The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, on Tuesday said the Bill for an Act to protect whistleblowers was a vital tool for the country’s anti-corruption war.
Dogara stated this at a workshop organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes and members of the civil society on the Whistle Blowers Bill held in Abuja.
The bill, he added, would greatly enhance disclosure of information on corrupt persons when passed by the National Assembly.
He said the bill would help to uncover private collaborators who connived with corrupt public servants while providing adequate safeguards against victimisation of the person making such complaints.
The speaker said the bill, when passed, would make more information available for investigation of alleged corruption and misuse of power by public servants.
He stressed the need for Nigeria to have a law that protects whistleblowers.
The Speaker said, “What we have is the Federal Ministry of Finance’s whistle-blowing programme, which is designed to encourage anyone with information about a violation of financial regulations to report.
“This has not yet been backed by any legal framework, and therefore, not legally enforceable.”
He also said the burden of corruption in Nigeria was a peculiar one that inhibited its economic and social development.
A 50-year-old man, Ahmed Echodo, has been charged to court on Tuesday for allegedly hoaxing the police to carry out a raid at a building which belongs to the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
According to the one-count charge, two defendants were accused of the offense, but only Mr. Echodo was arraigned at a magistrate court in Abuja because the other defendant, Mr Adamu was at large.
Security operatives had ransacked the building on Friday morning following information accusing the occupants of criminal offenses and storage of arms and ammunition.
During the search, They found nothing incriminating.
The counsel to the defense, Peter Ngwoke, pleaded the court to grant his client bail.
The magistrate, Umar Kagarko, asked the police to find and present the other suspect in court at the next sitting after adjourning the case to June 5, for ruling on the bail application.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 arraigned the duo of Buhari Fannami and Ba-Kura Abdullahi on two separate one-count charges before Justice M. T Salihu of the Federal High Court Maiduguri, for allegedly giving false information to the agency under the whistleblowing policy.
Fannamit had misled the EFCC with the information about illegally acquired monies purportedly buried at the residence of one Ba’a Lawan but the information turned out to be false after the execution of a search warrant.
The charges read:
“That you, Buhari Fannami on or about the 8th day of May, 2017 at Maiduguri, Borno State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did make statement to Officers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission under the Whistle Blowing policy to the effect that large sums of money being the proceeds of crime were buried in the residence Ba’a Lawan at Pompomari Layout along Pompomari Bypass, Maiduguri which information/statement you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under sections 39 (2) (a) and 39 (2) (b) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004 respectively”.
The accused person pleaded not guilty to the charge. Counsel for the prosecution Alkassim Ja’afar asked for a trial date and prayed the court to remand the accused person in the prison custody pending trial.
Justice Salihu adjourned the matter to June 7 and 8, 2017 for hearing and ordered the accused to be remanded in the prison custody.
On his part, Ba-Kura Abdullahi also gave false information to the effect that large sum of money in naira and foreign currencies were buried in the residence of Ba’a Lawan.
Justice Salihu adjourned his case to June 7 and 8, 2017 for a commencement of trial and ordered the accused to be remanded in the prison custody.