Falana urges NASS to pass whistle-blowing protection bill

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Femi Falana, a Human Right Activist, has called on the National Assembly to hasten the passage of the Whistle-blowing Protection Bill to facilitate the fight against corruption in the country.

Femi Falana

Falana made the call on Tuesday in Abuja at the National Stakeholders’ Summit on Whistle-blowing, organised by the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRIMIL).

He said that the bill, when passed, would facilitate the fight against corruption by protecting persons with potential and reliable information on the war against corruption.

“The bill amongst other things aims at ensuring that persons, who make disclosures about corruption do not suffer reprisals in relation to such disclosures and are duly protected by the law,” he said.

The activist also called for proper implementation of the whistle-blowing policy, adding that it was the duty of every citizen to report crimes for societal change.

He decried the attitude of brutal attacks on whistle-blowers and numerous challenges faced by them, which included denial of entitlements, charge to court, attacks and murder.

Falana, however, appealed that recovered loots should not be channeled towards funding the budget but rather should be a special funding in the country.

“Unless we convince the government to uphold the protection of fighting corruption, all the suggestions are meaningless,’’ he added.

Falana tasked whistle-blowers not to limit their monitoring to Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) but to spread it to other agencies.

He pledged to take up any matter concerning harassment of whistle-blowers once reported.

Earlier, Mr Chido Onumah, Coordination of the centre, said that as part of its accountability and governance initiative, it inaugurated the Corruption Anonymous (CORA) project, which aimed at engaging civil society and Nigerians in tackling corruption.

“The CORA project, which is supported by ‘The John D and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation,’ is aimed at creating awareness about whistle-blowing and making Nigerians see it as a tool for reducing corruption,’’ he said.

Onumah recalled that the Federal Government in December 2016 announced a Whistle-Blower policy, which could offer financial incentives for citizens who give genuine information that could lead to recovery of loots.

He noted that the summit with the theme: `Fight Against Corruption: Harnessing the Whistle-blowing Opportunity’ was one of its interventions designed for critical stakeholders responsible for its implementation.

“Whistle-blowing, as an instrument of tackling corruption, can only survive where the safety of whistle-blower is guaranteed ,” he noted.

AFRIMIL, an NGO, which focuses on media, information, research, advocacy and training is dedicated to providing skills required for social engagement.

NAN

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