The whistleblowing by Sanusi Lamido on the NNPC for its non-remittance of $20 billion (N3.2 trillion) to the Federation Account has done the nation a lot of good by beaming light on the long suspected financial irregularities in the oil and gas sector and exposing a fraudulent defiance to a presidential directive in 2009 banning the payment of subsidy on Kerosene.
As a result of the whistleblowing, the House of Representatives will commence a kerosene subsidy probe on the 18th of February, 2014, but Nigerians are again skeptical of the outcome given that the last fuel subsidy probe by the House came to nothing after a lawmaker allegedly accepted a bribe to alter the findings of the investigating committee.
This whole situation has again put in focus the need for a whistleblower protection act. It is safe to say that if Sanusi had kept silent for fear of persecution because of the absence of a whistleblower protection, $20 billion -N3.2 trillion Naira (almost 70% of the amount budgeted for running the entire country in a year) would have remained unaccounted for, and “subsidy” for Kerosene would still be spent covertly by government officials.
On the other hand, if there was a whistleblower protection act before January 2012, someone in the Oil and Gas sector would perhaps have had the courage to alert the government and public of the billions of Naira lost to thieving oil marketers and accomplice government officials in the name of fuel subsidy payment. If there was a whistleblower protection act, Nigerians who mean to do well will joyfully expose corrupt practices in the public and private sector. Alas, there is no whistleblower protection act in Nigeria. How then can Nigerians who want to do right do so without jeopardizing their lives and everything they’ve worked for?
The Integrity Organization believes that all hope is not lost and there is an alternative in place even as we, Nigerians, put pressure on our representatives in the House of Reps and Senate to pass a whistleblower protection act. The alternative is www.egunje.info, an internet-based bribe payers reporting platform which allows people blow the whistle on corruption, anonymously. Nigerians need not wait to be in the office of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria before exposing actions that are against the wellbeing of ordinary Nigerians.
Start by reporting everyday cases of bribery and corruption on www.egunje.info. Again, for those who are afraid of retribution or victimization, stay rest assured that your identity will be protected. Sanusi has done his bit. We all should not hesitate to do ours and expose the corrupt in our country. The cost of silence is too much. It’s time to wake up!
By Integrity Nigeria