The deployment of whistle-blowing policy resulted in a successful prosecution of some of the biggest corruption cases between 2003 and 2007, a former head of anti-graft EFCC has said.
Nuhu Ribadu, the pioneer head of the frontline anti-corruption outfit, implored Nigerians to embrace the tactics of whistle-blowing as a crucial means of combatting endemic corruption which he said had hindered the country’s growth for decades.
“Most of our successful cases were as a result of whistle-blowing,” Mr. Ribadu said at an anti-corruption parley in Abuja Tuesday.
The event was organised by the African Centre for Media & Information Literacy, AFRICMIL, in conjunction with House Committee on Financial Crimes, Socio-economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, and Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism, WSCIJ.
“The event is designed to interrogate the whistle-blower policy and engage critical stakeholders responsible for promotion of the policy and its implementation,” said Chido Onumah, the centre’s director.
Mr. Ribadu, who was removed as EFCC chairman by President Umar Yar’Adua in 2007, said the EFCC under him maximised the whistle-blowing measure to stymie corruption in public service, but praised the Buhari administration for adopting it as a state policy.
President Buhari embraced the policy in December 2016 with a promise of up to five per cent of recovered sum to potential whistle-blowers.
Nearly N400 million was paid out to 20 whistle-blowers in the first half of 2017, the government said in a statement in June.
But the policy had seen the government recover billions of naira that otherwise would have been difficult to recoup.
The policy was instrumental in the recovery of $9.7 million from a slum in Kaduna on February 9.
But the government had also earned criticism for making a media show of its recovery as well as reneging on its promise to pay whistle-blowers.
Earlier this month, legal representatives of a whistle-blower said to have informed the EFCC of the cash haul in an apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos, countered an initial claim by the EFCC acting-chairman, Ibrahim Magu, that he had been paid.
But Mr. Ribadu urged Nigerians to remain united and committed to the use of whistle-blowing as a crucial tool against sharp practices.
“Uniformity of purpose is needed to fight corruption,” Mr. Ribadu said.