Presidency Seeks To Strengthen Whistle-blower Policy

Presidency Seeks To Strengthen Whistle-blower PolicyThe Presidency has commenced efforts to strengthen the mechanism of the Whistle-blower Policy, following breakthroughs recorded in the war against corruption and unaccounted wealth.

According to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, the enthusiastic response of Nigerians to the Whistle-blower Policy has boosted the tempo of the anti-corruption crusade of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

He told State House correspondents on Wednesday that the government is considering ways of enhancing the structural capacity of the whistle-blower mechanism.

Mr Shehu noted that government is also considering empowering the mechanism by either bringing it under the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), or some other body to imbue the process with a strategic national purpose.

“In a word, government thinks that the whistle-blower mechanism is too important to be left without a strategic, national direction,” he observed.

Worst Betrayal Of Voters’ Mandate

The President’s spokesman commended the zeal and patriotism of Nigerians for responding positively to the whistle-blower incentive policy, aimed at exposing hidden looted funds across Nigeria.

According to him, “no public policy can succeed or go far enough without public support and participation”, and “when the citizens realise they are victims of corruption, they may feel encouraged to join the efforts to expose looted funds”.

Mr Shehu explained that the recovery of huge amounts of looted funds through the efforts of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and whistle-blowers “is a revelation about the mindless, callous and reckless scale on which Nigeria had been robbed by unpatriotic and egregiously selfish public officials”.

He said President Buhari’s election in 2015 was “a divine intervention in response to the desperate cries of Nigerians for urgent change”, adding that “stealing by officials under a democratic government at the expense of people’s welfare is worst betrayal of voters’ mandate”.

Presence Of Illegal Weapons

The President’s spokesman also disclosed that government was getting suggestions to bring the issue of illegal weapons in the hands of citizens that are used to fuel intra and inter-communal violence under the purview of the Whistle-blower Policy.

“Yes, it is true, the Presidency has received suggestions that call for the Whistle-blower Policy to be extended to the possession of illegal weapons by powerful individuals in the country.

“The government will look at all that and make a pronouncement. Nigerians would be encouraged to expose the presence of illegal weapons in the homes of powerful politicians and other public figures who may use those deadly arms for sinister political agenda,” he said.

Shehu stressed that those exposing looted funds deserve all the encouragement and protection to sustain their enthusiasm, with a view to encouraging more citizens to participate in what he called the “major aspect of the anti-corruption crusade”.

Commending Nigerians for their support, the Buhari administration assured the citizens that all recovered funds would be applied to their welfare and happiness, adding that no country can achieve progress with corruption.

NDDC Denies Buying Cars Worth Over N1bn

NDDC Denies Buying Cars Worth Over N1bnThe management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has denied the allegations of procurement of over 70 luxury cars each costing tens of millions of Naira, made by the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Professor Itse Sagay.

In a statement issued on Thursday by the Head of Corporate Affairs at the NDDC, Chijioke Amu-Nnadi, the commission denied making such purchases since its current governing board assumed office on November 4, 2016.

According to the statement, the NDDC Chairman, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, and the Managing Director/CEO, Nsima Ekere, as well as the two Executive Directors are still using their private vehicles three months after assumption of duties.

The statement added that the agency is only now in the process of acquiring work vehicles.

The NDDC said it is adhering strictly to due process which includes seeking approval of the Federal Executive Council, expressing its readiness to open its books for audit at any time.

The statement read: “The NDDC is only now in the process of acquiring work vehicles, and is adhering strictly to due process. These include five (5) Toyota Prado jeeps, 10 Toyota Hilux trucks, four (4) Toyota Land Cruiser jeeps, one (1) Toyota Coaster bus and two (2) Toyota Hiace buses.

“The Commission has just received the Due Process Compliance Certificate from the Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, and is preparing the mandatory memo for the approval of the Federal Executive Council.

Doing What Is Right

“We wish to restate that the current Board and Management of the NDDC is committed to making its transactions transparent, by adhering strictly to processes and procedures of government, as espoused in the Board’s 4-R Initiative of restoring the Commission’s core mandate, restructuring the balance sheet, reforming our processes and reaffirming a commitment to doing what is right and proper at all times in facilitating the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region.

“In this regard, the Commission is also partnering with Bureau for Public Service Reforms (BPSR), Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and Open Government Partnership (OGP) to improve the Commission’s governance systems, procurement and project implementation processes, in order to plug all loopholes and systematically eliminate all incidences of mismanagement and corruption.

“NDDC is always ready to open its books for audit. We are also committed to responding to all inquiries from well-meaning individuals and groups seeking clarification on rumours and possible false information.

“While asking for support from all stakeholders to enable the Commission succeed in the ambitious task of reforms, the New NDDC is evolving as a responsible public institution and members of the public should feel free to get authentic information on its activities to avoid sensationalism”.