HURIWA backs Kukah on due process in ant-graft war

Posted by News Express | 18 August 2015 | 2,956 times

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The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has blasted the leadership of All Progressives Congress (APC) and those it called “Online Monsters” for condemning Bishop Hassan Mathew Kukah’s advocacy for a Rule-based anti-graft crusade.

The group has therefore called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call his party faithful to order and to activate mechanisms to ensure total adherence to respect to freedom of information and speech which are the key ingredients for the sustenance of democracy.

HURIWA said the current administration stands to benefit enormously if it protects the integrity and sanctity of the Nigerian Constitution because Nigeria is a constitutional democracy and not a monarchy whereby the ruler or might is always right.

The group also faulted the criticism of Bishop Kukah’s view by the national hierarchy of the APC, stressing that the new ruling party is a byproduct of constitutional provisions and thus must endeavor to promote greater respect for adherence by all authorities and officials to the principle of Rule of law even as the war against corruption and economic brigandage gathers steam.

The group said there  was indeed nothing untoward or sinister  in the widely publicised views of the National peace committee as represented in the statement by the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto and a prominent Chieftain of the National Peace Committee who cautioned that the current administration abide by due process of the law in the anti-corruption fight.

In a statement jointly signed by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and National Media Affairs, Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA condemned the rash of uninformed reactions by reactionary elements on social media who in their overzealous haste to support the new president have poured out venoms against Bishop Kukah for only exercising his constitutional rights.

“We call on President Buhari to provide rule-based, evidence-based and professionally sound crusade against corruption and economic crimes in Nigeria so as to return Nigeria to the path of economic growth and good governance.

We have read Bishop Kukah’s well-considered opinion on the imperative of abiding by the constitutional process and we are convinced that the only effective way to fight corruption is not through the corrupt process of jungle justice or the sensational media demonisation of perceived political opponents. The constitution is clear that only the courts of competent jurisdictions (section 6 subsection 1 ) and not court of ‘Jesters and online marauders’ can prosecute and sanction all accused persons who have in the past or present times abused their offices by looting public treasury.”

HURIWA also faulted the formation of a presidential advisory anti-graft committee led by Professor Itse Sagay when the government should have reorganised and restructured the existing institutions set up by law to fight corruption.

“We had expected the Professor of Law picked to head this contraption called Presidential anti-graft committee to have redirected the attention of Mr. President to the imperative need of strengthening existing institutional and legal frameworks for anti-graft crusades rather than accept to serve in an air conditioned and well remunerated forum that at best could undermine extant legally created institutions which cost the public a lot of resources to run and maintain.” the group said.

It asked President Buhari to appoint competent professionals to head the anti-corruption agencies and fundamentally restructure those institutions (EFCC/ICPC) to weed out the law enforcement operatives who are now handling the core directorates of those agencies.

According to HURIWA, “President Buhari should have made Professor Itse Sagay the Chairman of a newly restructured bigger anti graft agency instead of this piecemeal approach to waging war on corruption. It’s not late in the day for the government to dissolve that Presidential advisory committee on anti graft and Re assign the members to the governing board of the EFCC.”

•Photo shows Bishop Kukah

Source: News Express

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