Governor Chukwuma Soludo, of Anambra State, has promised to implement the Federal Government Whistleblowing Policy in the state, ANAMBRA PEOPLE reports.
He said the Policy will help his administration to promote transparency, accountability and good governance.
He also promised to reward any law abiding citizen, who evidently exposed any corrupt government officials, contractors and other elective leaders in the state.
He said the whistleblowers would also be given adequate government protection.
He noted that the reward will depends on the nature of the case.
Soludo, who disclosed this through the Transition Committee Chairman of Aguata Council Area of the State, Dr. Chibueze Ofobuike, during a one-day stepdown training/meeting on strengthening the capacity of stakeholders on the Whistleblowing Policy, held at the Council Secretariat conference hall, Ekwulobia, on Tuesday, in turn, warned them to be sure of what they are blowing the whistle on.
While describing the policy as a welcome development, Dr. Ofobuike, charged the participating stakeholders to be bold enough to expose any corrupt public officeholders, contractors, politicians, community President Generals and other elective officers of any wrongdoing in their various Constituencies.
He informed the stakeholders that governor Soludo, is interested on the programme in the state, being a true Democrat. And that he has promised to implement the policy in his administration to help promote transparency, accountability and good governance.
In his address, the organiser and Coordinator of the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), Dr. Chidi Onuma, said AFRICMIL in collaboration with International Peace and Civil Responsibility Centre (IPCRC), said the aimed of the programme was to train people at the rural areas who would volunteer and bold enough to monitor Constituency and government projects and report any wrongdoing, if any, to anti-graft agencies; EFCC, ICPC, AFRICMIL or the State disgnated anti-graft agency for prompt action.
Dr. Onuma, who was represented at the training, by the Senior Programme Officer of AFRICMIL, Mr. Godwin Onyeacholem, told the trained whistleblowers that their reports should be true, factual and with evidence to back it up, to avoid reprisal.
He said they can equal report anonymously via www.partnersunited.org
He also assured them of 100 percent protection from AFRICMIL.
According to Onyeacholem, AFRICMIL, is a non-governmental organization focusing on media, information research, advocacy and training. It aims to promote media and information Literacy as a key component in the enhancement of democracy and good governance, and the promotion of accountability and orderly society.
“Since 2017, AFRICMIL, has been working on a project tagged Corruption Anonymous (CORA), which is supported by The John D. and Catherine T. MacAthur Foundation. The project is designed to build public confidence and support for the whistleblowing policy of the government of Nigeria. And in a bid to ensure a successful implementation of the CORA project, AFRICMIL, has build strategic alliances with relevant stakeholders, like the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA), a unit in Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning that is charged with the responsibility of managing the Whistleblowing Policy, the anti-corruption agencies, civil society organisations, a coalition of public interest Lawyers and of course, the media, he added.
The Chairman, Anambra Civil Society Network (ACSONET), Prince Chris Azor, who also spoke at the event, while commending governor Soludo, for providing a conducive environment for the programme, noted that a lot needed to be done in terms of the protection of whistleblowers across the country.
“According to him, people are worried that whistleblowers don’t have adequate protection, not necessarily protection in terms of their lives, but also loss of jobs.
“We need to ensure that public servants and community volunteers are given adequate protection, especially in terms of job security because if people know that they will lose their jobs, they will not be inclined to whistle blowing policy”
“The whistle-blowing policy could be a powerful tool in the hands of Nigerians when the gaps were filled because government could not be everywhere.
“It is the individuals who know their communities, LGAs, State and the many wrongdoings going on there. So, we empower people through information, through creating a platform that they have confidence in.
“They need to know that if they report any case, their lives will be protected, their jobs will be secured and ultimately nobody is going to punish them for the action they have taken. And I strongly believe, it will help in creating confidence in the system, Azor explained.
The one-day training programme with the Theme; Community Based Organisations As Change Agents In Promoting Whistleblowing, attracted participants across the three Senatorial District of the State.
ANAMBRA PEOPLE gathered that the Whistleblowing Policy was introduce in 2016 by the Federal Government, aim to increase exposure of financial crimes; support the fight against financial crimes and corruption; improve level of public confidence in public entities and enhance transparency and accountability in the management of public funds.