Attorney-General urges NASS to pass whistle-blower bill

By The Citizen

The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), her urged the National Assembly to urgently pass the pending Proceeds of Crime and Whistle-blower bills to enhance the fight against corruption.

The Special Adviser to the AGF on Media and Publicity, Mr. Salihu Isah, said in a statement on Wednesday that Malami made the plea when he appeared on a live programme on the Nigerian Television Authority in Abuja on Tuesday.

According to Isah, the NTA programme was designed to focus on the whistle-blowing policy of the Federal Government.

While responding to a question on the live programme, Malami was said to have appealed to the National Assembly 'to expedite action towards the passage of the bills as that will engender increased citizen participation in the anti-graft war and whistle- blowing activities.'

Malami was said to have stressed that the law would carry more weight than the policy statement currently in force.

He expressed dissatisfaction over the long stay of the Proceeds of Crime and Whistle-blower bills before the National Assembly, explaining that if passed by the legislature, the laws would have provided a legal backing to the Federal Government's whistle-blowing policy.

He added, 'So far, the only safeguard for whistle-blowers rests on the political will.

'The agencies involved in prosecuting the anti-graft war are keying into the understanding of protecting whistle-blowers.'

He noted that Nigerians were beginning to appreciate the public interest in the process, noting that it had got to a level where close relations were now blowing the whistle on their allies.

'The policy is being accommodated wholeheartedly by Nigerians,' the minister said.

Malami pointed out that Nigeria participated in the last year's London summit on anti-corruption war and had joined the Open Government Partnership to enhance the fight against corruption.

He said the Federal Government had demonstrated the political goodwill 'aimed at exposing corruption and mismanagement of public resources.'

Responding to another question, the minister explained that whistle-blowers could report allegations with criminal elements to his office or such information could be routed through other anti-graft agencies.

He added that the Federal Ministry of Justice was collaborating with other anti-graft agencies to ensure that justice was done to the report and the reporter.

The minister equally said that the federal ministries of justice and finance were working on a document to eliminate the bottlenecks associated with reporting criminalities and administrative ills.

He said, 'The single deed document is being developed to save whistle-blowers of the tripartite process of reporting criminalities and administrative ills.'