A Civil Society Organisation, African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), has urged the Federal Government to reinstate a whistle-blower to his job, saying it was government’s obligation to him.
Coordinator of the Centre, Mr. Chido Onumah, told the News Agency of Nigeria that the whistle-blower, Murtala Ibrahim, was sacked at the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria for uncovering a scam at the bank.
Onumah said the case of Ibrahim, who was an auditor in the bank, was one case too many of Nigerians suffering reprisals for blowing the whistle in their places of work.
He said that though the policy had only fared for about one year, a lot needed to be done in terms of the protection of whistle-blowers and passage of the Bill on it.
“People are worried that whistle-blowers don’t have adequate protection, not necessarily protection in terms of their lives, but also loss of jobs.
“There are issues of civil servants who are sacked, some for six months now, others running up to one year like that of Ibrahim; we have been on his case for the last few months.
“Luckily, Mr. Ntia Thompson of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who was also sacked for whistle-blowing, was recalled after about eight months.
“We need to ensure that public servants are given adequate protection, especially in terms of job security because if people know that they will lose their jobs, they will not be inclined to blow whistle,’’ he said.
Onumah advised the government to pay more attention to the issue by looking into the cases of whistle-blowers who had suffered reprisals and reinstate them to their jobs.
He said the whistle-blowing policy could be a powerful tool in the hands of Nigerians when the gaps were filled, because government could not be everywhere.
“It is the individuals who know their communities and the many wrongdoings going on there. So, we empower people through information, through creating a platform that they have confidence in.
“They need to know that if they report any case, their lives will be protected, their jobs will be secure and ultimately, nobody is going to punish them for the action they have taken.
“I think it will help in creating confidence in the system.’’
Onumah urged the government to expedite action on the passage of the whistle-blower law, adding that the law would be like another push that helped the agitation.
According to him, if people know that there is a law that backs them up for uncovering corruption, they will be more active.
This, he said, was because the policy was one of the greatest ideas and additions to the anti-corruption fight, providing a new opportunity that helped in reviving the war against corruption.