Government & Politics

Senate moves to protect whistle-blowers, witnesses


The Senate on Wednesday referred bills seeking to protect whistle-blowers and witnesses to its committee on judiciary.

The upper legislative chamber voted overwhelmingly for the bills to pass second reading.

The bills, entitled ‘An Act to protect persons making disclosures for public interest’ and ‘An Act to provide for the establishment and operation of a programme to enable certain persons to receive protection in relation to certain inquiries, investigations or prosecutions’, will be harmonised by the committee.

Abiodun Olujimi, a senator from Ekiti south, presented the whistle-blower bill while Isiaka Adeleke, her colleague from Osun west, presented that on witness protection.

Speaking on the bill, Olujimi argued that it would help in the fight against corruption and terrorism.

She also said the bill would enhance transparency and accountability in public service.

Presenting his own bill, Adeleke said it would give people the incentive to come forward with information on critical cases.

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He cited the case of Kabiru Sokoto, who was convicted of terrorism offences‎, as an example of what could be achieved with witness protection if it was backed by legislation.

“Effective witness protection requires legislation, to protect witness during and after trial,” he said.

“This bill will increase the incentive for people to come forward with information in corruption cases. This bill is very important in the fight against terrorism and corruption‎.”

After brief debates on the bills, Senate President Bukola Saraki referred them to the committee on judiciary for more legislative work.

The latest incident of whistle-blowing in the polity is the allegation of budget-padding by Jibrin Abdulmuminu, former chairman of the house of representatives appropriations committee, against Speaker Yakubu Dogara and four other principal members of the house.

However, for his troubles, Jibrin earned himself a one-year suspension from the lower chamber.

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