A former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, has called on Nigerians irrespective of their political affiliations to join hand in rooting out corruption in the country through the Whistleblower’s Policy initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari- led administration.
Ribadu said that strengthening the synergy between the public and anti-corruption agencies was the only way to promote transparency in governance, thereby restoring integrity in antigraft war.
The former EFCC boss stated this on Thursday while speaking at the launch of an anticorrptuon report titled: “Engaging Whistleblowing in Nigeria – One Year of the Corruption Anonymous (CORA) Project at Shehu Musa Yar’adua Centre, Abuja.
The anti corruption czar emphasized the importance of whistleblower initiative, describing it as a most viable means to win the war against corruption.
Ribadu explained that there is no better way to get Nigerians to support the fight against corruption, than through coherent and systematic campaign that has the full support of ordinary Nigerians.
He said, “There is no gainsaying that for us to succeed in the anti-corruption fight, there must be uniformity of purpose, and what this means is that the government and the people through the media and civil society organizations will have to find a common ground, a consensus.
“This consensus doesn’t mean civil societies will serve as puppets for government, but it means working together to mobilize citizens, to consolidate on best practices, as well as single out mistakes in the process.
“Whistle blowers initiative is one smart way of involving the public, gaining their trust and integrity, and government is not out of place to pursue this initiative.
“Since the introduction of this whistle blower initiative, things have changed, invisible things, looters now find it difficult to hide looted funds at home, because someone maybe looking to make money out of it.
“Giving information about crime is a constitutional responsibility of every Nigerian, but Nigerians are slow to do this, this is not because they are not patriotic, they need the motivation.”
He pointed out that Nigeria’s Whistleblowers Policy “is at its infancy, with a lot of grey areas that needs to be addressed and a lot should be done in guaranteeing the security and protection of whistle blowers from retaliation”.
In his earlier remarks, the Deputy Director of MacArthur Foundation, Dayo Olaide, said sensitization of the public was key in reaffirming government’s commitment towards fighting corruption.
Had said, “Government must show enough commitment by prosecuting those that have been exposed, this will send strong signal to looters and the public as well, so they can accept the anti-corruption fight as their fight too.
“Where whistle blowers provide evidences of a crime, and corruption fights back it has the tendency of sending the wrong signal to the rest of the public, thereby truncating the process.
Every whistleblower must be protected, and in the absence of a strong protection law, the whole essence of whistleblowing will come to naught.”
The Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu, commended the organiser, African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) for producing the report, expressing confidence that the report would add value to the fight against corruption and further strengthen the implementation of the he Whistleblowing Policy.
Magu, who was represented at the event by the spokesman of the agency, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, called for continued sensitization of the public on the need to keep blowing the whistle to expose corrupt persons.
Other anti corruption champions at the event included Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), National Orientation Agency (NOA) amongst others.