The African Centre for Media and Information Literacy has called for the passage of a whistleblower protection law in Nigeria.
In a statement to mark this year’s World Whistleblowing Day, the organisation noted that Nigeria is playing catch-up with an issue other African countries like Ghana, South Africa and Uganda have formalised.
Since the return to democracy in 1999, there have been several unsuccessful attempts to pass a law for the protection of whistleblowers in Nigeria.
In December 2016, the Federal Government introduced a whistleblower policy, which does not provide a legal framework for the protection of whistleblowers.
Different countries around the world are realising the importance of whistleblowers who have been described as the “first line of defence against crime, corruption and cover-up.”
June 23 every year is celebrated as World Whistleblowing Day to raise public awareness about the important role of whistleblowers in combating corruption.
This year’s celebration is coming on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic that has created a great deal of anxiety and uncertainty for Nigerians.
It has also highlighted the importance of accountability and the need for regular and reliable information from public and private institutions and officials.
“It’s for this reason that we need Nigerians to speak up and be listened to if they have concerns about health and safety, fraud or other types of wrongdoing in the public interest in the management of the COVID-19 crisis,” said Chido Onumah, Coordinator of AFRICMIL.
Onumah added: “Nigerians need to know the truth about the spread of the disease to respond effectively and help protect their communities. Transparency is vital and never more so than during a pandemic. We encourage all citizens and workers to participate in ensuring our governments, corporate institutions, both public and private, remain accountable during this crisis and beyond.
“We celebrate whistleblowers in the country for their patriotism. They keep us safe and ensure that funds are not diverted when they speak out against fraud, abuse and corruption.”
In the last three years, AFRICMIL has been implementing a project tagged: “Corruption Anonymous,” supported by the MacArthur Foundation, which aims to highlight the importance of whistleblowing in the fight against corruption and the need to protect whistle blowers from retaliation.