By Press Release
The African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) has called on Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State to stop further persecution of Adewale Adedayo, chairman of Ijebu East Local Government Area of Ogun State, who was impeached and is now being prosecuted in court for accusing the governor of withholding statutory federal allocation to local governments in the state in the last two years.
Adedayo had last month written a letter, which went viral, to former governor of the state, Chief Segun Osoba, urging him to use his influence to correct the persistent zero allocation of federal funds which local governments in the state was facing under the administration of Governor Abiodun. The state government has since denied the allegation.
However, in a press statement, Dr, Chido Onumah, Coordinator of AFRICMIL, said it was unbecoming for the governor to go to the extent of making Adedayo to face retaliation for demanding transparency and accountability in administration of local government funds.
According to Dr. Onumah, “Adedayo doesn’t deserve the punishment he is currently facing because he has done nothing wrong other than exercising his right of freedom of expression. In fact, instead of being punished, he should be rewarded for exhibiting behaviour that would be of benefit to society rather than himself.”
AFRICMIL, which is in the forefront of promoting whistleblowing as a vital tool for addressing corrupt practices and other forms of wrongdoing, described Adedayo’s action as legitimate whistleblowing which Nigeria sorely needs at this time. The organisation observed that it was “immoral and unlawful” for the governor to deploy a strategy of intimidation to stop the whistleblower from speaking out against wrongdoing at the top level of governance.
Following the furore that trailed the whistleblower’s disclosure, he was first suspended for three months as chairman of Ijebu East Local Government Area, and then impeached even when the suspension had barely kicked off. Days after vowing that Adedayo would pay for “making false allegations” against him, the governor made good his threat by getting the police to arraign the whistleblower. “We are not unmindful of the fact that all of this is part of the intimidation to completely silence the whistleblower,” AFRICMIL stated.
The organisation said Adedayo’s continued victimisation was unacceptable. “We therefore call on the governor to immediately halt further retaliation against the whistleblower. We call for his immediate reinstatement as the chairman of Ijebu East Local Government Area, and withdrawal of the court case instituted against him.”
AFRICMIL called on anti-corruption agencies, particularly the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), where Adedayo sent a petition, to investigate the allegations contained in the whistleblower’s petition to unravel the truth.
The organisation reiterated its commitment to demand justice for all whistleblowers facing adverse actions for exposing wrongdoing in the country, adding that “whistleblowing is freedom of expression that must be protected.”