AFRICMIL berates lack of protective laws of whistle blowing

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The African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) has said that the absence of protective laws in Nigeria is hampering the whistle blowing policy and exposing whistle-blowers to victimisation.

Coordinator of the centre, Chido Onumah, said this in Keffi, Nasarawa State at a workshop on `Whistle-blowing and the Fight against Corruption in Nigeria’, organised for the media practitioners by AFRICMIL, with support from MacArthur Foundation.

Onumah said that since the Federal Government inaugurated the whistle-blowing policy in 2016, the centre had followed the “cases of people who have blown the whistle in their organisations through its various programmes.

He said that the centre had worked with the media to promote the policy, but more needed to be done.

“Among these is the need to ensure protection for whistle blowers, you will all agree that unless the whistle blower gets the requisite protection, job security, freedom from harassment and intimidation meaningful progress may not be made.

“This is because if they don’t get the maximum protection, there is no way people would come out to blow the whistle.

“More than anything else, it is important to safeguard the integrity because whistleblowing as an instrument for tackling corruption can only survive where the safety of the whistle-blower is guaranteed.”

Godwin Onyeacholem, AFRICMIL’s Programme Officer, urged the media to look into the plight of whistle-blowers in the country as a lot of them were being attacked by haters.

Onyeacholem further urged journalists “to be voices to victimised whistle-blowers who exposed corrupt practices in their places of work to let the world know what they are going through” in order to curb the attacks.

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He said that the call was necessary because it is the duty of journalists “to help the helpless and amplify the voices of the voiceless”.

According to him, journalism is the only profession the constitution has given the task of holding the government accountable by exposing wrong doings.

He added that to that end, reporting the challenges faced by whistle-blowers would eliminate the ill-treatment they were suffering.

Another Programme Manager at the centre, Abdulaziz Abdulaziz said that the failure of the 8th National Assembly to pass the whistle-blowing law constituted a stumbling block for the implementation of the whistle-blowing policy.

Abdulaziz said that because the law had not been enacted, all hands should be on deck to ensure that it was achieved.

He, therefore, urged the media to not only champion the cause but to report on issues related to corruption through investigative journalism.

He advised the media practitioners to imbibe the habit of fact-checking before publishing the truth.

Journalists trained on the whistle-blowing policy promised to live up to their responsibility as watchdogs of the society.

They pledged to remain committed to the dissemination of factual reports on the whistle-blowing policy of the government.

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