By TAOFEEK LAWAL, Abuja –
The media has been commended for its crucial role in the anti-corruption war being championed by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The commendation came at one-day media workshop organized by Africa Centre for Media and Information in conjunction with Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism tagged ‘Media Dialogue on Whistleblowing Policy.’
Speaking at the workshop with the theme, “Fight against corruption in Nigeria: One year after the Whistleblowing policy”, the managing editor, northern operations, The Nation newspaper, Alhaji Yusuf Alli and a former editor of LEADERSHIP newspaper, Ms Catherine Agbo, said there were more whistles to be blown by the media saying the media has been in the frontline of whistleblowing in Nigeria from time immemorial.
They cited the cases of Barugate involving the group managing director of the NNPC, Mr Maikantu Baru and grasscuting which involved the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), David Babachir Lawal but which the federal government is dragging its feet on. They argued that the attitude of the Federal Government to whistleblowing is not encouraging saying government needs to do more to convince Nigerians that it is serious about fighting corruption.
Alli however called for a law or policy that will protect the lives of whistleblowers from harm or danger from those who are exposed. He also called for transparency on the part of the government and advised the whistleblowers to come out with tangible facts before exposing any corrupt person.
According to Ms Agbo, the media is categorically whistleblowing industry as it exposes the ills and corruption in both government and private institutions. She added that whistleblowers believed they are safe with the media who keeps them anonymous and exposed when they report anything to the government apparently due to lack of trust.
Others who spoke at the event called on the Federal Government to publish the names of persons found guilty of corruption and the amount recovered.
The coordinator, African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRIMIL), Mr Chido Onumah, said the workshop was to draw attention to corruption issues and encourage continuous discourse against it to reduce it to the barest level.
“It is a disservice to the fight against corruption if names of corrupt people are not published. I don’t know anybody in this country who will not want to make public the names of corrupt people. The message is for Nigerians to all join hands to fight it and make it history in the country,’’ Onumah said.