The Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ) a Warri-based Non-Governmental, not for profit organization, NGO, has called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to intensify its efforts at protecting whistle-blowers and stop money laundering and bribery in all sectors of the nation's economy.
CEPEJ's National Coordinator, Comrade Sheriff Mulade made the call and advised the FG to toughen the penalties for perpetrators or enablers of economic and financial crimes abroad.
He said Nigeria is a specific corruption risk because of the large number of international organisations and an outsized financial sector providing services for Nigerians who use public funds to enrich themselves.
He lamented that despite the success recorded by the government in the past years through the support of whistle blowers, it is indeed painful that till date there is no legal framework to protect whistle-blowers.
The NGO Coordinator noted that if the life of a whistle-blower is safe, it will encourage others to volunteer information to help in the battle against economic and financial corruption.
Comrade Mulade noted that corrupt citizens have taken advantage of the fact that whistle-blowers do not trust Federal Government agencies, and also explore the strong, deep-rooted cultural resistance of people who support wrongdoings.
He said whistle-blowers expose themselves to criminal prosecution or retaliatory measures if they make a report, as experience has shown in cases involving reported suspicions of financial offences and this has slowed down the rate at which whistle blowers helped to curb bribery and corruption.
Comrade Sheriff Mulade pointed out that absence of laws to protect whistle blowers has negatively affected the exposure of the secrets of banks and citizens involved in money laundering.
He alleged that widespread corruption in the NDDC has badly impacted on development projects meant to better people's lives, yet funds are still being allocated to the Commission yearly for the Niger Delta States.
On money laundering, CEPEJ welcomes the fact that whistle-blowers have reported an increased number of suspicious incidents in recent years but said the rate of whistle blowing decreased when citizens knew that their lives were not protected.
CEPEJ has therefore called on the Federal Government to look into the issue and ensure that a Law to protect whistle blowers is enacted.