Informal networks of corruption: assessing the challenges for public sector whistleblowing in Nigeria
Recently, the Nigerian government adopted its first National Anti-Corruption Strategy—the first since its independence in 1960. While the strategy captures varying forms of corruption, whistleblowing is seen as one of the key strategies identified to confront anti-corruption in the public sector. The adoption of the whistleblowing policy and its on-going implementation however occurs without a legislative framework to protect whistleblowers. This article situates the whistleblower program in the wider socio-political context of anti-corruption in Nigeria, and public governance. The paper critically examines the implications of the legislative gaps for the long-term sustenance of the whistleblower protection program. This paper argues that the whistleblowing program is embedded in the wider socio-political and informal social norms that have historically privileged corruption in Nigeria. To enhance the overall effectiveness and institutionalization of the whistleblowing program in Nigeria, this paper contends that the urgent adoption of a comprehensive legislative protection framework is a minimum requirement. Significant practical steps must be taken to address the complex background of informal social networks of corruption, power dynamics, and social norms that are peculiar to the Nigerian economic and political context.