Whistle blowers under threat

Posted by News Express | 13 June 2017 | 1,571 times

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•AFRICMIL Co-ordinator Chido Onumah.

The Africa Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), a civil society organisation working on building support for the whistle-blower policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria, is deeply worried over the dismissal of another whistle blower by yet another government agency, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria. “The sack of Murtala Ibrahim, an auditor in the bank, for blowing the whistle and refusing to cover up a contract scam and manufactured financial report of the bank, is yet another slap on the government’s whistle blower policy,” AFRICMIL said in a statement issued on Monday in Abuja.

Co-ordinator of AFRICMIL, Chido Onumah said the sack of Mr. Ibrahim “is one case too many coming at a time when another whistle blower, Mr. Ntia Thompson is still battling for reinstatement several months after his sack and over two months since his recommended reinstatement by the Head of Service of the Federation.” 

 The statement frowned at what it called “obvious witch-hunt of the whistle blower” by transferring him from the headquarters to a branch in one of the states. AFRICMIL said the victim was then issued a query “which cautioned him for doing his official work, and when they couldn’t fault his explanation, the bank went on to dismiss Mr. Ibrahim for the ridiculous reason that his service was no longer needed.”

AFRICMIL demanded immediate reinstatement of the whistle blower while urging Mr. Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Works, Power and Housing, the supervising Minister of the bank, to order a thorough investigation of the scandal.

On the case of Mr. Thompson, AFRICMIL noted that two separate letters from the Office of the Head of Civil of the Federation (OHCSF), signed by Mrs. Nuratu Batagarawa, Permanent Secretary, Service Policies and Strategies Office, were addressed to Ambassador Sola Enikanolaye, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, asking him to take urgent action on the whistleblower’s case.

The organisation expressed regret over the failure of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to comply with the directive of the OHCSF requesting that Mr. Thompson be recalled and all disciplinary procedures suspended pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation of the case of fraud at the Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa (DTCA) by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC). Onumah observed: “The last letter, dated April 5, 2017 made it clear to Ambassador Enikanolaye that by the provisions of the Public Service Rules (PSR), the offences alleged to have been committed by Mr. Thompson were not punishable by retirement from service.”

AFRICMIL unreservedly extended gratitude to the OHCSF for promptly wading into the matter by calling for the immediate reinstatement of Mr. Thompson and reiterating its commitment to safeguarding the policy of government on the protection of whistleblowers by directing its full implementation by all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government.

“We hereby call on the Federal Government to take decisive action on the safety of whistle blowers. If government cannot protect internal whistle blowers, what more can be expected for outsiders and other Nigerians?,” AFRICMIL wondered. It further stated: “Instead of persecution or victimisation, whistle blowers like Mr. Thompson and Ibrahim ought to be rewarded for their acts of patriotism”

 


Source: News Express

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