Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has accused state governments of frustrating the whistleblowing policy of the Federal Government.
Head, Legal and Prosecutions Department of EFCC, Ibadan Zonal Office, Dr. Ben Ubi, disclosed this at a workshop in Ibadan for community-based organisations (CBOs), yesterday.
“The policy has not been bought into by most state governments as it is viewed as a Federal Government thing. This can be seen from the fact that attempts by the anti-corruption agencies to investigate some states over alleged financial impropriety have over the years faced obstacles from the state governments who usually rush to courts of law to obtain injunctive orders on grounds that the accounts and staff of such states cannot be investigated by Federal Government agencies without any report of indictment by the state Houses of Assembly.
“The National Assembly is yet to pass the Whistle-blower Protection Bill into law, which does posit danger in further delay in doing so as it may expose the whistleblowers to risk and discourage more people from coming up with information to the anti-graft agencies. It is hoped that the current National Assembly will expedite the passage of this bill into law.
“The delays in the dispensation of justice in corruption cases is one major delay in the implementation of this policy as it predisposes the whistleblower to the danger of being attacked by the accused who is yet to be put behind bars. It is hoped that with the coming to be of the Administration of Justice Act, 2015 which has been domesticated by most of the states in the federation, there will soon be speedy dispensation of justice in corruption cases. Lack of continuity in government policy is another challenge to the whistleblower policy.”
David Oluwole of the ICPC, advocated usage of whistleblower policy to fight corruption at all levels in line with Federal Government’s initiative.
“To me, whistle blower policy is to encourage members of the public to contribute their quota in the fight against corruption by making relevant information available to the various anti-corruption agencies as well as law enforcement agencies so that we can rid Nigeria of all forms of corruption and other related offences.”
Coordinator, AFRICMIL, Dr Chido Onumah, in his welcome address, emphasised the need for the passage of the Whistleblower Protection Bill into law to protect the lives of whistleblowers and provide succour to anyone who suffers consequences of whistleblowing, saying: “With that law, citizens are assured that they are covered if they blow the whistle.