The Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG, in a bid to lend its voice in seeking justice for victimized and witch-hunted whistleblowers in Nigeria, keyed into the long-time fight by the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy, AFRICMIL.
PRIMORG’s interest was captured when several cases involving the illegal termination of appointments of whistleblowers from different government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, were reported by various mainstream media outlets.
PRIMORG saw the need to start probing the seriousness of government in fulfilling its commitment in the fight against corruption and implementation of the whistleblower’s policy, especially in creating legal backings for the bill and ensuring it is assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Taking action, PRIMORG attached a team member to AFRICMIL’s group to monitor and observe proceedings in the National Assembly regarding the hearing of the case between Murtala Ibrahim and the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, FMBN, on his unjust dismissal, for the second time.
However, the hearing in the House of Representatives set for February 13, 2020, was adjourned to March 5, 2020, due to the failure of FMBN to show up on the agreed date. It was later resolved that another letter would be sent to the bank as a reminder.
Because of the aforementioned developments, PRIMORG was swift to extend an invitation to AFRICMIL, which in turn, sent its Senior Programs Officer, Godwin Onyeacholem, to appear and speak on-behalf of the their organization.
In Abuja, AFRICMIL’s representative, played guest at the Live Wednesday Radio Program- Public Conscience, which is produced by PRIMORG, and was given the floor to address the numerous controversies surrounding the whistleblowers’ policy.
Some notable points he raised to encourage the whistleblowers is that there have been several success stories since the launch of the whistleblowers’ program in 2016, up until 2018, with the recovery of several looted funds.
That 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.
That no government can fight corruption alone, and that it requires the corporation of citizens, stressing that “If you see something, say something.”
That citizens shouldn’t be only motivated to report when rewards are associated, urging Nigerians to be patriotic.
Last but not least, 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 petitions from Nigerians.
As a reminder on the case led to this interventions, you would recall that Ibrahim, who was the Head of ICT Process Audit and Special Investigation Unit at the bank, was on May 8, 2017, sacked by FMBN’s management for blowing the whistle on a contract scam and the banks’ doctored 2016 Half-Year Validation Report.
Meanwhile, after series of interventions, including that of AFRICMIL, Ibrahim was reinstated and transferred to Taraba State in 2018, as the attention of the Minister of works and housing, Mr. Babatiunde Fashola, was drawn to the case.
Unfortunately, in 2019, Murtala Ibrahim’s job was terminated again. A letter informing Mr Ibrahim of his latest sack was signed by the managing director of the bank, Ahmed Dangiwa, and the executive director, finance and corporate service, Melville Ebo.
On this note, PRIMORG stays observant to see the outcome of the hearing while standing in solidarity with Ibrahim Murtala and other victims of whistleblowing.
Our Organization also expresses high hopes that Ibrahim will come out triumphant as plans are already on ground to amplify his case and use it to encourage the Nigerian Citizens that there is still light at the end of the tunnel even after being persecuted for exposing corruption.