The ministry of finance, with support from the Federal government solidified the anticorruption fight, with the introduction of the whistle blower policy for more effectiveness and positive result. The policy is a call for citizens to voluntarily disclose information about fraud, bribery, looted government funds, financial misconduct, government assets and any other form of corruption or theft without inhibition.
Speaking on Dorocorruption radio program, Mr. Godwin Onyeacholem of African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) said, that the policy is not limited to fiscal crime but also wrongdoings of public interest. He pointed out that a provision of the policy criminalizes whistle blowing; in his words, “if you blow the whistle and it turns out to be false, you are liable for prosecution”, which is not acceptable in other countries like South Africa, Ghana, UK, US, that equally operate on the whistle blower policy.
He further let out that the whistle blower policy has no legal backing due to the ongoing legislative work on the policy. According to him, “The policy no get legal backing now, every whistle blower dey blow am at his own risk”. He advised that the continuous delay by the presiding authorities, in the passage of the whistle blower policy bill to law, will reduce public interest and confidence on the effectiveness of the policy.
Reacting to the doubt on whistle blower’s confidentiality, Mr. Godwin assured privy of reports, adding that the whistle blower can choose to be identified or summit reports anonymously.
The initiative introduced in 2016, was an invitation to citizens to participate in the anti-corruption policy of government; to help law enforcement agencies to discharge their duties, with the possibility of increasing accountability and transparency in the management of public funds.
Mr. Godwin exhorted the government to completely expunge the provision of the policy that criminalizes whistle blowing, as that will discourage well-meaning Nigerians from participating in the fight against corruption, which is contrary to the purpose of initiating the policy.