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Whistle-blowing: Another abandoned policy?

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whistle-blowerIt is a known fact that corruption and corrupt practices are part of what successive governments have been vowing to fight. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was established as part of efforts of curbing corruption and punishing culpable individuals who enrich themselves at the expense of the masses whom they claim to be serving. But the social menace, rather than diminish, is spreading across all sectors: private and public and within all the tiers of government. President Muhammadu Buhari rode to power with a promise to bring corruption to its knees and restore sanity that has long eluded the political arena. How he would go about it was not stated during the campaign.

The current administration tried to reduce the spate of corrupt practices through the Whistle-blowing Policy. The government needs tip-offs to remove the lid off the worm can. And rewards are given to the blowers of the whistle. When it took off, it looked like one of the best measures to nip corruption in the bud, to expose many skeletons kept in cupboards and deter the potential corrupt practitioners from looting the public funds. Stashed money in different currencies was uncovered during the heydays of the policy.

The finance minister, Kemi Adeosun while commenting on the success of the policy so far in April disclosed that about N123 billion had been retrieved. However, despite the effectiveness of the policy, it seemed to last, but for a while as it’s now losing the momentum and popularity that heralded it.

Yet, that was just a tip of the iceberg. More are yet to be unveiled. The Federal Government is resting on its oars, probably because what had been recovered had exceeded the expectation. So, the government has let the policy be.

The government thinks that corruption exists at the federal level alone. Attention is keenly put on “Abuja”. Efforts are not made to use the top-down approach. The states didn’t subscribe to the Federal Government policy of fighting corruption. The rot at the state level couldn’t be exposed. Even if the national government has exhausted the information received, the thirty-six states of the federation can take the policy up, execute it and take the fight to corruption.

People participate more when a programme is brought nearer to them. But the apparent exclusion or indifference of the states makes the policy now less popular or abandoned. Its limit to the Federal Government and its agencies reduces its longevity.

The policy is aimed at recovering funds, not to let the culpable individuals face the full wrath of the law. So, it wouldn’t be much surprising if the government should shelf the policy once a huge amount of money has been returned to the coffers of the government. Victory over the scourge shouldn’t be limited to recovery of funds alone, punishing of the culprits to serve as deterrent should be included. Besides, the Federal Government’s torch being used to search every nook and cranny doesn’t reach its own fold.

Timothy Faboade,

Ondo State.

The post Whistle-blowing: Another abandoned policy? appeared first on Tribune.

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