By Angela Atabo
Abuja – Prof. Abdullahi Shehu, former Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has called on governments and anti-graft agencies to honour the five per cent whistle-blower commission to motivate people to give information.
Shehu made the call on Thursday in Abuja at the inauguration of the African Centre for Media and Information (AFRICMIL) Corruption Anonymous (CORA) second year report.
According to him, corruption is on the concurrent legislative list so it needs to be tackled with all hands on deck, thus the introduction of the whistle-blowing policy.
He said that it was unfortunate that whistle-blowers were not being motivated as promised.
“The whistle -blowing though is a policy, is as effective as a law. Just recently, I read that someone sued the Federal Government to court for refusing to pay the five per cent promised on account of blowing the whistle.
“I think this is where the main challenge is with respect to enforcing this policy, when you make a commitment that if you do this, I will do this, I think it should be honoured.
“Therefore, I will like to call on the governor and whosoever is involved that if the five per cent was promised as a motivation for people to report, then government agencies should honour it.
“This is in order to make the policy more effective and by having the masses contribute.’’
Shehu also expressed worry over the management of recovered funds, adding that over the years, millions had been recovered even though there was no concrete statistics on the actual recovery.
He said that it was important that the recovery process was transparent for Nigerians to know how much was recovered in order to strengthen their confidence to contribute to the anticorruption fight.
He commended the courage of AFRICMIL for putting the whistle blowing policy on the front burner of the ant-corruption fight and urged other stakeholders’ key into it.
Also speaking, Mr Oludare Johnson, the Assistant Director in Charge of Whistle Blowing, Federal Ministry of Finance, said whistle blowing policy order came through the Federal Executive Council and its three years now.
Oludare said that the concern still remained the absence of the legal framework for the protection of the whistle-blowers and this was hampering the anti-corruption fight.
He said that presently, the Ministry of Finance was working with other stakeholders under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Justice to work on the bill.
This, he said would give it a robust bill that would guide the policy implementation because there had not been law backing the whistle-blowing policy and it had been a challenge for the past three years.
Earlier, Mr Chido Onumah, Coordinator AFRICMIL said that as part of its good governance initiative, the centre inaugurated the Corruption Anonymous (CORA) project in early 2017, especially to track the achievement of the policy.
Onumah said that though the path had not been an easy one due to victimisation of whistle blowers but AFRICMIL had in the last two years helped in getting three whistleblowers back to work.
“Going forward, the CORA project plans to transform its website (www.corruptionanonymous.org) into a platform to investigate and report on tips by whistleblowers that fall through the cracks.
“The aim is to put as many tips as possible by whistleblowers out in the public to reassure potential whistleblowers of the importance of their role, and provide tools for anti-corruption agencies.’’
Mr Kole Shettima, African Director Mc Arthur Foundation, said the organisation supported AFRICMIL to carry out the CORA project because it wanted to support Nigeria by contributing toward uplifting the poor people.