A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega says “fear and lack of legal protection and legal backing to get the reward” for people to volunteer information are major hindrances to the Federal Government’s Whistle Blower Policy to combat corruption.
Jega said this in his paper at a two-day zonal conference on Whistle Blower Policy in Nigeria for the Northwest Zone in Kano organised by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning.
The conference has as its theme: “Implementation of the Whistle Blower Policy in Nigeria: Issues, Challenges and Way Forward.”
He said the fact that it has taken over five years to have a legal framework for the policy showed the government’s apathy to fighting corruption.
He said it would require a lot of effort to get the National Assembly to pass the bill.
Jega said the policy itself, though laudable, needs to be properly contextualized for Nigerians to get the benefits attached to it, adding that because it is a federal policy, implementation at state and local levels is very constrained.
He recommended that Nigeria should draw appropriate lessons from global best practices while continuing to review, revise, update and improve on the policy.
He also said the country should create opportunities for conspirators and accomplices to gather the courage to “spill out” against co-criminals while expanding the framework that will be applicable to states and local governments.
“In general, review, harmonize, sanitize and improve upon the roles and responsibilities of all anti-corruption agencies with regards to whistleblowing (e.g interrogate whether the Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning is ideally the proper MDA to house and implement the whistleblower policy),” he said.