Vice President of the federal republic of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, seek for comprehensive protection of whistleblowers including against backlash and reprisals.
Whistle-blowing Policy in Nigeria is a tool developed by the federal ministry of finance to encourage people to voluntarily expose corruption, gross mismanagement, financial misconduct and acts inimical to public health to the Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Finance.
At the National Conference on Whistleblower Policy, held on Tuesday Virtually, The vice president made the call while delivering a keynote address.
Prof. Osinbajo said it is a necessity for the National Assembly Act to support the strategy while asking for legislative backing.
He said “Such a law should also provide for comprehensive protection of whistleblowers, including against reprisals from their employers and those whose activities they expose”.
“Exposing corruption is for the good of our nation, Our goal in this regard is to harness the huge potential of the people to deliver on their moral obligation to report cases of corruption within their immediate environments.”
While speaking about the need to strengthen the whistleblower policy, Osinbajo said: “It is clear that under the current whistleblowing policy, it is only with respect to acts of corruption that whistleblowing is considered lawful.
There are, however, a whole range of issues that may not endanger public finances directly, but may constitute public safety or security risks. Reporting such may save lives and or property.
“The scope may then cover such matters as a violation of law, gross mismanagement of the rights of people and waste of public resources, or acts inimical to public health or safety.”
The Vice President further stress on the importance of the task at hand notwithstanding the difficulties. He said
“These may include witness protection type provisions and this will give the whistleblower some protection where they may have to appear in court.
“certainty and clarity of the reporting processes and adequate protection of the whistleblowers would improve confidence in the initiative.
“Similarly, enhanced transparency and accountability in the implementation of the policy will result in more discoveries and recoveries.”
The Federal Government has, it was reported, retrieved over $178 million from the government during the initial two months of its whistle-blowing policy in Nigeria.
The National Conference on Whistleblower Policy was organized by the Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning in partnership with other organizations and departments involved in fighting against corruption.