AFRICMIL commends success of whistle-blower policy, suspension of DG of National Intelligence Agency

Press Release  

The African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), a civil society organization currently engaged in a project (Corruption Anonymous) to support the Nigerian government’s whistleblower policy, has commended the momentum the policy has brought to the war against corruption and the suspension of the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) over the N13billion seized by the EFCC in a Lagos apartment.

In a statement signed by the Coordinator of the Centre, Chido Onumah, AFRICMIL expressed delight that the success so far recorded was a pointer to the fact that the policy was proving to be an effective tool in checking widespread corruption in the polity.

According Onumah, “Within so short a period the whistleblower policy has transformed the anti-corruption landscape to the extent that hitherto lukewarm citizens, the bulk of whom are direct victims of corruption, have started showing in the war against corruption by exposing hiding places of looted funds.”

The organization noted that there was no doubt that the aim of the policy was steadily being achieved with the involvement of Nigerians. It praised the government for its realization that without getting citizens to play a key role in the fight against corruption, there was no way the war would be successfully prosecuted.

AFRICMIL stated that only corrupt persons and beneficiaries of the proceeds of corruption would not be happy with the positive impact of whistleblowing since it was launched four months ago.

“We are all witnesses to the long years of orchestrated stealing and stashing away of public funds in our country. While a majority of Nigerians have been jubilating over the gradual recovery of these funds through whistleblowing, we hope that the perpetrators of this heinous crime and their accomplices would be exposed in due course,” Onumah said.

While commending government for the vision that led to the policy, the organization called for decisive action on the recent seizure by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of about N13billion from a flat in Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos.

AFRICMIL called on government to be honest and transparent on the issue as the case had the potential of totally dismantling the whistleblower policy. “The case has presented itself as the litmus test for the effective implementation of the policy going forward. We appeal to government to treat it objectively so as not to erode the support and confidence of the people in the policy,” Onumah said.

AFRICMIL reiterated continued support and readiness to partner with government in promoting and strengthening the policy for effective implementation.

Chido Onumah

(Coordinator)

African Centre for Media & Information Literacy

Court grants PPDC & AFRICMIL leave to sue CCB for access to asset declaration forms of public officials in Nigeria

Press Release

On Monday, 3rd April, 2017, Justice Abdu Kafarati, sitting in Court 2, Federal High Court, Abuja granted two civil society organizations leave to bring substantive suits against the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB). The grant of leave follows the hearing of the Motion Ex-parte filed by the 2 organizations, the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) and the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) on the failure of the CCB to provide information on written declaration of assets of elected and appointed office holders under the Freedom of Information Act 2011.

At the hearing, Godwin Chigbu, lawyer to the applicants, requested for leave of court to file a suit against the Code of Conduct Bureau on its failure to respond to the FoI requests made by both organizations.

AFRICIMIL requested for copies of written asset declaration of:

  1. The Past and Current Principal Officers of both Chambers of the 7th and 8th National Assembly, as required by the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.

While PPDC, requested copies of the written asset declaration of:

  1. Past and Current Governors of the 36 states in Nigeria, since 2011 till date, as required by the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended;
  2. Past and Current Ministers of all Ministries in Nigeria, since 2011 till date, as required by the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
  3. The Former President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, upon assumption of office on 29th May 2011 and after his exit from office, on 29th May 2015, as required by the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
  4. The Former Vice President of Nigeria, Arch. Namadi Sambo, upon his assumption of office on 29th May 2011 and after his exit from office, on 29th May 2015, as required by the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
  5. The Current President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari upon his assumption of office, on 29th May 2015, as required by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
  6. The Current Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo (SAN) upon his assumption of office as Vice President, on 29th May 2015, as required by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

Although both organizations made these requests under the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, the CCB failed to respond to any of these requests within the time stipulated in the Act, thereby leading to the filing of a motion ex-parte by both organizations.

It is the constitutional responsibility of the Bureau, to retain custody of written asset declaration forms of public officers and make them available and accessible for inspection by any citizen of Nigeria on such terms and conditions as the national assembly may prescribe.

An update on the court proceedings will be published subsequently.

Press contacts:

Ugochi Ekwueme

Public and Private Development Centre

ugochi@procurementmonitor.org

Godwin Onyeacholem

African Centre for Media and Information Literacy

gonyeacholem@gmail.com

ACSPN and partners hold 1st empowerment series on ‘fake news’ and the demands of evolving journalism in the Post-Truth Era

The Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria (ACSPN) in collaboration with Premium Times and the African Centre for Media and Information (AFRICMIL) will on Thursday, March 30, 2017, hold its 1st empowerment series in the North Central zone on ‘Fake News’ and the Demands of Evolving Journalism in the Post-Truth Era. ACSPN was established to advance the scholarly study and practice of communication by promoting and facilitating the pursuit of excellence in academic research and professional practice in Nigeria. ACSPN Empowerment Series (AES) focuses on addressing gap areas in communication scholarship and practice.

The event which holds from 10:00am to 1:00pm at the Global Distance Learning Institute, Plot 825, Ralph Shodeinde Street, opposite Federal Ministry of Finance HQ, Central Business District, Abuja, is open to journalists (Print, Radio. TV., Online), public relations and advertising practitioners, students, media and communication researchers and members of civil society.

The keynote address will be delivered by Prof Manny Aniebonam, CEO/President of AfriHub LLC/Global Distance Learning Institute, Abuja, and lead discussants include Mallam Yakubu Ibn Mohammed, Director-General, Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Dapo Olorunyomi, Publisher/CEO, Premium Times, Segun Adeleye, Executive Secretary/CEO, Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON), Olushola Macaulay, National Professional Officer (Communications), UNESCO, Dr. Emman Shehu, Director, International Institute for Journalism, and ace broadcaster, Ms. Lara Owoeye-Wise.

According to Chido Onumah, vice president ACSPN, North Central zone, “The purpose of this intervention is to equip and create a platform for participants to contribute to the emerging debate about “fake news” as well as the fabrication of news to capture “popular” mood, and how media organisations and journalists should respond to news/information and outright lies from politicians and other
influencers in the Post-Truth era.”

“To deal with this phenomenon, it is important to reinforce capacities such as critical thinking, communication competence, comprehension, coding and decoding different types of languages, political knowledge, participation, and general understanding of social phenomena,” Onumah noted.

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