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Lest whistle-blowers run amok...

Whistle-blowerWHILE the seemingly endless detention of former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki, the long detention, followed by release, disappearance of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, the unlawful increment of electricity tariff by power companies despite subsisting court orders to the contrary continue to hang around the neck of the President Muhammad Buhari led administration, the whistle blower policy which many thought would aid the much touted fight against corruption (a cardinal objective of Buhari's administration) has also become a launch pad for missiles hurled the way of the authority and influence of Law and basis of the social contract; The Rule of Law. The administration launched another frontal attack on the Rule of Law, this time, with a learned jurist at the forefront, actively aiding and abetting the attack against everything the Nigerian legal framework and jurisprudence he had extensively written on stands on. Indeed, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. In a city where all are seemingly blind (including the entire file of persons in leadership/rulership position), the ray of hope is extinguished when the supposed one-eyed guide easily succumbs to the allure of brute power, appallingly blinded by reason of his proximity to the spoils of impunity.

On 21st December, 2016, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) introduced the new whistle-Blower policy that provides up to 5 per cent reward for whistle blowers for exposing fraud in both public and private sectors. The Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in a statement released on the 20th of March, 2017 said 'any whistle-blower whose information led to the recovery of up to N1 billion will receive five per cent of the amount; that the reward for any amount between N1 and N5 billion will be five per cent for the first N1 billion and four per cent of the remaining N4 billion, and that any amount over N5 billion will attract 2.5 per cent reward.What we have done is to reassure potential whistle-blowers that the plan to reward is real. We are not just saying we will pay all whistle-blowers, but we are letting them know in advance what they are entitled to, once the information they provide leads to the recovery of looted funds.'' Alhaji Lai Muhammed said. By 7th June, 2017, The Federal Ministry of Finance announced that N375.8 million had been paid to 20 providers of information under the Whistle-blower Policy. The Director of Information, Mr Salisu Dambatta, in a statement in Abuja, said that payment was related to the recovery of N11.6 billion. However, Dambatta declined to reveal the specific recoveries for which the monies were being paid saying that 'it may endanger the whistle-blowers.'

From the foregoing, some facts are apparent; some money has been recovered with the aid of the whistle-blower policy. Some persons (whistle-blowers) have been paid millions of naira pursuant to the whistle-blower policy. The Federal Ministry of Finance, personified by Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun and probably, the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (who recently said the #Ikoyigate whistle-blower was already a millionaire) know who the Whistle-blowers are, and, or know if there are no whistle-blowers at all. The honesty of the persons in whose exclusive knowledge the identity of the whistle-blowers are held in trust for the entire country is called to question by the torrent of contradictory statements credited to the minister and EFCC chairman, the Minister of Finance and the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption (PACAC).

On 9th November 2017, Mr Ibrahim Magu had said the person who 'whistle - blew' on the Ikoyi cash stash was already a millionaire. In a prompt response, the alleged whistle-blower's lawyer quickly put Mr Magu to the strictest proof of the assertion that his client was already a millionaire. Minister of Finance, Mrs. Adeosun, however intervened at once, saying that the whistle-blower had actually not been paid due to some procedural bottlenecks. Barely a week later, learned jurist and silk, Professor Itse Sagay, SAN, speaking from and for the Presidency declared that the whistle-blower had not been paid his due because 'they' (wonder who?) didn't want him to 'go mad'. While I can assure the reader that any effort to ascertain if the said sum was indeed paid to anyone, no one, or true / false whistle-blowers (or arrangee whistle-blowers, in the voice of late Fela Anikulapo Kuti) will be met with a state backed legislature - enacted brick wall, the crux of this piece is a critical analysis of Sagay's intervention that the Federal Government had refrained from paying the whistle-blower to prevent him from going mad.

As commonsensical as this may sound to the average Nigerian, the attempt at a justification of the delay in payment of the whistle-blower's due is fatally diametrical to the basic principles he continues to espouse to intending lawyers (law students) through his published work, Nigerian Law of Contract, a Faculty recommended textbook for Law of Contract in all Faculties of Law in all Nigerian Universities. Indeed, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. In a city where all are seemingly blind, including the entire file of persons in leadership/rulership position, the ray of hope is extinguished when the supposed one eyed guide easily succumbs to the allure of brute power, and is thus appallingly blinded by reason of his proximity to the spoils of impunity. A careful study of the textbook at Page 6, Paragraph 3 would convince any reader that when the Federal Government announced and advertised the whistle-blower policy, it made an offer to the whole world in contemplation of a unilateral contract.

According to the book, unilateral contracts are well illustrated in reward cases. For example, reward for information leading to the arrest of a criminal or reward for finding a particular crown cork by beverage and bottling companies. The whistle-blower policy of the Federal Government is, and remains an offer made to the entire world, which ripened/ ripens into a unilateral and binding contract the moment somebody, anybody, the #ikoyigatewhistleblower came forward with information leading to the recovery of billions of Naira.
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Publication:Nigerian Tribune (Oyo State, Nigeria)
Date:Dec 22, 2017
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