The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission on Tuesday has urged its parliamentarians to enact laws that protect whistleblowers in the sub-regions.
The Head, Democracy and Good Governance, ECOWAS Commission, Eyesan Okorodudu said this in a paper he presented on “ECOWAS Protocol on Anti-Corruption and the Regional Network (NACIWA): What Progress?”
Concise News gathered that Okorodudu gave the presentation at the Delocalised Meeting of the Joint Committee on Political Affairs, Peace, Security and APRM, Gender, Women Empowerment, Social Protection, Legal and Judicial Affairs held in Burkina Faso.
The theme of the event which is “Status of Implementation of ECOWAS Protocol A/P3/ 12/ 01 on the Fight Against Corruption: ECOWAS Parliament’s contribution thereto” is to give the overview on the implementation of the Protocol which was adopted in Dakar in Dec. 2001.
Okorodudu said that Article 5 of the fight against corruption A/P3/ 12/ 01 was of must important to the commission which borders on preventive measures.
“We want to make the parliamentarians realize that there is a need for them to work around measures to protect whistleblowers.
“Because now, with the aid of social media a lot of whistleblowers do come up with very strong evidential reports on corrupt practices and when you see it on social media it becomes an all comers.
“In one of the member states the whistleblower policy did not see the light of day in the parliament and you have to get an executive order.
“It is interesting to know that with the executive order you can work to an extends, it has some limitation but when you have a law enacted like protocol requires then certainly you can do a lot to protect the whistleblower.
“And also whistleblower can get the benefit of their civil responsibilities which the laws of whistleblower provide for them.”
He said that the 15 member countries of NACIWA adopted the strategy of protection tools that ECOWAS has put in place imploring them to set up a law on whistleblower stating that it was very cost-intensive to embark on whistleblower policy.
“A percentage is meant to be given to the whistleblower, but the danger involved in protecting the whistleblower, the strategy involved, once you blow the whistle corruption fight back.
“And if it fights back, there are certain mechanism that needs to be put in place, one of them will be relocating the entire family of that individual.
“And people go behind the scene to expose the whistleblower, so we need to get the whistleblower policy to guide member states to come up with their laws, so if you have it as a law then the State is totally involved.”
Okorodudu, however, recommended that the government should give the Anti-corruption agencies independent powers to prosecute corruption matters.
He said that media and CSO’s should ensure their oversight roles on monitoring corruption cases is done with transparency.
However, a Researcher with the University of Benin, Mahmoud Riadds said that a participatory approach was needed in the fight against corruption.
He said that with the participatory approach people should not seat in their offices but meet with other relevant stakeholders to prevent corruption.
Riadds said that judges need to be careful because they are a pacesetter and if they compromise the State will be weakened and won’t be stable.
He said that in the fight against corruption, mechanisms should be emplaced to protect the life of the whistleblower.