AFRICMIL, PRIMOG organise workshop on protection of Whistleblowing in Nigeria

African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) recently organised a workshop for Journalists in Abuja to ensure the protection for whistleblowers who face attacks for reporting corruption and other wrongdoing.

The workshop which was tthemed, “The Role of Journalists in Promoting Whistleblowing and Whistleblower Protection in Nigeria” was in collaboration with PRIMOG in Abuja.

The Coordinator, AFRICMIL, Dr Chido Onumah, explained that “Since 2017, under a project called Corruption Anonymous (CORA) a project supported by the MacArthur Foundation and we have built strategic alliances across sectors.

“We have been working with the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA), a unit in the Federal Ministry of Finance, and other relevant stakeholders to promote the whistleblowing policy introduced in 2016.

“As part of the activities for achieving a desirable outcome, AFRICMIL has, over the last four years, organized training programmes and stakeholders’ meetings at different times with all institutions with which we have a collaboration.

“It is in furtherance of deepening this component of activities for this project that this media workshop was organised with the aim to facilitate among journalists a better understanding of the concept of whistleblowing as a good governance tool.”

Onumah said that the centre believed that by the nature of what journalists do,they cannot be separated from whistleblowers.

He said this was because both of them.were dedicated to holding power to account by bringing up the facts.

“In this era when information is proving more difficult to find, it is only whistleblowers who can comfortably maneuver and supply the information journalists need.

“But for the relationship between the two to be effective, journalists must understand the risks whistleblowers face and do their best to protect them.

“The workshop is expected to be an interactive session.We expect that at the end of the workshop, we will all be the richer for it,”he said.

Onumah expressed hope that the journalists would have a stronger resolve to protect compatriots who become victims of impunity and abuse of power only because they made disclosures against corrupt and other illegal practices that threaten society’s wellbeing.

The Deputy Director,
Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA), Mr Johnson Oludare in his presentation on Understanding Nigeria’s Whistleblowing Policy, said the policy yielded great benefits at inception.

Oludare however, said that participation began to dwindle overtime due to lack of legal framework to protect whistleblowers,fear of victimisation, inadequate compensation among others .

He said that to ensure a more robust whistle blower policy, the public and civil societies should take ownership of the policy and drive it and there should be be a legal framework for the policy.

He encouraged journalists to equip themselves with the relevant available laws so as to guide and advice whistleblower accordingly.

The Executive Director ,Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development Mr Agbonsuremi Okhiria in his paper presentation on “The Role of Journalists in Promoting Whistleblowing and Whistleblower Protection in Nigeria”urged journalists to play their watchdog role with ethics and professionalism.

Okhiria called on journalists to use their different platforms to advocate for the legislation of a bill for the protection of whistleblowers.

He said that while asking the government to protect the whistleblowers, journalists should also ensure confidentiality of the whistleblower and the disclosure made for reportage.

He called on journalists to play their role as rhe fourth estate of the realm by holding government to account and carry out investigative reports to speak truth to power.