CSOs call on government to protect whistle blowers in Kano against victimization

CSOs call on government to protect whistle blowers in Kano against victimization

- Some CSOs have called on the government to intervene in the victimization of anti-corruption whistle blowers in Kano

- The CSOs specifically made a case for Mr Jafaar Jafaar, an online news publisher who exposed the alleged corrupt deals of Kano state governor

- The CSOs stated that is important that Jafaar is given every support needed to ensure that he is not victimized

A group of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have called on the federal government to protect whistle blowers in Kano state against victimization.

In a statement sent to Legit.ng on Monday, January 28, the CSOs specifically made a case for Mr Jafaar Jafaar, an online news publisher who exposed the alleged corrupt deals of Kano state governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, in series of videos that went viral online in 2018.

In the video, Governor Ganduje was seen receiving what seemed like dollar currencies in bundles from an individual. The video suggests the governor was receiving bribe payment from a contractor handling construction works in the state.

The CSOs cautioned that is important that Jafaar and the contractor, are given every support needed to ensure that they are not victimized by the agents of the Kano state government.

They called on the federal government to extend the protection and support which its whistle blower policy promises to Mr. Jafaar and the contractor, who recorded the governor in the viral video.

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“These persons are currently being victimized for doing the right thing. The government has the responsibility of demonstrating to the country and the world that it is truly poised to fight corruption,” the groups said.

Continuing, part the statement read: “Like every Nigerian organization that has enthusiastically keyed into the current administration’s overt focus on anti-corruption, and done their bit to criminalize and combat corruption, we keenly anticipated the response of the government and its anti-corruption agencies to this all too important test case.

“For the avoidance of doubt, we had expected that the government would consider this an opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to the fight against corruption through condemning and prosecuting this high profile malfeasance as a clear warning that the Buhari administration is serious and decisive in dealing with corruption no matter the persons involved.

“We regret to announce that what has actually happened since the video went public, is the exact opposite.”

The CSOs revealed that the Kano state government has already made moves to revoke at least three contracts previously awarded to a company believed to be owned by the contractor who produced the secret recording of the governor receiving bribes.

“As anti-corruption campaigners working in 5 states including the Federal Capital Territory, we are deeply concerned that the current turn of events in this case indicates that certain categories of persons are shielded from the government ‘war’ on corruption.

“To say the least, there seems to be a decision by agencies tasked with anti-corruption responsibilities and the federal government to suspend the war in this particular instance. Unfortunately, the consequences of this are dire for anti-corruption crusading in the country.

“We say without equivocation that the manner this affair is being handled is a grave disincentive for fighting corruption. It should not be seen that the fight against corruption can be sacrificed in preference of political expediency. This will be a death blow for the country and those of us who have willingly supported this fight.

“We call on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to step up and champion this cause which Mr. Jafaar has very nobly began. It is important that he is given every support needed to ensure that he is not victimized.

“Similarly, we call on the federal government to extend the protection and support which its Whistle Blower Policy promises to Mr. Jafaar and the contractor. These persons are currently being victimized for doing the right thing. The government has the responsibility of demonstrating to the country and the world that it is truly poised to fight corruption,” the groups said.

The groups who signed the statement includes; Centre for Social Studies and Development- We the People, Social Action, Center for Awareness on Justice and Accountability and the Youth Alive Foundation.

Others are the Youth Anti-Corruption Network and the Center for Development Support Initiative.

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The governor had denied collecting money from any contractor, even as he said it was a calculated attempt to impugn his person.

The Kano state House of Assembly thereafter summoned Jaafar, to appear before an ad hoc committee set up to investigate the incident and submit clips of the video, which he did.

The governor was then invited by the committee, after he had threatened to sue the online newspaper, but failed to appear before the committee, and instead sent his information commissioner, Mohammed Garba, to stand in for him.

Governor Ganduje later sued the online newspaper for N3 billion, despite earlier intervention by the House of Assembly that he should not do so.

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