An Abuja based pro-democracy group dedicated to advocating for integrity, justice, probity and transparency in public offices, Global Integrity Crusade Network (GICN), has condemned in strong terms the incessant attempt by some people described as blackmailers, who are hell bent on tarnishing the image of the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele under the guise of whistle-blowing.
Speaking with newsmen on Sunday, the Chairman Board of Trustees/President of the group, Barrister Edward Omaga noted with bitterness that a group of disgruntled Nigerians masquerading as anti-corruption activists have been doing everything possible to distract the CBN Governor from the onerous task of ensuring stability in the financial system, and indeed the economy, at this crucial time.
Omaga wondered how some persons who neither work with anti-graft agencies nor have any business with private investigation could falsely allege on different occasions that Emefiele and other officials of the apex bank connived to steal billions of naira.
It may be recalled that sometime in May, 2019 a press statement was issued by a faceless whistleblowing organization with the aim of impugning the character of the CBN Governor that he was responsible for a missing $2.5 Billion – an amount so staggering that it stirred serious controversy in the polity.
Within the same month, a doctored telephone conversation was published to deceive Nigerians into believing that Mr. Emefiele and his Deputy, Edward Lametek Adamu were discussing how to cover up the loss of over N500 Billion stolen from Central Bank of Nigeria in a private investment that failed.
But Omaga said subsequent audit reports however showed that no money was actually missing from the Central Bank, making it obvious that all the allegations peddled by carriers of the fake news were unrealistic and mere figments of their imagination.
He said that some self-acclaimed whistle-blowers survive by spreading fake news around public officials to extract money from them or drag their names to the mud is a well-known fact.
“In 2015, it was alleged that the then EFCC Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde siphoned a whooping sum of N1 Trillion generated from recovered government funds and assets. Later on, the table turned around as the person who blew the ‘whistle’ was convicted and sentenced to three years imprisonment by Justice S.A. Aladetoyinbo of the FCT High Court for stealing assets, including six units of operational vehicles, belonging to the Police Equipment Foundation (PEF).
“There is no doubt that the choice of reappointing Mr. Godwin Emefiele as the Governor of Central Bank for a second term is nothing but perfect. Little wonder, his reappointment was heralded by accolades and jubilation from members of the ruling and opposition parties alike.
“GICN is convinced that President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR is indeed resolute in his resolve to reposition Nigeria on the path of economic prosperity, whilst making sure that the disease called corruption is completely eradicated from the country. It is therefore imperative that Nigerians should rally round Mr. Emefiele to succeed rather than yielding to the malicious tendencies of people who have no word such as ‘integrity’ in their dictionaries.
“At every point in time, media practitioners should differentiate between sincere whistleblowing and sheer blackmail. This calls for exercise of due diligence and caution in verifying stories before rushing to publish them.
“The intention of the Federal Government of Nigeria when the Whistleblowing Policy was framed is to eradicate corruption and not for settlement of personal scores. Other sister Civil Society Organizations, people of goodwill and the international community are enjoined to join hands with Mr. President as he strives to take Nigeria to the Next Level.”
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