President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday gave the hint that the Presidency was considering giving the mandate of implementing the whistleblowing policy to the Public Complaints Commission (PCC).
Justifying why PCC is suitable for the assignment, he noted that it already has the mandate of referral of complaints with criminal contents to appropriate law enforcement Agencies adding that the Commission also already has a network of widespread of offices to its advantage.
President Buhari spoke in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on the occasion of a courtesy visit by the Honourable Chief Commissioner of the PCC, Honourable Abimbola Ayo-Yusuf.
His words: “On your request to be considered as the hub of the Federal Government’s Whistleblowing policy, I want to assure you that the Commission would be considered as the Agency where the policy will be domiciled given your widespread network of offices and the fact that your mandate on referral of complaints with criminal contents to appropriate Law Enforcement Agencies make your Commission the best suited Agency for domiciling whistleblowing policy of the Federal Government.”
The President, whom the Commission had just conferred the award of the Grand Ombudsman of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on, expressed his appreciation for the gesture.
“I am also elated by your gesture in conferring on me the award of the GRAND OMBUDSMAN OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA,” he said.
The President assured the PCC of a speedy consideration of its request for a radio station license.
According to him, it would facilitate flawless dissemination of its activities to the citizenry and to enhance its publicity.
Buhari also urged the Honourable Chief Commissioner to use his vantage position and widespread offices in all the States of the Federation and the significant presence in many Local Government Areas to protect the interest of the down- trodden.
Besides, he urged him to sensitize the citizenry on their rights and obligations, particularly the need to ensure a free, fair and credible election and a smooth democratic transition and transfer of power in 2023.
Speaking, Ayo-Yusuf based the award on the life-changing approvals that are unprecedented in the history of governance in Nigeria.
Continuing, he said “We deeply appreciate your support so far in solving the most sensitive collective people issues that had bedeviled the Commission for a long time.
“We are therefore happy to present you with the award of The GRAND OMBUDSMAN of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
He noted that the approvals include release of 13% derivation fund and release of outstanding pension liabilities from 2014 to retirees of the federal government, especially those of the treasury- funded Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), under the contributory pension scheme.
He added that owing to Buhari’s action, the backlog of death benefits claims due to beneficiaries of deceased employees of the MDAs were approved for payment.
According to him, Mr. President also gave approval for payment of the 13% derivation deductions for the nine oil producing states of the federation, which had been outstanding since 1999.
The Chief Commissioner pleaded with the President to consider an increase of PCC budget to ameliorate challenges such as operational vehicles, office accommodation and others.
According to him, paucity of funds has hampered the completion of the construction of the commission’s states offices.