The Federal Government, yesterday, described its whistle-blower policy as an effective tool of fighting corruption in Nigeria, just as it disclosed that looters had resorted to burying stolen funds in their backyards, thick forests and graveyards.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in a statement assured that government would continue to protect the identities of those with useful information on looted funds, while at the same time ensuring that they get the stipulated reward for their efforts.
But the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) said what whistle-blowers needed was presidential protection and not necessarily monetary reward.
The minister said the recent successes recorded in the recovery of looted funds in many currencies showed that Nigerians really supported the fight against corruption.
“Since we launched the whistle-blower policy, we have received immeasurable support from Nigerians. Yes, there is monetary reward for any information that leads to recovery of looted funds, but from what we have seen, most Nigerians who have come forward with useful leads were driven by patriotism rather than reward.
‘’Nigerians, fired by a fervid resolve to help banish corruption from their country, have daily inundated the offices of the appropriate government agencies with valuable information.
“We have been told how looters have resorted to burying stolen funds in their backyards, in deep forests and even in burial grounds,” he stated.
The statement by Mohammed’s Special Assistant, Mr. Segun Adeyemi said that it had become obvious that more funds were in possession of looters than were available to government at all levels to meet its obligations, including paying workers’ salaries, providing social amenities, upgrading infrastructure and ensuring the security of lives and property.
He emphasized that government would not abandon the policy for whatever reason, but will instead, continue to rejig and make it a more effective tool for fighting corruption.
Mohammed said the recovered looted funds were safe, adding that the government would give a full account of the funds to Nigerians as soon as the necessary reconciliation process and the litigation in some of the cases were concluded.
Meanwhile, SSANU National President, Mr. Samson Ugwuoke told Daily Sun that its members have embraced the anti-corruption fight of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration but needed government protection.
He regretted that some of their members were being victimised for blowing whistle on some corrupt practices in the university system.