Posted by News Express | 14 June 2018 | 1,498 times
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has called on leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to desist from harassing political opponents by threatening to unleash the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on them or risk civil disobedience actions targeting the Federal Government.
The rights group expressed disappointment that the presidency had insisted on sticking to her gun by not appointing a fresh substantive chairman of the anti-graft panel to replace Acting chairman, Ibraham Magu who had failed several confirmation hearings of the Senate based on a damaging indictment from the Department of State Security (DSS)
The group further accused President Buhari of rubbishing the constitutional essence of the legislative Arm of Nigerian government as enshrined in Section 4 and power to censure government institutions and officials as enshrined in Section 80.
HURIWA said the partisan colouration of the operational agenda of EFCC under the acting chairman Ibraham Magu had become very disturbing and that the agency had suffered irreparable credibility damage when Mr. Magu was seen on local and international television adorning APC campaign lapel pin of the incumbent president for the 2019 election.
“This constitutional anathema has not yet been addressed and the Acting Chairman of EFCC has actively become a tool in the hands of the Presidency and friends of the Presidency to attack political opponents who may pose significant threats to the re-election of the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 election which is likely to be manipulated by an equally partisan hierarchy of Independent National Electoral Commission,” HURIWA said.
The rights group asserted that the global credibility image of EFCC had indeed been dragged to the mud further by the consistent media campaigns by close affiliates of President Buhari mounting pressure on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to continue the politically motivated witch-hunt against top political opponents to the re-election bid of President Buhari.
HURIWA lamented that even the state Department of the United States’ government in the latest global rights report had indicted the EFCC and ICPC as political attack dogs of the ruling party at the center just as the Rights group wondered why the hierarchy of EFCC and top members of the ruling party are bent on destroying the independent institutions of anti-graft fight.
HURIWA recalled that the United States of America in its annual human rights report had stated thus: “EFCC arrests and indictments of politicians continued throughout the year, implicating a significant number of opposition political figures and leading to allegations of partisan motivations on the part of the EFCC. In a case brought by the EFCC, in November a federal court convicted four firms allegedly used by a former aide of former president Goodluck Jonathan of laundering 1.67 billion naira ($5.3 million) in stolen funds. In its pursuit of corruption, the EFCC often did not observe all pertinent due process safeguards. In November the Economic and Community of West African States Court of Justice declared unlawful the arrest and detention in 2015 of former national security advisor Sambo Dasuki. A court ordered him released on bail in a case brought by the EFCC for the alleged diversion of 13.6 billion naira ($43.2 million) intended to purchase military material during the Jonathan administration. Despite the court order, he remained in detention.”
The rights group carpeted APC chieftains, such as the immediate past governor of Edo state Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, and the former Abia State Governor, Mr. Orji Kalu, for abusing their privileged political positions as top-ranking members of the ruling party to continue to harass political opponents with subtle threats to unleash the EFCC and ICPC on them even when one of the two is facing prosecution over fraud whilst the immediate past Edo state governor is accused of widespread corruption and self enrichment during his eight years stint in office.
The rights group, in a statement by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, stated that the abuse of power by those currently welding political power at the center to deploy the instrumentality of media trial by EFCC and ICPC against political opponents are anti-thetical to constitutionalism and will, in the long run, destroy the foundations of the anti-graft crusade.
HURIWA has, therefore, warned politicians who think that because they are controlling federal might that they can throw their weight around to be careful and note that Nigerians are not conquered people or slaves, but, majority of Nigerians who understand the purity of the constitution may be compelled to adopt civil right actions to confront these emerging fascism and dictatorship.
•HURIWA National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko
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