Our Reporter, Abuja
To further Nigeria’s fight against corruption, the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) and Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development (PRIMORG) have announced a new partnership to strengthen whistleblowing in the country.
The two civil society organizations made this known during a round table meeting at PRIMORG’s office complex in Abuja.
Speaking during the meeting, the Coordinator of AFRICMIL, Dr. Chido Onumah, noted that whistleblowing remains an indispensable tool needed in the fight against corruption, hence the need to advocate relentlessly for a law protecting whistleblowers and whistleblowing.
Onumah lamented the inability of the 9th National Assembly to strengthen the existing whistleblowing policy and revealed plans for a robust engagement of legislators and the federal government this time.
“The eventual non-passage of the whistleblowing legislation by the last National Assembly was a minus to the fight against corruption. So, there is a need to do a lot of advocacy. Media attention must be on legislation for whistleblowing to bring the issue to the front burner of conversation again.
“There is the need to resurrect the push for whistleblowing law in Nigeria,” Onumah stressed.
He commended PRIMORG for collaborating with AFRICMIL over the years, revealing that “partnership with PRIMORG has been the most effective in the last seven years.”
On his part, the Executive Director of PRIMORG, Augustine Okhiria Agbonsuremi, described the failure of past National Assemblies to get the country a whistleblower law as a disservice and a significant setback to Nigeria’s anti-corruption fight.
Agbonsuremi called for all hands to be on deck in ensuring whistleblowing gets a legal impetus under the current National Assembly led by former Akwa Ibom State governor, Godswill Akpabio, as Senate President and Tajudeen Abbas as Speaker, House of Representatives.
He also welcomed the idea of vigorously engaging legislators, the Federal Government, civil society groups and citizens on the lingering lack of whistleblowing law in Nigeria.
“We have to start early to engage members of the National Assembly. They will see and understand why we need a law to protect whistleblowers and preserve whistleblowing.
“We will also not relent in engaging Federal Ministries of Finance and Justice, as well as the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA). CSOs in Nigeria and beyond will be carried along to drive this reawakening towards legislation for whistleblowing in the country.” Agbonsuremi stated.
He assured AFRICMIL of PRIMORG’s continuous support and dedication towards the success of the whistleblowing project, adding that PRIMORG would use its platforms to popularize the advocacy and push for passage of whistleblowing law.
AFRICMILL and PRIMORG, during the meeting, agreed to embark on joint activities involving stakeholders in the anti-corruption spaces to work towards the realization of a law to strengthen whistleblowing in Nigeria.
The existing whistleblower policy was launched on December 21, 2016, by the Federal Government and facilitated through the Federal Ministry of Finance. Despite calls for the policy to be strengthened with legislation, previous parliaments have been unsuccessful in turning the policy into a law.