The Bill for protection of Whistle Blowers is a vital tool the anti-corruption war in Nigeria as it will greatly enhance information disclosure on corrupt persons when passed by the National Assembly, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara has said.
Describing it as an essential element of the war against corruption, Dogara said it is noteworthy but regrettable that Nigeria currently does not have a law that protects whistle blowers.
He said the passage of a law to protect whistle blowers will also make it easy to uncover private collaborators who connive with corrupt public servants and provide adequate safeguards against victimisation of the person making such complaints.
Dogara, who spoke at a workshop organised for the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes and civil society members on the Whistle Blowers Bill in the National Assembly, argued that the Bill seeks to encourage making more information available for investigation of alleged corruption and misuse of power by public servants.
“What we have is the Federal Ministry of Finance’s whistle blowing programme which is designed to encourage anyone with information about a violation of financial regulations to report which has not yet been backed by any legal framework, and therefore, not legally enforceable”, he said.
The Speaker also said the burden of corruption in Nigeria is a peculiar one that inhibits our economic and social development, saying that in order to fight the scourge and ensure a just and egalitarian society, the relationship between increased availability of information in the public domain, accountability and protection of person who expose alleged wrongdoing cannot be over-emphasized.
Dogara further said; “Disclosure of information for increased transparency is a necessary condition for accountability. The enactment of Whistle Blowers Protection law as a vehicle for the investigation of alleged corruption and misuse of power by public servants or their private collaborators and to provide adequate safeguards against victimization of the person making such complaint is therefore, an essential element of the war against corruption.”
He also said that the consequences of corruption are greater than just the diversion of public resources to private gain as it destroys societies and contributes to trust deficit and lack of confidence in governance as well as threatens sustainable economic development, ethical values and justice; destabilises the society and endangers the rule of law.