The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has accused the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government of “witch-hunting” members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
HURIWA made the claim while condemning what it called the “continuous manifestation of deep rooted double standards in the anti-graft crusade of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.”
This was as HURIWA canvassed for an all-inclusive fight against the scourge of corruption.
The body lamented that the leadership of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) headed by acting Chairman Ibrahim Magu has “unabashedly demonstrated his affiliation to the ruling All Progressives Congress”.
In a statement by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA claimed that the “EFCC only targets political opponents of the President.”
Citing the instance of the failure of president Buhari to adopt constitutionally guaranteed yardstick in prosecuting all indicted top security officials in the alleged arms procurement scandal, the Rights group stated that the refusal to try the duo of internal Affairs Minister Lieutenant General Abdulrahman Danbazau and the National Security Adviser Major General Babagana Monguno has shown that the entire claims of the current government to be committed to the anti-graft war remains substantially “a sham and a politically motivated witch-hunt directed at the main opposition party of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).”
HURIWA accused the governmemt of facilitating the escape to foreign jurisdiction of the erstwhile Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and his wife just few days before the EFCC belatedly filed a suit at the Federal High Court in Lagos over the discovery of over $45million USD cash in an Ikoyi flat in Lagos state.
The rights group wondered why President Buhari is picking and choosing who to drag before the competent court of law for prosecution over the alleged $2 Billion USD arms procurement scam even as the group condemns the prolonged detention of erstwhile National Security Adviser Colonel Sambo Dasuki over the same allegations for which the duo of Monguno and Danbazau were allegedly indicted.
HURIWA also charged President Muhammadu Buhari to “free with immediate effect all political prisoners including Deji Adeyanju; Sambo Dasuki and Sheikh Ibraheem ElZaczacky and his wife.”
The statement reads: “The basic tenet of justice is that he who goes to equity must go with clean hands. We are shocked beyond belief that a government that makes heavy weather of a so-called fight against corruption has clearly extended illegal immunity to friends of the government who are involved in corruption but has gone after political opponents. Again, there are allegations of corruption by relatives of the President including members of the unelected cabal in the Presidential villa Abuja who have become super billionaires since the current President came on board nearly four years now but all these well grounded allegations made by Buba Galadims a former acolyte of Buhari and Jinaidu Mohammed a former house of representatives member from Kano state have been swept under the filthy carpets of impunity by the current administration.
“It is only in a banana republic that for over two years after they were recommended for probe, the Federal Government has yet to investigate and charge the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno; and the Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (retd.) even as the two ex-generals were recommended for probe by the Committee on Audit of Defence Equipment Procurement in the Nigerian Armed Forces from 2007 to 2015.”
HURIWA recalled that Moguno was recommended for probe over the procurement of weapons during his time as the Chief of Defence Intelligence Agency from July 2009 to September 2011 while Dambazau was recommended for investigation following alleged suspicious contracts awarded when he was Chief of Army Staff from 2008 to 2010.
“The fourth interim report of the committee which was signed by the President of the committee, Air vice Marshal John Ode (rtd.), recommended the investigation of 25 former officials of the Ministry of Defence, 16 retired generals and 44 companies.
HURIWA quoted the report as saying: “The sum of $5, 152, 792.44 equivalent to N772, 918, 866.60 at N150 per dollar was also transferred to unknown offshore accounts for unspecified purposes.
“The account was closed on December 1, 2011 with a closing balance of $0.0. Lt.Gen AB Dambazau (rtd.) and Maj. Gen Charles Airhiavbere should be further investigated for the operation of the account.”
Some others named in the report include a former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba (rtd.), and a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen Onyeabor Ihejirika (rtd.).
HURIWA recalled succinctly that “While Ezeoba has been taken to court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and made to return N1.8bn, Ihejrikia’s properties worth billions of naira have been seized by the government. A former Accountant-General of the Federation, Jonah Otunla, who was also named in the report, has been arraigned by the EFCC for alleged diversion of N2bn.However, both Dambazau and Monguno, who are appointees of President Buhari have neither been charged nor listed as looters by the Federal Government.”