The Lagos State Government, Friday, launched its whistle-blower initiative as a means to provide a platform for employees, stakeholders and the general public to report any misconduct or unethical behaviour in the state.
According to the Executive Chairman of the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service, Ayodele Subair at the occasion, the initiative will encourage citizens to report wrongdoings around them without fear of being witch-hunted.
He emphasised that the initiative was funded by the Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led administration, hoping to promote a culture of honesty amongst stakeholders and Lagosians as a whole.
“This launch, aside from seeking to enlighten and sensitise the tax-paying public on the initiative, is hinged on the commitment of the agency and the state government to ensuring high ethical standards in all its business processes.”
“LIRS, as a reputable agency, operates under strict guidelines or code of ethics, which prescribes the standard of conduct expected within the agency and during its interaction with stakeholders,” says the executive chairman.
Hence, all employees and other stakeholders are expected to maintain and uphold these standards at all times in the discharge of their respective duties.
“It is against the backdrop of the agency’s unflinching commitment to uphold the highest standards of transparency, integrity, and accountability in its dealings and interactions with relevant stakeholders that the state government with the Ministry of Finance having an oversight function, has subscribed to the Deloitte Anonymous and Confidential Whistle-Blowing Facility.
“The facility is expected to promote an enabling climate for employees and other relevant stakeholders to report wrongdoing, illegal actions or financial crimes.”
Also speaking, the State Commissioner for Finance, Dr Rabiu Olowo, stressed that the government would protect the whistle-blowers with the state might, adding that they have nothing to fear.
He noted that it is a part of the ecosystem for people to observe wrongdoing in the workplace but encouraged that the best step to take is to report this act without biases and ulterior motives.
Olowo continued: “Most of them decide not to speak up, or decide to remain silent and conclude that there’s nothing we can do to stop this problem.”
“And what we’re doing today is launching an avenue that will remind people of their civic duty, their civic responsibility to come up to speak up about those wrongdoings that you have in the workplace or in their business with the government.”
While the launch was in partnership with Deloitte Nigeria, an independent consulting firm to design the facility, Beulah Adeoye, who represented Deloitte, listed options of phone calls or use of application.
According to him, the whistle-blowers can speak in Nigeria’s main languages, pidgin and English.
He disclosed that the calls are toll free and the identity of the caller is unknown to even the receiver. He, however, warned against using the opportunity for frivolities and settling personal grievances.
“This platform will provide confidentiality and anonymity to individuals who are fearful of victimisation, intimidation, or perceived disloyalty to them.
“The report doesn’t go to the commissioner or the chairman, it comes to us (Deloitte) and the people who you report to do not know you do not know that. It’s independent, trusted and secure,” says Adeoye.