‘Government can’t guarantee zero reprisal against whistleblowers’

OrderPaperToday – The nominee for the post of Chairman of Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offenses Commission, ICPC and former Executive Secretary of Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye has stated that the government cannot guarantee whistleblowers zero reprisals.

Owasanoye noted that the realities and procedure for investigating corruption makes it difficult to fully eradicate reprisal against whistleblowers.

 

He however reassured Nigerians that the current administration has the political will to provide platforms for protecting whistleblowers.

Prof. Owasanoye made this observation while giving remark during the unveiling of Corruption Anonymous (CORA), a whistleblower support initiative by the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) in Abuja on Thursday.

He said “every citizen has to report crime; it is both constitutional and moral duty. With or without incentive we must report crime, not just citizens alone but media organizations, which in all fairness they have being doing that.”

Prof. Owasanoye added that the current administration has put in place the right framework to ensure protection for squealers but conceded that most times citizens are frustrated for lack of quick response to issues reported, a development he blamed on lack of manpower as law enforcement officers had to make decision on what to prioritize.

 

He also blamed the citizens for condoning corruption through silence and legitimizing corruption through kinship ties.

 

Also speaking at the Event, the Acting Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu noted that the effect of corruption does not discriminate between religion or tribe.

 

Magu who left the event early, spoke through the Director of Public Affairs of the EFCC, Osita  Nwajah, and stated that “through this window of whistleblowing, we have been able to recover billions of naira.

“Although we are being careful not to be used by mischief makers, we have a fool proof approach to dealing with reports we receive daily. We are making tremendous amount of progress in our fight against corruption, despite an unholy alliance of corrupt elements.”Also speaking, Mr. Waziri Adio, Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), urged Nigerians on value re-orientation, saying the condoning and celebration of corruption by citizens is an incentive for public officials to indulge in the act.

 

Mr. Adio pledged the support of his organization to the CORA platform and urged civil society and the media to remain vigilant and support the war against corruption in the country.

The intervention programme, tagged Corruption Anonymous (CORA), was launched at the Yar Adua center on Thursday with support from MacArthur Foundation.

Apart from Mr. Magu, Prof. Owasanoye, and Mr. Adio, the event had in attendance the Executive Director of OrderPaper Nigeria, Mr. Oke Epia, and the Chairman of the House of Representatives committee on Anti- corruption, Kayode Oladele, as well as the representative of MacArthur Foundation and other major stakeholders in the fight against corruption.

Coordinator of AFRICMIL, Chido Omumah, stated that the CORA initiative aims to “popularize whistleblowing and to make Nigerians see the need to adopt it as a strategic tool for reducing corruption,” adding that “we intend to have periodic training for agencies of government as well as public education in cities across the six geopolitical zones of the country.”

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