Dogara said this in Abuja on Tuesday at a workshop organised for the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes.The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, said the Bill for an Act to protect Whistleblowers was a vital tool for the war against corruption in Nigeria.
Dogara said this in Abuja on Tuesday at a workshop organised for the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes and members of the civil society on the Whistle Blowers Bill.
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 that 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.
“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 added.
He also said that the burden of corruption in Nigeria was a peculiar one that inhibited its economic and social development.
Dogara added that to fight corruption and ensure a just society, the relationship between increased information in public domain, accountability and protection of persons, who exposed wrongdoings, could not be overemphasised.
According to him, disclosure of information for increased transparency is a necessary condition for accountability.
He said that the enactment of Whistle Blowers Protection law was therefore, an essential element of the war against corruption.
The speaker said that the proposed law would serve as a vehicle for the investigation of alleged corruption and misuse of power by public servants or their private collaborators.
He pointed out that the consequences of corruption were greater than the diversion of public resources to private gain as it destroyed societies and contributed to trust deficit.
He said that it also contributed to lack of confidence in governance, threatened sustainable economic development, ethical values and justice and destabilised the society and endangered the rule of law.
Dogara expressed concern that the poor and vulnerable in the society suffered the harmful effect of corruption more grievously because they did not get to enjoy democratic dividends.
He gave further assurance that the House would continue to work toward enacting a robust legal framework on the Whistleblower’s policy.
This, he added, would enhance quick and seamless recovery, forfeiture, and confiscation of property in respect of anti-corruption offences.
He expressed optimism that the Whistleblowers Bill would be passed by the National Assembly to break the jinx that had bedevilled the proposed legislation.
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