IMPRESSED by the response of citizens so far to the whistle blowing policy of the Federal Government, the Presidency has hinted of plan to bring illegal possession of arms under the initiative as a way to mop up such arms.
Senior Special Assistant to the president on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, told State House correspondents on Wednesday that the Presidency has received suggestions on it and was considering it.
He said bringing the issue of illegal weapons under the whistle blowing initiative was necessary to retrieve the weapons used in fueling inter-communal violence.
Shehu said: “Yes, it is true, the presidency has 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 revealed that the presidency was seeking ways to strengthen the policy the mechanism of the Whistleblower policy following breakthroughs in the war against corruption and unaccounted wealth.
Shehu observed that the enthusiastic response of Nigerians to the whistle blower policy has boosted the tempo of the anti corruption crusade of the Muhammadu Buhari administration and as a consequence, “the government is considering ways of enhancing the structural capacity of the whistleblower mechanism.”
He said that government was considering empowering the mechanism by either bringing it under the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PCAC) or some other body to imbue the process with a strategic national purpose.
“In a word, government thinks that the whistleblower mechanism is too important to be left without a strategic, national direction,” he stated.
The presidential spokesman commended the zeal and patriotism of Nigerians for responding positively to the whistle blower incentive policy, which is intended to expose hidden looted funds.
According to him, “no public policy can succeed or go far enough without public support and participation”, and that “when the citizens realise they are victims of corruption, they may feel encouraged to join the efforts to expose looted funds.”
Shehu explained that the huge and incredible amounts of looted funds being recovered by EFCC and the whistleblower efforts “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 the election of President Buhari 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.”
The presidential aide said “these patriotic Nigerians exposing looted funds deserve all the encouragement and protection to sustain their enthusiasm, with a view to encouraging more citizens to participate in this major aspect of the anti corruption crusade.”
Shehu commended Nigerians for their support, noting the Buhari administration would ensure that all recovered funds are applied to their welfare and happiness.