In the nation’s quest for a society that is just, transparent and corruption-free, we call on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR to move for the mainstreaming of whistleblowing in Nigeria by revisiting the Public Interest Disclosure Bill (PIDB), otherwise known as the Whistleblower Bill, and the Witness Protection Bill (WPB) for expedite passage and assent.
These bills are among the five pieces of legislations that the Center advocated for their passage to strengthen legal framework in the fight against corruption and financing of terrorism in the country. Without doubt, the signing into law and institutionalization of the Money Laundering Prevention & Prohibition, Proceeds of Crime, and Terrorism Prevention & Prohibition bills have improved the nation’s response and fight against corruption and insecurity, although a lot more work is expected.
The PIDB which was almost passed before the expiration of the tenure of the immediate past administration, can play a crucial role in exposing corruption, fraud, and wrongdoing within institutions, ensuring the accountability of those in power, and generally assist the fight against corruption.
The absence of a dedicated whistleblower and witness protection laws leaves whistleblowers and witnesses, who are often truth-bearers vulnerable, discouraging potential whistleblowers and witnesses from coming forward and hindering the exposure of vital information that could protect the public interest.
At a Policy Roundtable on “Towards a Whistleblower Protection Law in Nigeria,” the Coordinator, African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), Dr. Chido Onumah was apt when he stated that the absence of whistleblower law continues to deter citizens from participating in the fight against corruption; as whistleblowers currently face “reprisals such as dismissal, threats, physical violence or abusive legal proceedings, while others are forced into exile or even killed.”
Given the nation’s poor performance in the corruption prevention pillar in the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) review of recommendations, the signing of the PIDB and WPB into law will therefore bolster the nation’s response and actions to prevent public sector corruption.
The Center, in line with the drive of the Whistleblower Protection Coalition, urges the President and members of the National Assembly to prioritize the passage of the PID and WP bills into law to demonstrate the administration’s commitment to the fight against corruption.
In our pursuit of a just and accountable society, we also call on citizens to join our advocacy in pressuring authorities to act on the bills that will protect whistleblowers and witnesses and ensure their vital contributions are not silenced. By enacting these laws, our nation would reinforce the values of transparency, integrity, and accountability that form the bedrock of a thriving democracy.
Together, let us champion the cause of those who speak out for the greater good.