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ASSESSMENT OF THE WHISTLE BLOWER POLICY OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA: ISSUES, SOLUTIONS AND BENEFITS
1.0 Background to the Study
The evolution of the whistle blowing policy of the federal government in Nigeria
came as a result of the deepening financial crises confronting the nation which is the effect of high level of corruption reflected in the theft and diversion of public funds for personal enrichment at the detriment of the poor and vulnerable and the economic development of the nation.
The consequences of corruption exact a lot of negative impact on every aspect of the nation’s development: social, economic and political (Igbuzor, 2008). According to Ikubaje (2004). The effect of corruption has raised a global concern because of its effect on individual, institutions, and nations (Igbuzor, 2008).The Lima Declaration, states the impacts of corruption to include: the subversion of the rule of law, retardation of development, economic rights of the poor and vulnerable, destruction of the of the moral life of the people, violation of the social and undermining of democracy, and denial of society, particularly the poor, denial of the benefits of free and open competition (Igbuzor, 2008).
Corruption by every standard is by far the greatest problem confronting the modern Nigerian state aptly described as the worst form of human violation. Political or institutional corruption is believed to be mainly responsible for the decadence that pervades every strata of public life in Nigeria. From the administration of Sir Abubakar Tafa Belewa at Independence till the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the menace of corruption has resisted almost every attempt to mitigate it. The slogan: ‘if you fight corruption, corruption will fight back’ is very popular among administrators and political gladiators and has always been used as an excuse or justification for acquiescence or inaction by both the government and the citizenry on the exigency of prioritizing the ‘war against corruption’ in Nigeria (Buhari 2015) www.punchng.com).
Although various governments have tried in different ways and with different forms of legislation to contain the scourge of corruption, success has been slow in coming. It is estimated that Nigeria may have lost over $500 billion to graft and the looting of public treasury by government officials since independence (Taiwo, 2015). However, while the magnitude of the money lost so far is mind boggling, especially in a country where about 70% of the citizens still live below the poverty line, what is more worrisome is that a dangerous culture of graft and impunity has evolved, threatening to destroy the future and the foundation upon which a progressive Nigerian state can be built (www.vanguardngr.com). For the common man who is no longer able to pay the school fees of his children, get justice from the court, drink clean water, put a decent roof over his head or get the surgery that his wife badly needs to survive at the university teaching hospital, the cost of corruption is everywhere around him and continues to denigrate his existence.
The decay of public institutions and the deteriorating quality of public service affects the present population of Nigerians but also diminishes the prospects of a better future for the generations ahead. While most Nigerians agree that corruption is a disease that must be eradicated for the country to move forward, there is hardly any consensus on how the battle should be fought or even how success can be measured. Almost every policy of government since independence that was designed to fight corruption has been mired in controversy or undermined by the vocal elite, and sometimes by the misguided masses that are always ready to sell their proverbial birthright for a little piece of porridge. It is against this background that the whistle blowing policy of the present administration in Nigeria attracts the attention of this study.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The issues of corruption and other financial crimes has plagued the Nigerian economic system as well as political milieu for decades now. Corruption has led to the under developed nature of the Nigerian infrastructure and has led to the poor standard of living among the largely populated unemployed population of Nigeria.
Nigerians have long been confronted with the issue of corruption which has eluded the nation of great resources that would have been used for developing infrastructure and the improvement of the living standard of the people.
According to Mrs. Kemi Adeosun the former Nigerian Federal Minister of Finance, the basic objective of the policy is to facilitate the fight for the eradication of financial crimes and corruption, through the exposure of such financial crimes and the provision of rewards to whistle-blowers. Consequently the policy offers protection to whistle-blowers which covers them from harassment or intimidation by their employers or bosses. The benefit of the policy is believed will increase transparency and accountability in the management of public funds and the recovery of looted public fund for the deployment of infrastructural development. Which will enhance a corruption-free society and the attraction of foreign investors.
Some of the problems associated with the whistle blowing policy in Nigeria include the Administrative bottle neck Involved in the disbursement of financial reward to the whistle blower. A case in focus is the case of the Ikoyi whistle blowing which occurred in 2016. Which resulted in the recovery of over N13billion at Ikoyi Towers, Lagos, but which was engulfed in a law suit for government not paying the whistle blower the statutory 5% of the money recovered.
Therefore this research is to appraise the Assessment of the Whistle Blower policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to examine the whistle blowing policy of the present administration and its significance on the corruption level in Nigeria.
The subsidiary objectives that will guide the execution of this study include:
- To determine the extent to which the whistle blowing policy has been implemented by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
- To find out the level of impact of the whistle blowing policy on the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
- To identify the challenges and obstacles of the whistle blowing policy in Nigeria.
1.4 Research Questions
1. What is different about the federal Ministry of finance whistle blowing program (FMF and WBP)?
2. How does it differ from similar policies that have been tried before in Nigeria and in other jurisdiction without much success?
3. What are the controversies surrounding the conception and implementation of the policy so far?
4. What is the impact of the whistles blowing policy on the level of corruption in Nigeria
5. What are the challenges of the whistle blowing policy in Nigeria?
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study is an appraisal of the whistle blowing policy of the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Finance.
This research is significant to the general public because it will furnish the public with information that will help it in understanding the concept and practices of whistle blowing and how it helps the organization in particular and the society in general. The study shall undertake a detail appraisal of the whistles blowing policy and elucidate on its significance.
The study is significant to the banking industry, academia, and other industry managers in identifying the predictors of reporting intention. This helps in implementing appropriate measures to strengthen the positive factors affecting whistleblowing intentions. This study is expected to contributes to contemporary academic research on whistleblowing by offering insights into factors that promote and hinder whistleblowing intention in the Nigerian context, by going beyond the psychological factors researched extensively in the past, and by applying the cultural lens in understanding employees‟ behavioural intention. By promoting whistleblowing culture, the organisation is able to forestall losses and other risks. Findings from this study will also assist government executives (in formulating policies to support whistleblowing culture); legislature (in drafting and passing whistleblowing bills); and the judiciary (in protecting whistle-blowers); and finally, the general public benefits by understanding the concept and practices of whistleblowing, and how it helps the organisation in particular, and the society in general.
1.6 Research Hypothesis
1. There is more commitment on the part of the Federal Government towards the effective implementation of the whistle blowing policy.
2. The impact of the whistle blowing policy in Nigeria is high
3. the epidemic of corruption in Nigeria is being tamed by the Federal Government whistle blowing policy.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study proffers an Assessment of the Whistle Blower policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria: Issues, solutions and Benefits