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Despite huge rewards, Nigerian whistleblowers keep reducing, says EFCC

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Leshi Adebayo 

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa has expressed his concerns over the continuous loss of interest in whistleblowing by Nigerians in spite of the huge financial rewards attached to the policy.

The anti-graft agency boss made this known on Thursday during a one-day town hall meeting organized by the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) in Ilorin, Kwara State.

Bawa was represented by the commission’s Director of Public Affairs, Osita Nwajah who presented a paper on overcoming the challenges of whistle blowing and anti-corruption, saying there is an urgent need for a “fresh awakening to sustain the flow of critical intelligence to the law enforcement agencies.”

Expressing the need for more whistleblowers, he recalled a few of the achievements of the commission, saying, “Two of the landmark recoveries from whistleblowers’ information were the $9.8m recovered from a former managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr Andrew Yakubu, and the $11 million recovered at an apartment in Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos”.

Nwajah lamented the decline in whistleblowing noting that, “This seeming loss of interest is difficult to explain given that those who initially embraced the policy were rewarded”.

He further urged Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) nationwide to rise more vigorously to the imperatives of whistleblowing by volunteering information about cases of economic and financial crimes in their neighbourhood.

Meanwhile, the whistleblowing policy was officially launched on December 21, 2016 by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Finance.

According to Quartz Africa, the policy stated that anyone who provides information about any financial mismanagement or tip about any stolen funds to the Ministry of Finance’s portal is rewarded between 2.5% – 5% of the recovered funds by the Nigeria government.

Premium Times reported that the then EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, in October 2017, disclosed that since the launch of the policy, a total of N527,643,500; $53,222.747; GBP21,222,890 and Euro 547,730 was recovered.

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