A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has identified a lack of legal framework as one of the major factors affecting the efficacy of the country’s Whistle Blower Policy.
Jega, who delivered the lead paper at a two-day zonal conference on Whistle Blower Policy in Nigeria for the Northwest Zone in Kano organised by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, spoke on the theme: “Implementation of the Whistle Blower Policy in Nigeria: Issues, Challenges and Way Forward.”
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He said the fact that it has taken over five years to have a legal framework for the policy shows “our national inertia to fighting corruption”, adding that it would require a lot of effort to get the National Assembly to pass the bill.
“Fear and lack of legal protection and legal backing to get the reward are disincentives for people to volunteer information under the policy,” he noted.
He said the policy itself, which is a very laudable one, needs to be properly contextualized for Nigerians to get the benefits attached to it, adding that because it is a federal policy, implementation at state and local levels is very constrained.
Aside from ensuring the speedy passage of a legal framework, Jega, a former Vice-Chancellor of Bayero University, Kano, made several recommendations to help speed up the efficacy of the policy, among which he said should be a continual review, revision, updating and improvement of the policy while drawing appropriate lessons from global best practices.
He also recommended that opportunities should be created for conspirators and accomplices to gather the courage to “spill out” against co-criminals, while the framework itself be expanded to be applicable to states and local governments.
“In general, review, harmonize, sanitize and improve upon the roles and responsibilities of all anti-corruption agencies with regards to whistleblowing (e.g interrogate whether the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning is ideally the proper MDA to house and implement the whistleblower policy),” he recommended.