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Nigeria’s whistle-blowers and the fight against corruption

With the introduction of whistle-blowers into the fight against corruption, the Nigerian anti-graft agencies have recovered huge sums of money. While welcome and commendable, this hasn’t stopped people from asking President Muhammadu Buhari to probe members of his own party.

The fight against corruption since President Muhammadu Buhari took over power has seen revelations of unprecedented sums of money stolen from the state coffers. From the $2 billion arms scandal resulting in the arrest of many politicians who served under former president Goodluck Jonathan, the war against corruption has left many Nigerians shocked at the rampant theft by the elite.

More effort is being made to fight corruption, and the public has been involved in this fight. The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC), one of the anti-graft bodies in the countries, launched a mobile application called ‘Wahala Dey,’ a Nigerian Pidgin English phrase that means there is trouble. The chairman of the agency said the app will aid anonymous whistle-blowers to expose corrupt practices both within government and private parastatals.

Read: Nigeria government intensifies fight against corruption, arrests senior judges

In less than few months after the government passed a whistle blowing policy, $9.8 million was recovered from a building which belong to a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The sums of $9,772,800 and €74,000 were hidden in a fire proof safe. The whistle blowers got 5% of the recovered amount. This was the largest sum ever recovered by anti-graft agencies.

The oil sector, Nigeria’s major export produce, has long been riddled with corruption. The then Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke has also been under investigation and various properties have been seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

File photo: Anti corruption march, South Africa Photo: BBC

More recoveries followed, according to Sahara Reporters after three whistle-blowers gave information to the office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation. The biggest amount of $136,676,600.51 was recovered from an account in a commercial bank, where the money was kept under a fake account name.

This was followed by the recovery of N7 billion and $15 million from another person and 1 billion Naira from another.

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The recovered loot does not include the $9.2 million in cash allegedly owned by a former Group Managing Director of the NNPC, which was also a dividend of the whistle-blower policy. All the money recovered has so far totalled over $160 million.

The whistle-blowing policy is barely two months. The minimum percentage a whistle-blower gets is 2.5%, the maximum is 5%.

With many corruption cases going on, including that of a former Army officer Maj-Gen Atewe who was in charge of a military operation and embezzled to the tune of N8.5bn, Nigerians are bound to start their days with more shocking revelations of the corruption.

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