The Federal Government of Nigeria has approved a new whistle-blower draft bill and declared that the existing whistle-blowing policy launched on December 21, 2016, was losing momentum.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Ahmed, said this to State House Correspondents after the week’s Council meeting, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.
Launched in December 2016 by the Buhari-led Government, the Whistleblower Protection Act provides legal cover for individuals who voluntarily expose acts of fraud, bribery, looted government funds and assets, financial misconduct and other forms of corruption.
The policy also includes rewards for a whistleblower who provides information about any financial mismanagement or tip off about stolen funds to the ministry’s portal with 2.5 – 5 percent of the funds recovered by the Nigerian government.
Speaking after the FEC meeting, Dr. Ahmed said the Council approved the draft bill to strengthen the fight against corruption and protect whistle-blowers that provide helpful information to the FG. She said, “The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning presented several memos today. The first is the draft whistle-blower bill for 2022. This memo has been reviewed by the Council and approved with a provision to ensure alignment with the Evidence Act.
“The purpose of operationalising and putting in place a whistle-blower bill is to strengthen the fight against corruption and to enable protection for whistle-blowers that provide information for use by the government. As you know, since 2016, the Council has approved the setting up of the Presidential Initiative of Continuous Audit (PICA). PICA has been working in partnership with EFCC, ICPC, DSS, and NFIU and the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.
“We noticed that the whistle-blower policy response has lost momentum. We embarked on engagement in the six geo-political zones, and one of the main outcomes we found is that people are concerned about their safety when it comes to providing information. So, this bill is critical to ensure the effectiveness of the retention of the whistle-blower policy.”