A bill seeking to protect whistleblowers and witnesses has passed first reading at the senate.
The bill passed first reading after Nelson Ayewoh, clerk of the senate, read the short title of it.
The bill entitled, ‘Whistleblower and Witness Protection Bill, 2019 (SB.125)’ is sponsored by Benjamin Uwajumogu, senator representing Imo north.
The previous senate had passed the witness protection and whistleblower protection bills as separate legislation.
But the whistleblowing bill got stuck at second reading in the house of representatives and did not make it through to third reading, and no action was taken by the house on the proposed law seeking to protect witnesses.
In the eighth assembly, the whistleblower bill made provision for financial rewards to encourage citizens who expose corruption.
It also sought to protect whistleblowers against victimisation and loss of jobs.
“Clause 34 deals with the establishment of disclosure. What is given to a whistleblower is stipulated. What is proposed is in line with the government. Clause 45 deals with penalty. Provides stringent punishment of less than five years or a fine of N10 million,” David Umaru, then chairman of senate judiciary committee, said before it was passed for third reading at the time.
“The bill seeks adequate protection of whistleblowers from reprisals, victimisation, job losses and humiliation which are some of the consequences of whistleblowing.”
The witness protection bill, on the other hand, sought to create a programme for witnesses who are willing to provide information to the government in the course of litigation.
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