President of the Senate, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan (left) with the Senate Minority Whip, Senator Philip Tanimu Aduda, during the plenary on Tuesday, November 19, 2019. 2

The Senate has reintroduced the Whistleblower and Witness Protection Bill.

The bill which seeks to protect whistleblowers and witnesses was one of the 11 bills read for the first time during plenary on Tuesday.

The ‘Whistleblower and Witness Protection Bill, 2019’ is sponsored by Benjamin Uwajumogu (Imo North).

The eighth Senate had passed a similar bill in 2017. The bill made provision for financial rewards to encourage citizens who expose corruption.

It also sought to protect whistleblowers against victimisation and loss of jobs. The person who makes a disclosure shall not be subject to victimisation by his or her employer or by fellow employees.

The bill sought to encourage and facilitate disclosures of improper conduct by public officers and public bodies and those who make such disclosures are protected under the law.

“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, had 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.”

Meanwhile, the witness protection bill also passed by the 8th Senate sought to create and operate a programme that protects witnesses who provide vital information, evidence or render assistance to law enforcement agencies in certain investigations, enquiries or prosecutions.

The lawmakers are expected to debate the details of the bill on another legislative day.

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