President Muhammadu Buhari has begun seeking ways to strengthen the mechanism of the Whistleblower policy following breakthroughs in the war against corruption and unaccounted wealth.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, made the disclosure to State House Correspondents yesterday.
He said the enthusiastic response of Nigerians to the whistle blower policy has boosted the tempo of the anti corruption crusade of the Buhari administration and, as a consequence, the government is considering ways of enhancing the structural capacity of the whistleblower mechanism.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) had, in December, 2016, approved a whistleblowing policy to expose fraud and other related crimes in both the public and the private sectors. The whistleblower, according to the policy, is entitled to between 2.5 percent (minimum) and 5.0 percent (maximum) of the total amount recovered. The policy is aimed at encouraging anyone with information about a violation, misconduct or improper activity that impacts negatively on Nigerians and government to report it. As at March this year, the federal government had disclosed that the total number of cases of fraud and illicit transactions by serving or former public officers it is currently investigating, under its whistleblowing policy, has risen to 2,251.
Shehu told newsmen that government is considering empowering the mechanism by either bringing it under the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PCAC) or some other body to imbue the process with a strategic national purpose.
“In a word, government thinks that the whistleblower mechanism is too important to be left without a strategic, national direction.”
The Presidential Media aide commended the zeal and patriotism of Nigerians for responding positively to the whistle blower incentive policy, which is intended to expose hidden looted funds.
According to him, “no public policy can succeed or go far without public support and participation”, and that “when the citizens realise they are victims of corruption, they may feel encouraged to join the efforts to expose looted funds.” He explained that the huge and incredible amounts of looted funds being recovered by EFCC and the whistleblower efforts “is a revelation about the mindless, callous and reckless scale on which Nigeria had been robbed by unpatriotic and egregiously selfish public officials.”
He said the election of President Buhari in 2015 was a divine intervention in response to the desperate cries of Nigerians for urgent change”, adding that “stealing by officials under a democratic government at the expense of people’s welfare is worst betrayal of voters mandate.” He further disclosed that the government is getting suggestions to bring the issue of illegal weapons in the hand of citizens that are used to fuel intra and inter-communal violence under the purview whistle blower policy.
“Yes, it is true, the presidency has received suggestions that call for the whistle blower policy to be extended to the possession of illegal weapons by powerful individuals in the country. The government will look at all that and make a pronouncement. Nigerians would be encouraged to expose the presence of illegal weapons in the homes of powerful politicians and other public figures who may use those deadly arms for sinister political agenda.”

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