Fight against corruption: CSOs reiterate their call to the 9th Assembly to adopt a law on whistleblowing

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… urge Nigerians to report corruption through the CORA platform

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have once again called on the Ninth National Assembly (NASS) to swiftly enact whistleblower legislation in Nigeria before the end of their term in May 2023.
Just three weeks ago, the African Center for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) partnered with the Shehu Musa Yar’adua Foundation (SMYF) to launch the whistleblower platform Corruption Anonymous (CORA ) specifically for Nigerians to report corruption or other forms of wrongdoing by citizens. .
So far, CSOs and well-meaning Nigerians have implored President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for national whistleblowing legislation, after establishing a whistleblowing policy in 2016.
The latest calls for the executive and legislative branches of the federal government to work together and enact whistleblower legislation came on an anti-corruption radio show, PUBLIC CONSCIENCE, produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG, Wednesday in Abuja.
During the program, AFRICMIL’s Senior Program Officer, Godwin Onyeacholem, expressed his optimism that the Senate led by Ahmed Lawan and the House of Representatives led by Femi Gbajabiamila will harmonize and pass bills on the denunciation on the ground if only they are ready to do so. .
Onyeacholem revealed that the lack of law, lack of consequences for actions, protection of whistleblowers and failure of the government to take prompt action on reports of corruption are some of the significant challenges facing faces whistleblowing politics and have continued to widen the trust gap between citizens. and the government. They added that the CORA platform seeks to support the government’s anti-corruption fight by providing citizens with a safe way to report acts of corruption without fear of reprisal.
While blaming the Buhari-led government for its lack of political will to give legislative impetus to whistleblowing, Onyeacholem said, “If the government wants a whistleblowing law today, it’s about calling on the leaders of the two legislative chambers and to have them pass the bill. in the law. It’s possible.
“There is a problem of trust between citizens and the government; Since the beginning of democracy, the deficit of trust has been steadily decreasing and people are afraid to say that they want to report acts of corruption to government institutions because the lack of trust continues to exist. With a civil society initiative like this (CORA), we think people will be interested in providing information. »
Onyeacholem urged citizens to consider the act of whistleblowing as a responsibility and take advantage of the protection guaranteed by the CORA platform. He added that CORA welcomes reports of financial fraud or corruption by officials and other forms of wrongdoing.
For her part, Program Manager at the Yar’adua Foundation, Shayo Samuel, advised the ninth NASS to enact a law on reporting their legacy with less than a year remaining in their tenure while lamenting that the absence law continues to deter many Nigerians willing to blow the whistle against corruption.
She instructed citizens to do everything possible to ensure the right thing was done.
“The National Assembly should leave a legacy for Nigerians so that they have a tool to use to hold duty bearers accountable as the lack of this legislative support prevents a lot of people from coming forward to say things about wrongdoing issues.
“So I think it’s a question of political will, and maybe it’s not a priority at the moment, but I think it should be because it’s a legacy that I think that they will want to leave behind,” Samuel said.
According to Samuel, the CORA platform is user-friendly and available not only for whistleblowers or reports of corruption in the public service, but also for wrongdoings perpetrated by citizens in their daily lives. While assuring that CORA managers will ensure that action is taken against corruption reports filed.
Explaining the practicability of the CORA platform, she said, “The CORA platform is currently domiciled on an online web portal called Partners United.
“When you visit www.partnersunited.org/whistleblowing, you’ll be able to access the whistleblowing form, and it’s filled with a lot of simple questions, basically trying to figure out what the incident is that you’re trying to report and who the person is. try to report, you can give details of the nature of the incidence – it covers embezzlement, misappropriation of funds up to some administrative issues in the private and public sectors.
“When you fill out the form, you get a token that you can use to track the progress of the application as AFRICMIL runs it in the background, and we will help users stay anonymous. However, you can choose not to stay anonymous. In 5 minutes you’re done,” she said.
Recall that earlier this year, President Buhari wrote to the House of Representatives to consider and pass the Proceeds of Crime Bill, the Denunciation Bill and the Witness Protection Bill. .
PRIMORG had also used different forums to urge the ninth NASS to pass whistleblower bills.
Public Conscience is a weekly anti-corruption radio program used by PRIMORG to draw the attention of government and citizens to corruption and integrity issues in Nigeria.
The program is supported by the MacArthur Foundation.

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