Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Oyeama

By Oladipupo Mojeed

Human rights group, SERAP, has given the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, a seven-day ultimatum to reinstate whistle-blower, Ntia Thompson, who was sacked for exposing an alleged $229,000 fraud in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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SERAP sent an open letter requesting him to use his “leadership position to ensure and facilitate his immediate and unconditional reinstatement.

The organisation urged Onyeama to “act swiftly to comply with the whistle-blowing policy of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, and international standards, which guarantee full protection and restitution for any whistle-blower against harassment, intimidation, victimization or any form of retaliation.”

SERAP in the letter dated 10 March 2017 and signed by its deputy director, Timothy Adewale, said that “By sacking Thompson, your ministry would seem to shield information on the alleged fraud that the public has a right to know. ”

The group, however, promised to take legal action should Onyeama fail to accede to their demands.

“Should you fail and/or neglect to act as requested within seven days after the receipt and/or publication of this letter, SERAP will be compelled to pursue appropriate legal action against your ministry to challenge the unfair treatment and victimization of Thompson,” reads part o the statement.

Part of the letter copied to Akinwumi Adesina, President of the AfDB also read, “We also urge you to act swiftly to identify those involved in the alleged fraud and hand them over to appropriate anti-corruption agencies for further investigation and prosecution, as well as recover any stolen public funds.”

The fund in question was meant for the monitoring of various projects executed from the Trust Fund across Africa. N800, 000.00 was allegedly spent for SERVICOM “sensitization seminar” in the Directorate, which the EFCC has asked the officials involved to return.