Where are the whistles now?
At the dawn of Mr. Muhammadu Buhari`s administration as president of the country in 2015, Nigerians were whipped into a frenzy by the concept of whistleblowing.
As part of the administration`s anti-corruption agenda, people who knew about the corrupt and their proceeds were encouraged to come forward with vital information. Handsome rewards as well as watertight protection were promised them.
Then EFCC Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, who has since become a victim of the crocodile he once fattened with the flesh of others, was particularly enthusiastic about the prospects ofthe policy.
On their own part, the professional propagandists of the administration were feverish with excitement as they inundated Nigerians with the mammoth sums the strategy was able to rake inand the spectacular manner in which it hadcorruption on the run, all as part of the broader goal of letting Nigerians know that their clean-as-a-whistle president was keeping a key election promise.
But Nigerians, ever discerning, always had one question on their lips: where were all the sums the servants of the administration were bandying?
Nigerians also knew to ask if Peterwas not being robbed to pay Paul?
Now, in his second term in office, both the whistleblowing policy and the flagship anti-corruption agenda of Mr. Buhari`s administration appear to have petered out.
In its place is the familiar skepticism and cynicism that dogged previous anti-corruption efforts in Nigeria.
What then is the fate of the anti-corruption war in Nigeria?
From the beginning, there was always the nagging feeling that the tall tale about fighting corruption was a premeditated scheme to hunt down the opponents of the new government.
It always felt like it as manyof those hounded were predominantly members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party who refused to jump their sinking ship.
Those who jumped ship to the All Progressives Congress have remained relatively untouched. Today, fastened to the backs of their broom-wielding baby-sitters by the rags of nepotism, Nigeria`s point-and-kill prosecutors conveniently choose not to see them.
Just when will fighting corruption in Nigeria transcend the puerile politics of decimating the opposition.
When will fighting corruption in Nigeria be about recovering from Nigeria`s Barabbas what should go to vulnerable Nigerians?
But how about the whistleblowers? How safe are they in Nigeria? With the descent Nigeria makes everyday into the doldrums of insecurity, can the safety of those who expose corruption be guaranteed?
There is every reason for reticence and reluctance because these days, once hapless Nigerians are cut down by bullets of indeterminate origins, bushels of blame are ladled out between the government and the many terror groups terrorizing the country.
At the end of the day, even the dead cannot rest in peace as their names are etched into the buck passed between government and terrorists.
It appears the framework is feeble. As per Wikipedia,whistleblowing policy in Nigeria is an anti-corruption programme that encourages people to voluntarily disclose information about fraud, bribery, looted government funds, financial misconduct, government assets and any other form of corruption or theft to Nigeria`s Federal Ministry of Finance.
A whistle-blower who provides information about any financial management or tip about any stolen funds to the ministry`s portal is rewarded or entitled to 2.5% -5% percentage from the recovered funds by the Nigeria government. The policy was launched on December 21,2016 by Nigeria`s Federal Government and facilitated through the Federal Ministry of Finance.
Millions of naira have been recovered as a result of the policy even if Nigerians have openly questioned their whereabouts. However, with each passing day, the zeal with which Nigerians embraced the policy flags, replaced by apathy.
There is also the question of the protection available to those who expose corruption in Nigeria, and it is a very valid question indeed.
It is no secret that corruption permeates many aspects of life in Nigeria.The hydra-headed monster runs loose in many Nigerian institutions. So many people are involved in one way or the other.
This makes every attempt to weed out corruption and whittle down its effects a very dangerous endeavor because as Nigeria`s different prosecutorial agencies have testified, corruption always fightsback.
In this wise, every day Nigerians who have seen their opportunitiesat a better life evaporate under the searing heat of corruption must themselves take responsibility to say something and do something when theysee something.
Of course, the risk is manifold but to do nothing is an even greater risk.