Published in 2024

Legal sources

Executive Summary

There are several cases of whistleblowers who have exposed corruption schemes in Nigeria, but whistleblowers continue to face reprisals. Although civil society has been advocating for stronger whistleblower rights in Nigeria since at least 2001, a whistleblower protection law has yet to be passed. As a result of this inaction, protections for employees and citizens who report crime, corruption and misconduct are virtually non-existent, and the number of known whistleblower cases is low. On December 14, 2022, the federal government approved a draft whistleblower protection bill, sending it to the National Assembly. 

Currently, the only legislation relevant to whistleblowers relates to public officials who make disclosures under the Freedom of Information Act. In December of 2016, the Federal Executive Council approved a whistleblower policy created by the Federal Ministry of Finance. The policy stipulates that whistleblowers who provide information helping the government recover stolen or concealed assets may be able to receive between 2.5 and 5 percent of the amount recovered. However, the policy is not a law and does not provide whistleblowers with protection from retaliation or immunity for civil or criminal prosecution.

The existing whistleblower policy has lost momentum, due in part to the continued lack of legal protections for whistleblowers. However, in November 2022, a coalition of stakeholders declared their commitment to advocating for an urgent passage of the whistleblower protection bill before the end of the 9th National Assembly on June 11, 2023. The coalition includes the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), Amnesty International, and the Whistleblowing International Network (WIN).

Tips for Whistleblowers:

  • While Nigeria has a federal whistleblower reward policy as of 2016, there are no laws to protect employee or citizen whistleblowers from retaliation.
  • There are no specific compensation programs for victimized whistleblowers, nor penalties for people who retaliate against whistleblowers.
  • Among the leading anti-corruption groups in Nigeria are Corruption Anonymous (CORA), a coalition which PPLAAF recently joined.
  • Despite serious threats to media freedom, Nigeria has more than 100 independent news outlets and an investigative journalism center.

Laws and measures related to whistleblowers

  • Nigerian Constitution

The Nigerian Constitution grants the fundamental right to freedom of expression, though this right has yet to be embodied in a whistleblower protection law. Section 39 of the Constitution states that “every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference.”

  • Freedom of Information Act of 2011

Section 27 of the Freedom of Information Act of 2011 relates to public employees who disclose information in the public interest, including information related to mismanagement, gross waste of funds, fraud, abuse of authority, and public health and safety dangers. The law includes protections for public officials and people acting on behalf of public institutions from civil or criminal proceedings if they disclose information under the law, even if the disclosure otherwise would violate the Criminal Code, Penal Code, Official Secrets Act or another law. The Freedom of Information Act does not apply to the private sector.

  • Whistleblower Policy of 2016

Under the federal government’s Whistleblower Policy of 2016, individuals may make voluntary disclosures to the federal government through the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning concerning possible misconduct or violations relating to the public interest that have occurred, are ongoing, or are about to occur. Such misconduct or violations include financial malpractice or fraud, misappropriation of public funds, violation of financial regulations, and soliciting bribes.

Information can be submitted anonymously and the whistleblower has the power to choose whether to disclose their identity. However, the policy does not provide whistleblowers with protection from retaliation.

Whistleblowers who provide the government with information that leads directly to the recovery of stolen or concealed public funds or assets are eligible to receive between 2.5 and 5 percent of the amount recovered. In order to qualify for the reward, the whistleblower must provide the government with information that it does not already have access to and that it cannot obtain from a publicly available source. 

In its first few years, the policy resulted in over 1,983 tips, leading to approximately N7.8 billion in recoveries. However, whistleblower reports have recently lost momentum due to Nigeria’s lack of a whistleblower protection law. Despite the reward policy, the number of whistleblowers has declined, as Nigerians hesitate to report corrupt practices without legal protection from the government.

  • Witness Protection and Management Act 2022

In 2022, Nigeria passed the Witness Protection and Management Act. The Act applies only to certain offences, including economic and financial crimes, corrupt practices and other related offences, and money laundering prevention and prohibition. Under the Act, a witness is defined as a person who has information about the commission of an offence and has given evidence on behalf of the State in proceedings related to the offence. Individuals may also be considered witnesses if they require protection due to their relationship with a witness. Since the Act was only recently passed, it is unclear whether it has been implemented effectively.

The Act establishes the Witness Protection and Management Programme, empowering the agency implementing the Programme to take actions as may be reasonable and necessary for the safety and welfare of witnesses who provide information. Factors considered in determining whether a witness qualifies for inclusion in the Programme include: the seriousness of the offence to which the evidence of the witness relates, the nature and importance of the witness’s testimony, the nature of the perceived threat to the witness, the nature of the witness’s relationship to any other witness being considered for inclusion, the result of any psychological evaluation, whether there are viable alternative methods of protection the witness, and whether the witness has a criminal record.

Under the Programme, the agency can provide physical and armed protection, arrange for witnesses to establish new identities, relocate witnesses, provide accommodation for witnesses, and provide reasonable financial assistance to witnesses.

Knowledge, support and action centers

Corruption Anonymous (CORA)

2nd Floor (Flat A3)

# 22 Koforidua Street (by UBA) off Ouagadougou Street

Zone 2, Abuja, Nigeria

P.O. Box 6856 Wuse, Abuja, Nigeria

Tel: (+234) 81 1877 1666

Convention on Business Integrity

Contact: Soji Apampa
17A, House 2, Muyibat Oyefusi Crescent
Off Akinola Adegunwa St., Off Adeyemo Akapo St.
Omole Phase I, Ikeja
Lagos, Nigeria
Tel: (+234) 1 791 5712 / 819 158 0287

United Action for Change

This umbrella organization, which promotes good governance and citizen participation, has developed and is advocating for a proposed whistleblower protection law at the state level. 

Contact: Muiz A. Banire

o.5. Austin Agbolahan Close
GRA Magodo Phase II Shangisha
Lagos, Nigeria
Tel: (+234) 1293 1860 / 802 312 1459

Socio-economic rights and accountability project (SERAP) 

Contact :  Dr. Kolawole Olaniyan 

2B Oyetola Street, Off Ajanaku Street, Off Salvation Street, Opebi, P.O. Box 14037

Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria 

Tel: (+234) 816 0537 202 

African Centre For Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL)

Contact: Dr Chido Onumah

2nd Floor (Flat A3) #22 Koforidua Street (Beside UBA) off Ouagadougou Street, Zone 2, Abuja, Nigeria P.O.Box 6856, Wuse, Abuja, Nigeria

Tel: (+234) (0) 8118771666

Contact | African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (

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Legal Notice - Copyright 2024

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Copyright 2022