The Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing in West Africa (GIABA), an arm of ECOWAS, says it plans to engage Nigerian religious leaders as whistle blowers.

GIABA’s spokesman in Nigeria, Mr Timothy Melaye, on Wednesday told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that the organisation would bring together 50 Nigerian religious leaders.

"GIABA, as an ECOWAS institution, is aware that religious leaders in Nigeria do have a great role to play in promoting peace, unity, fight against violence and terrorism, money laundering activities and corruption in the country.

"We strongly believe that these religious leaders from the Christian and Muslims communities, with their influence and followership, must be instrumental in these issues.

"GIABA has, therefore, decided that these religious leaders be made to become whistle blowers for exposing corruption, violence and terrorism financing and money laundering activities across Nigeria,” he said.

whistle blowers

The GIABA representative in Nigeria said that the conference in Kaduna, would provide the appropriate platform for the organisers to further sensitise the selected religious leaders on their roles.

Melaye requested that religious leaders should always ensure that they thoroughly investigate the sources of money contributed to their churches and mosques by local or international donors.

"As religious leaders, be you Christian or Muslim, it is important that you investigate or seek to know who sent money from where, and ensure that such transferred funds are not meant for arms procurement or terrorism financing.

"It is our belief that after this conference in Kaduna, many more of these religious leaders would go back to their followers and really become the agents of change," he added.

Ever since the Nigerian government announced that it would give part of every recovered loot to anyone that provided the information that led to the recovery, whistle blowing has become what most Nigerians crave for.

looted money, Andrew Yakubu

A whistle blower had revealed to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that some hard currencies over $9.2 million were stacked in a safe inside a building in a Kaduna suburb, leading to the recovery of the money.

The EFCC had since filed charges against the former boss of the Nigerian National petroleum Commission, Mr Andrew Yakubu, whom claimed the money was given to him as a gift.