Whistleblower Jibrin should reveal alleged corruption in Reps investigative hearings – SERAP


As Abdulmumin Jibrin threatens to expose more alleged systemic corruption in the investigative hearings and oversight functions of the House of Representatives, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) “has called him a whistleblower because of his public interest disclosures on alleged budget padding and fraud in the House of Representatives in the context of his work in the House as a member.”

Mr. Jibrin yesterday threatened to reveal more alleged “systemic corruption among the leadership of the House of Representatives including in the House’s investigative hearings and oversight functions; as well as to disclose the internal budget of the House.”

In the statement released today and signed by SERAP executive director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, the organization said that, “We encourage Mr Jibrin to tell Nigerians more about his allegations of systemic corruption in the House of Representatives. Mr Jibrin will be doing a positive act of ‘good citizenship’ by revealing how exactly is the House profiting from its investigative hearings and oversight functions; and disclosing the House’s internal budget.”

“Allegations of budget padding and fraud in the legislative functions threaten and harm the public interest, and may amount to crimes against humanity especially given the alleged systemic and widespread nature of the crimes in the House,” SERAP said.

According to SERAP, “We are seriously concerned that Mr Jibrin is not being appropriately treated or protected by the authorities to remedy the exposed threats or harm to him. No whistleblower should ever be penalised simply for making a public interest disclosure. SERAP strongly believes that every individual should feel safe to freely raise public interest concerns, just as Mr Jibrin has done in disclosing information on alleged budget padding and fraud in the House of Representatives.”

The statement reads in part: “Unless the government of President Muhammadu Buhari grants Mr. Jibrin the appropriate protection deserving of a whistleblower, encourage him to disclose corruption in the House’s investigative and oversight functions, and promptly act on those allegations, a significant opportunity to protect the public interest would be missed. Buhari should send a strong message that retaliation or victimisation of whistleblowers will not be tolerated under his watch.”

“As a matter of law, this government has an obligation to promptly investigate public interest disclosures by a whistleblower such as Mr Jibrin, and where necessary bring those suspected to be responsible to justice.”

“The primary focus shouldn’t be that Mr Jibrin broke ranks with an allegedly corrupt system in the House of Representatives within which he has operated for many years, but rather the public interest disclosures he has repeatedly made and promises to make.”

“Encouraging whistleblowers to speak up improves public services and strengthens public accountability. Therefore, it is in the interests of all Nigerians that allegations of corruption in the investigative hearings and oversight functions of the House of Representatives should be promptly revealed, investigated by an independent body and suspected perpetrators brought to justice.”

“By suspending Mr Jibrin, SERAP believes that the House of Representatives has acted improperly or attempted to cover up the alleged budget padding and fraud rather than promptly addressing it by referring the allegation to appropriate anti-corruption agencies and institutions such as the EFCC and the ICPC.”

“SERAP believes that the information being disclosed by Mr Jibrin amount to public interest disclosures and in fact can contribute to strengthening transparency and democratic accountability in the House of Representatives in particular and the country as a whole.”

“SERAP calls on the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to urgent propose a robust legislation on protection of whistleblowers in the country pursuant to Nigeria’s international human rights and anticorruption obligations and commitments, including the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party.”

“Suspension of Mr Jibrin by the House of Representatives amounts to retaliation. Mr Jibrin’s status as a whistleblower is not diminished even if the perceived threat to the public interest has not materialised, since he would seem to have reasonable grounds to believe in accuracy of the disclosures on alleged budget padding and fraud in the House of Representatives.”

“SERAP notes that freedom of expression is a constitutional and internationally recognized human right in Nigeria, and the country has enacted the Freedom of Information Act which grants Nigerians the right to seek and receive information such as the information about the massive corruption in the House of Representatives being disclosed by Mr Abdulmumin Jibrin.”

“SERAP believes that whistleblowing is very important in deterring and preventing corruption, and in strengthening democratic accountability and transparency in the country in general. Whistleblowing is indeed a fundamental aspect of freedom of expression and freedom of conscience and is important in tackling gross mismanagement of our commonwealth. Whistleblowing can act as an early warning to prevent damage as well as detect wrongdoing that may otherwise remain hidden.”

“Whistleblowing can also help ensure the effective compliance with Nigeria’s international anticorruption obligations by allowing those legally responsible for the alleged misconduct the opportunity to address the problem and to account for themselves, and by more readily identifying those who may be liable for any damage caused.”

“SERAP notes that the European Court of Human Rights has set out key conditions in the case of Guja v. Moldova [GC], no. 14277/04, ECHR 2008, to determine who is a whistleblower. These conditions were reiterated in the case of Heinisch v. Germany, no. 28274/08, ECHR 2011 (extracts) and again in Bucur and Toma v. Romania, no. 40238/02, 8 January 2013.”

“The first condition is whether the person who has made the disclosure had at his or her disposal alternative channels for making the disclosure. The second is the public interest in the disclosed information. The third is the authenticity, accuracy and reliability of the disclosed information. The fourth is the severity of the sanction imposed on the person who made the disclosure and its consequences. And finally whether the disclosure is made in good faith. All of these would seem to be present in this case. Therefore, SERAP believes that the public interest in this matter outweighs any perceived act of personal grievance by Mr Jibrin.”


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  • AbdulHamid Adiamoh

    I commend SERAP for this exhaustive analysis of the situation being discussed and fully associate myself with its recommendations. I also urge the Buhari government to do the right thing immediately by unleashing the necessary apparatuses of the state to bring the evil but age-long culture of budget padding and other institutionalized corrupt practices in both the House of Assembly and the Senate to a end.

  • kayode Olufade

    He, like most Nigerian politicians is using the information to blackmail the house and its members to bid to his conditions. His so called whistleblowing was and is self serving. Although whistleblowing under any circumstance is still whistleblowing but don’t expect the gentleman to play his ACE cards till need be because Nigerian politics has taught its students to hold their ACE cards till the dying minute