A community leader in Awkuzu, Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State, Chief Mrs Goodluck Ogbogu has urged people of the State to take advantage of whistle blowing policy to hold public office holders accountable.
Ogbogu stated this during a step-down training for some CBOs on Whistleblower policy as a tool for fighting corruption at Awkuzu organised by African Centre For Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) funded by McArthur Foundation.
She however said the policy was not a license to blackmail or indict political leaders.
She explained that despite the rewards attached to the policy, it could not compared with the benefit of making people execute maximally the jobs they were elected to do.
She said, “I don’t want people to attach much importance to the financial gains in whistle blowing. What is important is that ills are corrected and corrupt officials are exposed.
“What is important is stopping people from cheating, embezzlement, Nigeria is known to be among the most corrupt country in the world. The financial gain is nothing to compared with stopping corruption.
“Yes, people fear they might be victimized or punished for saying the truth. But if we continue to be afraid of the consequences, then the country will continue to be in a mess. The best is to say the truth and damn the consequences.
“Again, you don’t go confronting and fighting anybody, just make sure you’re saying the truth and not smearing someone’s name simply because you want to blow whistle.”
Describing the workshop as apt and timely in view of the level of corruption in Nigeria, Ogbogu said anything that would aid the society in shunning fraudulent activities should be encouraged.
“When those who are appointed into positions of authority are aware that they’re being monitored, and would be made to face the consequences of his actions, they’ll sit up.”
A university don, Prof. Mercy Anigbogu said there were other vices affecting public safety and inhibiting development in the community other than financial corruption.
Anigbogu of the Faculty of Education, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka urged the trainees to use their knowledge of principles of the whistleblower to report corruption and other socially unacceptable behaviours including gender violence, child right abuse and drug intake.
She urged them to endeavour to maintain their anonymity status while giving out factual, verifiable and public interest information.
Earlier, Senior Programme Officer, AFRICMIL, Mr Godwin Onyeacholem argued that revealing corrupt practices at homes, communities and others would help to sanitise the system, as well as bring massive development.
Onyeacholem, who spoke on behalf of the Coordinator of AFRICMIL, Dr Chido Onumah, said the training was part of the organization’s programme that focused on media, information, research, advocacy and training, with a view to enhance democracy, good governance, promotion of accountability and orderly society.
“As we all are aware, combating corruption through early detection and exposure of mismanagement, bribery, fraud, theft of public funds and other illicit acts is an effective strategy in the fight against corruption.
“Whistleblowing has proven to be the most direct method of exposing corrupt acts. We want to ensure that people across communities are aware.
” We want them to understand that corruption is what made their lives miserable. It is a common knowledge that the rural dwellers feel both the pains and gains of poor or good governance than others.
“They should try as much possible to report corruption to change our society. This is why we introduced the citizen based platform through which people can make their reports anonymously without fear or favour,” he added.
Contributing, a Development expert and Chairman, Anambra State Civil Society Network, Prince Chris Azor commended the trainees for their active participation, stressing that inculcating the principles would result to better governance delivery in the communities.