The Whistle Blowers Protection Bill recently passed by the Senate was passed to help ensure the safety of citizens who blow the whistle against public officers and public bodies that indulge in improper conducts.
Even though the chairman of Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters enthusiastically stated that the bill would ensure adequate protection of whistle blowers from reprisals, victimisation, isolation and humiliation, which are some of the inherent consequences of whistle-blowing, it is most unfortunate that this bill does so little in data protection.
I would say that for a Bill that greatly depends on sensitive and mostly confidential information to justify its existence, it should have more than a single section on data-protection. Section 17 of the Bill only generally criminalizes the act of revealing confidential information, and the penalty for misusing confidential information is a token fine not exceeding N100,000 or imprisonment for a term not more than one year, or both.
I wonder how the drafters of this bill expect to protect whistle blowers from savage public officers who will go to any length to protect themselves or even get back at the person that exposed them with this Section 17!
Data protection and privacy are serious issues with regards to this bill and I feel the Senate should have done more in protecting Nigerians who blow the whistle than what Section 17 provides.
So, my advice? If you must blow the whistle, do it with wisdom and the knowledge of your lawyer, who knows, you may need them to uphold your fundamental human right, and don’t look solely to this bill to protect you from trolls that will definitely come after you if they ever find out your identity (you may want to arrange for your own security).