Prioritise Safety and Security of Whistle-blowers – Stakeholders Task FG

…FG’s Delay in Appointing Boards Of MDGs is Hampering Fight Against Corruption

By Chibuike Nwabuko

Abuja (Sundiata Post) – National Summit on Whistleblowing has ended in Abuja with the stakeholders calling on Federal Government to as a matter of urgency, prioritise safety and security of whistle-blowers.

The summit was organized by the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) in collaboration with the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ).

Also, the stakeholders noted that the delay on the part of the Federal Government in constituting the Boards of Parastatals and MDAs, including those of some anticorruption agencies, in the past two years, is hampering the fight against corruption.”

African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) disclosed this on Friday in a statement signed by its cordinator, Chido Onumah made available to Sundiata Post.

The Stakeholders, while urging the government to expedite action in paying whistle-blowers what is due to them, to enhance the credibility of the system; also demanded for the setting up of an independent governance structure to manage the whistleblowing initiative and take charge of recoveries made through the initiative, to ensure accountability.

The summit also lamented lack of coordination in the fight against corruption among the various anti-corruption and security agencies in the country, calling on the government to ensure that the agencies close their ranks.

The statement reads in part:

“While the whistle-blower policy is a viable anticorruption tool capable of enhancing citizens’ involvement and revamping anticorruption efforts in Nigeria, little has been done to legalize and provide protection for Nigerians willing to give tips on sharp practices in public offices.

“We therefore, express dissatisfaction over the fact that states and local governments in the country have not demonstrated adequate interest in keying into the federal government’s anticorruption campaign.

The stakeholders condemned with disdain, the inability of successive governments to put in place systems that will enable the country to “adequately account for the revenues from extractive industry which constitute about 85% of the country’s revenue.”

The summit was also concerned that CSOs have been continuously kept out of the processes of the implementation of the whistleblower policy, and other initiatives of the government, calling on the government to reverse the trend.

The summit recommended that “measures should be urgently put in place by relevant agencies to address the security of whistle-blowers and resolve cases of persons who are persecuted for giving out information.

“There is urgent need for government to set up independent governance structure comprising representatives of anti-corruption agencies and credible Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to oversee the implementation of the whistleblower policy.”

Participants urged the National Assembly to pass into law the whistle-blower protection and other relevant bills to boost the anti-corruption fight.

They commended whistle-blowers for their courage in giving information, despite the possible dangers they face. They also commended the MacArthur Foundation for supporting the whistle-blower project.

The summit’s communique was signed by AFRICMIL’s Godwin Onyeacholem, Chairman of Kano State Public Complaints & Anti-Corruption Commission (KSPCACC), Mr. Muhuyi Magaji and the Executive Director of the Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (RCHRCE), Comrade Ibrahim Zikirullahi, on behalf of the more than 80 participants from over 50 organisation that attended the summit.

 

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