Senate May Pass Whistle Blower Protection Bill In July

The Nigerian Senate

By Andah John

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has disclosed that the upper chamber of the National Assembly could pass the Whistle Blower Protection Bill in July, 2017.

Saraki made this known at the launch of ‘Antidotes for Corruption: The Nigerian Story,’ a book written by Sen. Dino Melaye, on Monday in Abuja.

The central aim of the Bill is to protect persons making disclosures for public interest and others from reprisals.

And Saraki said, “when backed by legislation, whistle-blowing would have greater value and it is hoped that we can pass it before July this year.”

The Senate President further revealed other anti-corruption legislation being considered by the the upper house. They include the Proceeds of Crime Bill, the Special Anti-Corruption Court, which will be done through constitutional amendment, and the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill.

He emphasised on the need for the executive and legislature to work hard to make it difficult for proceeds of corruption to find any hope.

The Nigerian Government introduced the whistle-blowing policy on 21 December, 2016. Since then, the amount of looted funds recovered has been mind-boggling.

Whistle-blowers led the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to the discovery of $9.8million and £78,000 stashed in a metal safe at an unoccupied residence of former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu.

Not long after, another whistle-blower led the EFCC to the recovery of N42bn from an abandoned account in a commercial bank. Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the money was stashed away with a fake account name.

That was followed by N7bn and $15m recovery from another Nigerian and N1bn from yet another, Mohammed said in a statement on 12 February, 2017.

Other notable recoveries made include the #Ikoyi$43m recovered at an apartment in Osborne towers, Ikoyi; recovery of N49m abandoned in Kaduna airport; recovery of over N448m inside an abandoned shop at a Lagos Shopping Plaza; recovery of different currencies totalling N250m in a Bureau de Change operator shop in Balogun Market, Lagos and more.

On 23 April, 2017, the EFCC acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, estimated that the anti-graft agency had so far recovered N521,815,000.00, $53,272 747.00, £122,890.00, and €547,730.00 through whistle-blowers.

There are, however, genuine fears among Nigerians that the whistle-blower policy, as good as it may be, may not yield the desired results unless the protection of whistle blowers are guaranteed. One of such Nigerians expresses his view in the video below:

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