by Alabi Usman
The Senate has passed passed two bills aimed at protecting whistleblowers and witnesses directly involved in the prosecution of certain criminal cases to the committee stage on Wednesday.
The two bills were harmonised by the Senate on the grounds that both of them have similar intention, following Senator Ali Ndume’s advice. The first bill proposed by Isiaka Adeleke, an Act to provide for the establishment and operation of a programme to enable certain persons to receive protection in relation to certain inquiries,investigations or prosecutions (SB.157).
The second bill was proposed by Abiodun Olujimi is, one for an Act to protect persons making disclosures for public interest and other forms reappraisal, 2016 2016
In his debate, Mr Adeleke said a law protecting witnesses was usually required in the prosecution of organised crimes like terrorism. Adeleke said the witnesses would be allowed to wear masks, bear pseudo names and receive protection from authorities.
Mrs. Olujimi on her part said “this is a cardinal bill in the fight against corruption”, fighting corruption according to her depends on effective protection of whistleblowers. She cited three instances where whistleblowers were fired at the Ministry of Aviation, Women Development Centre and the Police Service Commission.
There Senators voted overwhelmingly for the bill. The bill was referred to committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters.