Posted by News Express | 26 September 2016 | 2,660 times
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) under the watch of Acting Chairman Ibrahim Magu of presenting itself as a ‘militant’ wing of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The group made the accusation in a statement it issued on Sunday in Abuja. It called on the anti-graft agency to follow the laid-down precepts, concepts, principles and provisions of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended). HURIWA advised EFCC “to stop the political profiling in the media of certain persons as ‘thieves’ for belonging to the opposition PDP over allegations of financial misdemeanours in the immediate past government even without awaiting the final determination of the competent courts of law in line with section 6 of the Constitution.”
The rights group described as “irritating partisanship and is absolutely uncalled for” the “consistent demonisation and whipping up of sentiments and hate messages from the public relations office or their media surrogates in the newsrooms by the EFCC targeted against the person of the wife of the immediate past President, Mrs. Patience Jonathan.”
HURIWA said it was worried “essentially by the antecedents and notoriety that the current hierarchy of the anti-graft commission has created and the credibility crisis the agency is building up in the minds of dispassionate and critically non-partisan observers because of their politically teleguided styles of enforcement.”
The group alleged that several people who were indicted for the theft of public funds whilst they occupied public office on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have found refuge and ‘immunity’ from EFCC’s harassment and media demonisation by simply cross carpeting to APC.
The group cited the recent jumping of ship by the former Plateau State governor and serving Senator of PDP, Joshua Dariye, “who left for APC in what is alleged to be a tacit decision to stave off the pressure of intense prosecution over alleged misapplication of public fund as instituted reportedly by the EFCC.”
It said some persons who were on trial for fraud reportedly got soft landing or their prosecution were deliberately soft-pedalled because they are members of APC, thereby allowing such cases to be dismissed on frivolous grounds by some of the equally compromised judicial officials.
HURIWA described as shameful a situation where “all those who served as political office holders and crossed over to APC just before the March 2015 general election which APC won at the centre are walking the corridors of power as powerful citizens even when in some clear instances their state governments currently have through commissions of judicial inquiry indicted them for huge fraud.”
The rights activists lamented that “globally and locally, critical minds are viewing EFCC as the vocal and militant wing of APC because these observers are actively encouraged to reach this not-too-far-off determination and interpretation because of the skewed pattern of investigation and sensationalised media prosecution of high profile personalities linked to the former ruling party PDP and the immediate family members of the erstwhile President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who handed over peacefully, the mantle of leadership of Nigeria to President Muhammadu Buhari after last year’s election.”
HURIWA also lampooned EFCC for “paying undue attention to the family members of the immediate past administration even when a former first lady in the not-too-distant dispensation was recently reported to have lost a whooping N90 million to just one of her domestic servants.”
Said the group in the statement signed by the national Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko: “We find the undue hallucinations by EFCC over Mrs. Patience Jonathan and the hyperactive media persecutions activated by EFCC against her at about the same time that one of the Presidential spokespersons was quoted as ridiculing a claim Mrs. Patience Jonathan reportedly made in an official letter to the EFCC over the disputed ownership of the allegedly confiscated $31 million in what has convinced some observers to believe that there is a grand conspiracy at the highest political set up to rope her in by all means to rubbish the standing of the immediate past President. The fact that a newspaper sympathetic to President Muhammadu Buhari did a cover branding Mrs. Patience Jonathanas the richest First Lady at the same time that the EFCC sponsored damaging sensational stories in most other friendly newspapers shows a clear case of conspiracy. This is not how the rule of law should operate if we still have a constitutional democracy and not the authoritarianism that is playing out in the hierarchy of EFCC as if the officials are above the law.”