The Federal Government has been told that lack of adequate protection for whistleblowers in Nigeria is hampering citizens’ participation in the war against corruption.
The assertion was made Wednesday by the trio of the Chairman, Human and Environmental Development Agenda, Suraju Olanrewaju; Godwin Onyeacholem, of African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), and the Convener of Good Governance Team, Tunde Salman, during a radio programme, PUBLIC CONSCIENCE, produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG.
The call came on the heels of the dismissal of Fidelia Onoghaife, a Nigerian working for Embassy of Netherlands in Abuja for exposing the complicity of Shell Development Corporation of Nigeria in the ongoing investigation of the Operating License 245 oil scam.
Reacting to the development, Olanrewaju said HEDA was expecting the federal government to intervene swiftly in the maltreatment of a Ms Onoghaife after petitioning Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffey Onyeama.
Furthermore, he said they were reaching out to Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege for further intervention.
Whereas, Onyeacholem blamed the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for the persecution whistleblowers face in the country, and stressed that the whistleblower policy itself has a provision for protection.
According to him, “In that policy there is a provision that states that if you blow the whistle and you are prosecuted, you’ll be protected. Government is not even abiding by its own policy.”
His words: “Sambo Abdullahi, an auditor of the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company; Joseph Akeju, a former Bursar of Yaba College of Technology in Lagos; Murtala Ibrahim, an Auditor from the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, were all persecuted for blowing the whistle.”
Onyeacholem added that the government should be blamed because whistle blowing is their own policy.
“Government came to say that it cannot fight corruption alone, then to involve the people it has to introduce policy that will also engage the people’s interest in the fight against corruption, so if you come with a policy since December 2016, and there is no effort to make a law to back it up, does that make you serious in the fight against corruption? That you claim to be fighting,” he queried.
Salman in his submission lamented lack of legislation for whistle blowing while urging the federal government to push for permanent policy to change the ugly trend.
The syndicated radio programme is produced by PRIMORG with the support from the MacArthur Foundation.