About a year and a half after his appointment was illegally terminated by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Murtala Ibrahim, Head of ICT Process Audit and Special Investigation Unit at the bank has been reinstated, PRNigeria gathered.
It would be recalled that FMBN’s management board had on May 8, 2017, sacked Ibrahim for blowing the whistle on a contract scam and the banks’ doctored 2016 Half-Year Validation Report.
In the wake of Mr. Ibrahim’s disengagement last year, African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), a civil society organisation working on building support for the whistle-blower policy of the federal government, issued a statement condemning the unjustifiable sack.
According to the statement by AFRICMIL Coordinator, Chido Onumah, the treatment of Ibrahim by FMBN brought to the fore the recurring victimisation of officers who report wrongdoings in government offices.
“The persistent victimisation in any form of those who are courageous enough to blow the whistle must not be tolerated if the whistleblower policy of this administration must succeed. We have said it repeatedly that whistleblowers deserve nothing more than full protection as this will further encourage accountability and enrich the right of the public to know.
“We hereby call on the federal government to take decisive action on safety of whistleblowers. If the government cannot protect internal whistleblowers, what more can be expected for outsiders and other Nigerians? Instead of persecution or victimization, whistleblowers should be rewarded for their acts of patriotism,” AFRICMIL said.
The NGO called on the Power, Works and Housing Minister, Babatunde Fashola, to order the immediate and unconditional reinstatement of Ibrahim.
Ibrahim was first transferred from FMBN’s headquarters in Abuja to a branch in one of the states. This was followed up with a query which cautioned him for doing his official work. When Ibrahim’s explanation couldn’t be faulted, the bank went on to dismiss him saying his service was no longer needed.
But in a report by the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) in October last year, Fashola’s directive, following a committee investigation into the case, that Ibrahim is reinstated was flagrantly disobeyed by FMBN authorities.
The flouting of the minister’s directive again drew the ire of AFRICMIL, as Onumah described the bank’s refusal to obey Fashola’s order as unfortunate and an act of gross insubordination.
He added that the bank’s attitude constitutes a serious threat not only to the successful implementation of the whistleblower policy but also endangers the anti-corruption campaign of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
However, the sacked Ibrahim, on Tuesday, confirmed to PRNigeria via a telephone interview that he has been reinstated, and even received a letter to that effect.
Expressing his joy, the recalled FMBN staff, in a social media post, said: ‘’The report of the Ministerial Investigative Committee (MIC) inaugurated by the Hon. Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) is out. The Hon. Minister, who was the then supervising minister of the Bank, had earlier directed for a thorough investigation into the petition that I filed challenging the termination. The MIC extended invitations to parties involved in the matter and after several rounds of sittings, the committee concluded among other things that the recommendation of the Bank’s DC was flawed, null and void, and that I should be reinstated.
“I would like to thank the Hon. Minister Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) for constituting the MIC. My sincere appreciation also goes to the Chairman, Executive Management Committee, and other members of the Governing Board for ratifying the findings of the MIC.”