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EFCC Raise Alarm Over Whistleblowing Decline Despite Handsome Reward Mechanism



By Praise Chinecherem

The Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) has bemoaned the declining rate of number of whistleblowers across the country despite handsome rewards offered to informants.

The Chairman of the Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa stated this on Thursday in Awka at a one day town hall meeting on strengthening the capacity of stakeholders on Whistleblowing policy.

Bawa, represented by Enugu Zonal Commander, EFCC, Oshodi Johnson recalled how the body was bombarded with deluge of information leading to recovery of humongous stolen public funds.

He listed some challenges undermining the policy effectiveness to include ignorance of its legal and administrative frameworks as well as difficulties of navigating the labyrinth of bureaucratic processes for claiming the advertised incentives. 

He said, “It is also not impossible that the few false informants who were prosecuted for wanting to turn a serious programme to memes, unnerved some other would-be informants.

“Whatever the challenges are, it is imperative that there is fresh awakening to sustain the flow of critical intelligence to Nigerian law enforcement agencies. 

“Recall almost with some sense of nostalgia, how a few years ago, precisely on December 21, 2016, the Federal Government Introduced the Whistle-blower Policy, which offered some incentives to citizens that provide information leading to the recovery of stolen public funds. 

“It was heralded by a frenzy of sorts with a deluge of information by informants, some of which led to the recovery of humongous sums by the EFCC.


“Two of the landmark recoveries from whistleblowers’ information were the $9.8m recovered from a former managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, and the $11million recovered at an apartment in Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos.

“After these landmark recoveries and a few others and notwithstanding the fact that those who came forward with useful information received handsome rewards, enthusiasm for the Policy appears to have waned a bit. 

“It would seem that the Policy is experiencing challenges that tend to undermine its effectiveness.  Several factors be responsible for this. But to my mind, the most obvious is lack of adequate understanding of the legal and administrative frameworks of the Policy and the difficulties of navigating the labyrinth of bureaucratic processes for claiming the advertised incentives. 

Bawa pledged the Commission’s willingness to partner with AFRICMIL and other community-based organizations in strengthening their capacities to identify and quickly report suspected cases of corruption in their communities. 

“This will include educating them on the rules and guidelines for whistleblowing and the procedures for processing of entitlements in the event of an information leading to the recovery of stolen funds.

“I want to assure you that the EFCC remains committed to the success of the Whistle blowing Policy which is a critical peg of the anti-corruption framework of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

“At the level of the EFCC, we have attempted to ease the process of whistleblowing with the creation of the Eagle Eye App, a unique economic crimes reporting application that allows informants to report cases without direct interface with officials of the commission.

“The app, which was created entirely by officers of the Commission and introduced into our law enforcement architecture in July 2021, has added a new and very interesting perspective to whistle-blowing in Nigeria. 

“I urge all those who are yet to make use of the application to download it into their phones and take advantage of its easy-to-use features.

Earlier, Coordinator, African Center For Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) Chido Onumah stressed that whistleblowing had proved to be the most direct method of exposing corrupt acts. 

Speaking through the Programmes Manager, Kola Ogunbiyi, Onumah identified early detection and exposure of mismanagement of public fund, bribery, fraud, theft of public funds and other illicit acts as effective strategy in the fight against corruption.

“We are both morally and legally bound as citizens not to keep silent or acquiesce to any act of corruption or wrongdoing whenever we see one. 

“Today, our mission is to make the CBOs, which have an enduring presence in the communities, a formidable collaborator in disavowing the negative culture of silence and embracing the more rewarding attitude of speaking out in the face of anything that could potentially harm or endanger their environments. 

“We all are aware that corruption thrives in multiple forms in our communities, but most visibly in the misappropriation of funds and abandonment of projects that could bring development and meaningfully turn around the lives of the people. 

“AFRICMIL will work with the CBOs to galvanize the mass of the people at the grassroots to adopt the culture of blowing the whistle by reporting these and other corrupt acts, as a way of fighting corruption in the country. 
“We look forward to a mutually beneficial outing. We thank MacArthur Foundation for making this meeting possible through its generous support.”

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