Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) yesterday accused both the Federal Government and the National Assembly of not doing enough to protect whistle-blowers from harassment and attack.
Speaking at a national stakeholders summit on “Fight Against Corruption: Harnessing.TheWhistleblower Opportunity” convened by the African Centre for Media & Information Literacy, Falana said although the President Muhammadu Buhari administration deserves commendation for embracing the whistle blowing policy in the war against corruption, not much has been done to protect whistle blowers.
According to him, not less than 10 public officers have been victimized for daring to expose corruption. Some of them are auditors
who refused to collude with unpatriotic public officers to cover up mismanagement of public funds.
“ While some funds have been recovered through the whistle blowing policy, it is sad to note that the Buhari administration has not been forthcoming in the recovery of hundreds of billions of dollars from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) and a number of multinational corporations operating in the country,” he said.
In the paper, the senior advocate noted that “since it is not certain that the National Assembly will pass the Whistleblowers Protection Bill into law, the Federal Government should continue to review the policy designed by the Federal Ministry of Finance.
Falana urged the government to probe treasury looters and investigate murder and other violent attacks on whistle blowers with a view to prosecuting any person indicted no matter how highly placed.
He said: “The whistle blowing policy cannot succeed without a holistic overhaul of the entire anti-corruption agencies. In particular, President Buhari should, without any further delay, carry out the following measures: The newly appointed chief executives of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and Code of Conduct Bureau should be directed to assume duties in line with section 171 of the constitution; the third member of the Code of Conduct Tribunal should be appointed on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council;the whistleblower unit should not be warehoused by the Ministry of Finance. It should be an independent body and manned by accredited
representatives of credible civil society organisations assisted by officials of the anti-graft agencies.
“The National Assembly should be mobilised to pass the Whistle Blower Protection Bill into law. Whistle blowers should be promptly paid their legitimate commission.”