By Ibrahim Magu
I am happy to be part of this important occasion, the unveiling of this laudable project of strengthening the federal government’s whistle blowing initiative. During his October 1 national broadcast, President Muhammadu Buhari once again highlighted the Whistle-Blower Policy as one of the administration’s new institutional reforms to eradicate corruption in Nigeria.
I, therefore, commend the African Centre for Media & Information Literacy for taking interest in this important aspect of the war against corruption. I want to also express gratitude to MacArthur Foundation for supporting the initiative.
This project and the whistle-blower policy underscore my repeated admonition to Nigerians to come together in dealing with the cankerworm of corruption. As I always say, the EFCC, and indeed all government institutions responsible for tackling corruption, cannot do it alone.
We at EFCC believe that we do not have a monopoly of knowledge. We cannot fight corruption alone. We need every Nigerian to come on board because the negative effect of corruption does not discriminate against ethnicity, religion or political affiliation. We need citizens to actively participate in the fight against corruption through volunteering information. Our singsong should be: “See something; say something.” We have no choice because as the president once reminded us, corruption is Nigeria’s number one enemy and if we don’t kill it, it will kill us.
I am glad to report that Nigerians have so far been very responsive. Despite the unholy alliances of the corrupt who are fighting back seriously, Nigerians from all walks of life have seen reasons why this war must be fought collectively and why corruption must be brought to its knees and those who feast in its temple are stopped and punished. This goodwill and the support and prayers of Nigerians continue to give us the strength needed to push this war.
At the EFCC, we have created an environment where those who have information about corrupt practices can approach the Commission to provide information, confident that the information they give us will be put into effective use. Moreover, since the commencement of the whistle-blower policy, we have received hundreds of actionable tips that led to the following cash recoveries: N527, 643,500; $53,222,747; GBP 21,222,890 and Euro 547,730.
Through this window, we have seen many Nigerians whose motivation was not just to benefit from the recoveries, as promised by the federal government, but the satisfaction of having to see that what was ill-gotten has been recovered for the good of all. Those in this category were motivated by their sense of justice and overriding national interest, not the financial reward. We urge more Nigerians to borrow a leaf from these patriotic individuals.
On our part, we have always treated every tip referred to us with strict sense of responsibility bearing in mind that such undertaking on the part of the whistle-blower is usually a matter of trust and even risk.
At the same time, we have been careful not to be used by mischief makers who would want to abuse this process. Let me reiterate that just as there is consequence for corruption, there will be consequence for those who want to take advantage of this noble initiative in the fight against corruption to create mischief. We have responded to this possibility by developing a water-tight mechanism of both reporting and crosschecking information.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me end my remarks by reiterating that we at EFCC welcome this initiative as we value working with the civil society as a vehicle to reach the rest of the citizens. It is our hope that through interventions like this we are going to speak with one voice against corruption and the corrupt, and jointly work to defeat the evil of corruption in Nigeria.
Mr. Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, gave this speech at the Unveiling of Corruption Anonymous, the Civil Society Whistleblower Support Initiative of the African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), Abuja, Thursday, October 12, 2017.