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Pressure mounts on Tinubu govt to prioritise enactment of Whistleblower Protection Law

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There have been fresh calls for the Bola Tinubu administration to reintroduce and push for the speedy passage of the Whistleblower Bill into law.

The African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), Progressive Impact Organisation for Community Development (PRIMORG) and other civil society organisations had been advocating at different fora for the new executive and legislative arms to prioritise the passage of whistleblower protection law after a failed attempt during the ninth National Assembly.

The latest call was made by a Programme Officer of CLEEN Foundation, Nnamdi Odo, during an anti-corruption radio programme, Public Conscience, produced by PRIMORG, and aired on Wednesday in Abuja.

Odo urged the Federal Government to get the Whistleblower Bill passed as soon as possible, given its importance in the fight against corruption, noting that a speedy passage of a law to protect persons who expose corrupt acts in the country is possible with the right attitude in place.

Advising the Tinubu’s administration, Odo said: “Let’s get this legislation passed and implement it. I think if the administration can achieve that in the shortest possible time, it will be a plus.

“It is not late for the government to say enough is enough to corrupt activities that have impacted negatively in Nigeria and across all sectors. It is not late if the government decides to wake up and say enough is enough. Let’s give the right attention whistleblowing deserves”.

Odo identified the lack of political will by previous administrations as a major hindrance to getting legislation that can adequately protect whistleblowers in Nigeria while urging anti-graft agencies of the government not to relent in taking action against numerous petitions and investigations brought to their notice by Nigerians every now and then.

He lamented: “Lack of political will is a major hindrance, but it’s not supposed to be because when you have the National Assembly that has a majority of members from one political party, and you have the Executives on the same side of the political will, is there, Whistleblower Bill stands a high chance of being passed.

“If today we go to the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) or ICPC (Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission), you will see tons of petitions written by Nigerians; even though there is no whistleblower protection law, these anti-corruption agencies still receive petitions from courageous Nigerians, but the citizens can only stop at petitioning, and the onus of the investigation lies with these agencies and how fast they carry out these investigations is a story for another day”.

AFRICMIL’s Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Nkechi Ugwu asked President Tinubu to take advantage of whistleblowing in tackling public sector corruption and consolidate his promises to Nigerians.

Worried by the malfeasance of public funds by political leaders, Ugwu urged the Federal Government to leverage the advocacy for whistleblowing law to block leakages in government, especially as Nigeria is struggling with the economy.

She said: “My advice is that President Tinubu should take advantage of this bill to consolidate his ‘renewed hope agenda’ because a lot has been happening regarding the economy. Nigerians are facing a lot more hardship since the removal of the subsidy. Nigeria is also known for borrowing, so President Tinubu needs to leverage the passing of the Whistleblower Bill”.

She encouraged citizens to have a positive mindset on whistleblowing and also lauded the efforts of civil society groups in advocating for whistleblower protection laws over the years.

“If Nigeria goes bad, it affects everybody. So when we come out to blow the whistle, we should come out with all honesty and commitment, seeing it as a responsibility rather than looking out for the money. The reward is just a motivation”, Ugwu stated.

Public Conscience is a syndicated weekly anti-corruption radio programme PRIMORG uses to draw government and citizens’ attention to corruption and integrity issues in Nigeria.

The programme has the support of the MacArthur Foundation.

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