportation."
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