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Prioritise whistle-blowers protection in anti-corruption fight –Centre urges FG

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The African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) on Monday in Abuja called on the Federal Government to make the protection of whistle-blowers a priority in its fight against corruption.

Coordinator of AFRICMIL, Mr Chido Onumah, said in a statement that unless the Federal Government ensured the safety and protection of whistle-blowers, citizens would be constrained in giving information valuable to the fight against corruption.

Onumah said that without effective protection, there was no way citizens, especially those in the public service who witnessed acts of corruption on a daily basis, would be encouraged to blow the whistle.

“These people will hardly blow the whistle on corruption or any wrongdoing for that matter, knowing that at the end of the day, you are on your own.

“They are faced with all kinds of victimisation, ranging from loss of jobs, intimidation, and redeployment to insecure positions and even threat to life.

“June 23 every year is celebrated as World Whistle-blowing Day, an occasion to reflect on the strong ethics, determination to do what is right, and sometimes outright bravery shown by those who decide that they cannot turn a blind eye to corruption.

“The brave individuals who reports wrongdoing at work are vital for exposing corrupt schemes and actions,’’ he said.

He said that since December 2016 when government introduced the whistle-blower policy as a strategy to curb corruption in the country, the initiative had remained at the level of policy.

Onumah said that AFRICMIL had since the inception of the policy worked with the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA), in the Federal Ministry of Finance, on strategies for a successful implementation.

He however, said that AFRICMIL was disturbed that whistle-blowers were relentlessly persecuted in government offices.

According to Onumah, in the last two years, AFRICMIL had taken up cases of persecution of five whistle blowers in different government offices.

He said that five of them were sacked but AFRICMIL ensured the reinstatement of three of them with the support of its partners in the media and civil society.

He said the group was still working to ensure that others, like Mr Sambo Abdullahi of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) and Mr Joseph Akeju of Yaba College of Technology were reinstated and their entitlements paid.

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