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Group Seeks Protection For PWDs, Women Whistleblowers

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A non-governmental organization, Media Rights Agenda has called for the protection of whistleblowers especially among the female gender and the people with disabilities.

The Executive Director, Edetaen Ojo, made this known while speaking on Thursday at a day workshop for Women’s groups and PWDs on Whistleblowing and Whistle Blower Protection in Nigeria.

He said women whistleblowers or those who have disabilities frequently face unique challenges because of their gender or their disabilities.

He further explained that the women may face challenges which include gender-based discrimination and societal pressures, the PWDs were faced with cases of physical harm and withdrawal of assistive devices or equipment.

At the workshop organised by the African Center for Media and Information Literacy in collaboration with the Wole Soyinka Center for Investigative Journalism and held in Lagos State, Ojo called for the intervention of media organisations in addressing the issue.

“Whistleblowing is an essential mechanism for uncovering & addressing unethical or illegal activities & other wrongdoing in Government and within organizations, including corruption, discrimination, fraud, and abuse of power, among others. However, whistleblowers often face serious risks, including retaliation, job loss & even physical harm.

For women and PWDs, the risks associated with whistleblowing can be extremely high, as they are particularly vulnerable & often face additional barriers & discrimination.

“For women whistleblowers, the challenges may include gender-based discrimination, societal pressures, & a lack of support when under attack.  For PWDs, their unique challenges may include physical harm, withdrawal of assistive devices or equipment, and communication & attitudinal barriers, which can discourage them from whistle-blowing.

The media can address these issues by providing a platform for their voices. They can also advocate for gender-sensitive or disability-sensitive approaches to whistleblowing & protection”, Ojo said.

While highlighting disparities and barriers, he said the media can investigate and report on gender disparities in whistleblower protections and outcomes, drawing attention to the specific barriers that women face.

He added that they can similarly investigate and report on the specific barriers that PWDs face in the whistleblowing process.

According to him, such coverage can help drive conversations about the need for more inclusive & equitable whistleblower policies.

Another speaker, Julianna Francis, said the government the government should make a deliberate effort to protect them through the passage of the bill.

She said, If women and PWDs were asked to blow the whistle, then the government should make a deliberate effort to protect them through the passage of the bill.

If the WB Protection law is passed, it will be binding, and there will be legal penalties and sanctions.

“The advantage of whistleblowing by women and PWDs includes Getting the right information to the right people to promote effective and efficient government. It is a noble step to take. It will save taxpayers’S money and to save public funds.

“What hinders women and PWDs from WB includes the risk they take, while admonishing the need to understand the risk. She added that another way of getting women and PDWs to whistleblowing, will give a sense of safety and promote reforms in different sectors. He said monetary incentives should not be delayed while the law should not be delayed, adding that special courts for court cases should be created,” she added.

The coordinator of AFRICMIL, Chido Onumah, said the workshop was designed to get women’s groups and people living with disabilities involved in the fight against corruption by blowing the whistle on all kinds of illegalities that were against the interest of the public.


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