Whistle-blower: After Minister’s directive, FMBN Reinstates Murtala Ibrahim
Just a year and half after his appointment was illegally terminated by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Dr. Murtala Ibrahim, Head of ICT Process Audit and Special Investigation Unit at the bank, has been reinstated, PRNigeria gathered.
It would be recalled that FMBN’s management board, had on 8 May 2017, sacked Murtala Ibrahim for blowing the whistle on a contract scam and the banks’ doctored 2016 Half-Year Validation Report.
In the wake of Mr. Ibrahim’s vindictive disengagement last year, African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), a civil society organisation working on building support for the whistle-blower policy of Federal Government, issued a statement condemning the unjustifiable sack.
According to the statement by AFRICMIL Coordinator, Chido Onumah, the cruel treatment of Ibrahim by FMBN brought to the fore the recurring victimization of officers who report wrongdoings in government offices.
“The persistent victimization in any form of those who are courageous enough to blow the whistle must not be tolerated if the whistleblower policy of this administration must succeed. We have said it repeatedly that whistleblowers deserve nothing more than full protection as this will further encourage accountability and enrich the right of the public to know. We hereby call on the federal government to take decisive action on safety of whistle blowers. If government cannot protect internal whistle blowers what more can be expected for outsiders and other Nigerians? Instead of persecution or victimization, whistle blowers should be rewarded for their acts of patriotism,” AFRICMIL said.
The NGO called on the Power, Works and Housing Minister, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, to order for the immediate and unconditional reinstatement of Ibrahim.
Ibrahim was first transferred from FMBN’s headquarters in Abuja, to a branch in one of the States, and then following up with a query which cautioned him for doing his official work. When Ibrahim’s explanation couldn’t be faulted, the bank went on to dismiss him for the ridiculous reason that his service was no longer needed.
But in a report by the International Centre for Investigative Report (ICIR) in October last year, Fashola’s directive, following a committee’s investigation into the case, that Mr. Ibrahim be reinstated was flagrantly disobeyed by FMBN’s authorities.
The flouting of the Minister’s directive again drew the ire of AFRICMIL, as Onumah described the bank’s refusal to obey Fashola’s order as unfortunate and an act of gross insubordination.
He added that the bank’s attitude constitutes serious threat not only to the successful implementation of the whistleblower policy, but also endangers the anti-corruption campaign of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
However, the sacked Ibrahim, on Tuesday, confirmed to PRNigeria via a telephone chat that he has been reinstated, and even received a letter to that effect.
Expressing his joy, the recalled FMBN staff, in a social media post, said: ‘’The report of the Ministerial Investigative Committee (MIC) inaugurated by the Hon. Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) is out. The Hon. Minister, who was the then supervising minister of the Bank, had earlier directed for a thorough investigation into the petition that I filed challenging the termination. The MIC extended invitations to parties involved in the matter and after several rounds of sittings, the committee concluded among other things that the recommendation of the Bank’s DC was flawed, null and void, and that I should be reinstated.
‘’I would like to thank the Hon. Minister Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) for constituting the MIC. My sincere appreciation also goes to the Chairman, Executive Management Committee, and other members of the Governing Board for ratifying the findings of the MIC.”