NGO identifies ‘Helplessness’ as a major setback in whistle blowing

…Urges citizens to be courageous in exposing corruption

By Amadin Idahosa

A Non-Governmental Organisation, NGO, has pointed out that one of the major impediments of the Whistleblowers’ Policy is ‘Helplessness’ on the part of the whistleblower and the anti-corruption agencies, saying the policy lacks legal backing.
The NGO, African Centre for Media and Information Literacy, AFRICMIL, communicated through the Senior Program Officer, Godwin Onyeacholem, urged citizens to be courageous in exposing corruption.

In Abuja, Onyeacholem played guest at the Live Wednesday Radio Program- Public Conscience, which is produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG, while addressing issues surrounding the whistle blowers’ policy.

The helplessness on the part of the whistle blowers, he said, comes to play when citizens exposing corruption notice the little commitment and lack of political will from government and its anti-corruption agencies to sanction the offenders.
He also explained that the anti-graft agencies could be handicapped depending on the peculiarity of a case presented to them.
Identifying some other setbacks, the program officer cited cases of witch-hunting, victimization and retaliation from the exposed-corrupt individuals or organizations.

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He gave some instances of the victimization cases of Abdullahi Sambo of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc, NBET, and that of the reinstated Ntia Thompson of the ministry of foreign affairs.
Although, Onyeacholem recalled that there have been several success cases since the launch of the whistle blowers’ program in 2016, up until 2018, that a lot of looted funds were recovered.
An important aspect of the policy, he said, is that it challenges the culture of silence and incentivizes the exposure process with rewards of 2.5 to 5 percent, depending on the amount retrieved.
He said no government can fight corruption alone, and that it requires the corporation of citizens, stressing that “If you see something, say something.”
He advised that citizens shouldn’t be only motivated to report when rewards are associated, admonishing that they should be patriotic Nigerians.
Meanwhile, he emphasized that the EFCC and ICPC have the right by law to investigate a person suspected to be leaving above their means, even without a petitions from Nigerians.

Public Conscience on radio is an anti-corruption program produced by PRIMORG, with support from the MacArthur Foundation.

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