The Nigerian government has ratified a new bill that seeks to reward people who expose corruption and help the government recover stolen funds. The policy, which was approved on Wednesday at a meeting between the Federal Executive Council, encourages Nigerians to report financial and other-related crimes to relevant authorities in a renewed fight against corruption, according to the Premium Times.
It stipulates that anyone who exposes corruption leading to the recovery of stolen money will be entitled to 5 percent of the recovered sum.
During the meeting, which was also attended by Nigerian President Mohammadu Buhari, the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, said the policy is a stopgap measure designed to strengthen the fight against corruption, as the country waits for the national assembly to formally pass a law on whistleblowing.
Adeosun also revealed that the new policy will be implemented by both the Attorney General and the Minister of Justice. She added that a website, hotline, and email address will be set up where people can report corruption, while promising that the anonymity of whistleblowers will be maintained.
Corruption in Nigeria
Corruption is one of the biggest challenges that Nigeria faces today, with some watchdog organizations ranking the country as the most corrupt globally.
In a survey done by Transparency International in 2000 on the levels of corruption in 90 countries, Nigeria was reported to be the most corrupt with regard to transparency.
Like in many other countries in Africa, corruption in Nigeria takes many forms including bribery, embezzlement, rigging of elections, and rituals. In fact, studies show that corruption in Nigeria is highest in the political system.
Although recent surveys have shown a slight improvement, mega corruption scandals are still being reported in Nigeria, most of which involve high-level government officials.
Some of the latest corruption cases in Nigeria include the misappropriation of billions of pension funds, loss of close to $6 billion from the fuel subsidy fund over the last two years, and the alleged misappropriation of more than $391 million by the former Head of Civil Service, Stephen Oronsaye.
Many people link the high levels of corruption in Nigeria to the increasing rates of unemployment and poverty in the country, but experts argue that greed and poor youth empowerment are the major causes.
The government has recently made numerous efforts to end corruption, including the empowerment of anti-graft agencies, in addition to carrying out civic education on the impact of corruption. Although these efforts seem to be working, a lot still needs to be done to make Nigeria corruption free.