At the Annual Telecommunications and Digital Economy Summit, the Center for Fiscal Transparency and Integrity Watch (CeFTIW) has urged labor leaders and staff of the Common Services Departments in the Ministry of Communications & Digital Economy to seize the government whistleblowing policy as a tool for promoting accountability in service.
In his presentation, the Center’s representative, Victor Agi, the Public Relations Manager said that labor leaders should consider whistleblowing as a moral obligation, and therefore utilize available platforms to support government efforts in the fight against corruption.
Victor said that the whistleblowing policy was initiated in 2016 to enhance the transparency and accountability of the public service, and assist in the recovery of looted public funds; adding that the policy was meant to also build public confidence in governance and sustain the fight against corruption.
He however noted that the policy has not been sustainable as a result of the lack of a comprehensive legal document that will guarantee the protection of whistleblowers who are largely distrust of the system. Agi also pointed out that the resignation of then Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun also affected the momentum the policy rode on, as her successor was not seen to have given the policy a priority.
While urging participants at the summit to assist authorities with information that can either foil corrupt acts or lead to the recovery of looted public funds/assets, the Center representative called on other CSOs in the criminal justice sector to continually champion sensitization campaigns on how citizens can safely “blow whistle” and avoid victimization.
“CSOs should continue to advocate for legislative protection and the speedy passage of the Whistleblower Protection Bill which has stalled in the National Assembly. A civil society coalition on whistleblowing will also strengthen the fight against corruption and financial crimes,” Agi said, and pointed out that there are whistleblowing platforms such as leaks.ng and Corruption Anonymous that Nigerians can securely disclose information without being implicated.
For us at the Center, we will continue to work with stakeholders to strengthen the anti-corruption environment. Aside from advocating for the passage of three anti-corruption laws this year, namely Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022, the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022, and the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act, 2022, the Center continues to partner with the Administration for Criminal Justice and Monitoring Committee (ACJMC) to see to the passage of the Public Interest Disclosure and Witness Protection Bills.
The Center is confident that these bills, when passed into law will align with international standards on whitsle blowing and strengthen current anti-corruption activities.