By Oluwafunke Ishola
African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), a Non-Governmental Organisation, has trained journalists in Lagos on whistle-blowing and whistle-blowers protection to aid the government’s anti-corruption fight.
Mr Chido Onumah, AFRICMIL Coordinator, said on Thursday during the training that the purpose was to promote media and information literacy to enhance democracy, good governance and accountability.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the training was in collaboration with Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA).
Onumah, represented by Mr Kolawole Ogunbiyi, the Programme Manager of AFRICMIL, said the organisation had since 2017 working on a programme tagged ‘Corruption Anonymous’ supported by the MacArthur Foundation.
He said that the project was designed to build public confidence and support for the whistle-blowing policy of the government.
He said that the project was also anchored on sensitising the public on the importance of whistle-blowing toward fighting corruption and checking other forms of wrongdoing in the society.
According to him, it also seeks to advocate honest implementation of the policy, and ensure effective protection for people who are courageous enough to blow the whistle.
“Following the renewal of the project for another three years, we have added a fourth platform of engagement with the sole objective of working for the institutionalisation of whistle-blowing as a vital mechanism for transparency and democratic good governance in Nigeria,” he said.
Onumah said that to ensure the successful implementation of the project, AFRICMIL has built strategic alliances with relevant stakeholders such as the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit.
“It is in furtherance of deepening this component of activities lined up for this project that this media training is being organised purposely for journalists that we have painstakingly selected from the print and electronic media.
“AFRICMIL believes that by the nature of its job, journalists are also whistle-blowers and so should have as much stake,” he said.
Mr Lanre Arogundade, Director, International Press Centre, appealed to the Federal Government to guarantee the protection of whistle-blowers and expedite the passage of the policy into law.
Arogundade said that unless the government provide a legal framework to protect whistle-blowers, many citizens might not support the policy or the anti-corruption fight with positive actions.
He noted that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) disclosed that it recovered 43 million dollars for the government via the whistle-blowing policy as at June, 2021.
He urged the government to uphold its bargain, by paying whistle-blowers the percentage it promised them when they submit tips to encourage more tip off.
Commenting, Mr Ridwan Sulaimon, Programme Manager, HEDA, said that whistle-blowing must move beyond the narrative of monetary gain to that of selfless community service to promote development.
Sulaimon called for a comprehensive whistle-blowing policy and the political will to ensure protection of the whistle-blowers.
He stressed the need to enhance citizen’s awareness on whistle-blowing toward having more corruption tipping across all sectors. (NAN) (nannews.ng)