HURIWA backs Kukah, others on rule of law
Flays presidential anti-graft committee
THE non-governmental Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has flayed the All Progressives Congress (APC) and those it called “online monsters” for condemning Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah’s advocacy for a rule-based anti-graft crusade.
It appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to call his party faithful to order and activate mechanisms to ensure total adherence to respect to freedom of information and speech, which are the key ingredients for sustaining democracy.
HURIWA said the current administration stands to benefit enormously if it protects the integrity and sanctity of the Nigerian Constitution because Nigeria’s is a constitutional democracy, not a monarchy, whereby the ruler or might is always right.
It also faulted the party’s criticism of the views of the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Kukah, because the new national ruling party, as a by-product of constitutional provisions, must promote greater respect for the rule of law by all authorities and officials, even as the war against corruption and economic brigandage gathers steam.
According to the rights group, there is nothing untoward or sinister in the widely publicised views of the National Peace Committee as represented in the Kukah’s statement, which urged the present administration to abide by due process in its anti-corruption fight.
In a statement by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and National Media Affairs Director, Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA condemned the rash of uninformed and largely illiterate reactions by reactionary elements on social media, who in their overzealous haste to support Buhari poured out venoms on Kukah for only exercising his constitutional rights.
HURIWA also faulted the formation of presidential advisory anti-graft committee, led by Prof. Itse Sagay, when the government should be reorganising and restructuring 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 Mr. President to the imperative of strengthening the existing institutional and legal frameworks for anti-graft crusades,” it noted.
Rather, he accepted “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.”
HURIWA further asked Buhari to appoint competent professionals to head such anti-corruption agencies as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and fundamentally restructure them to weed out those already compromised. “President Buhari should have made Prof. Itse Sagay the chairman of a newly restructured, bigger anti-graft agency instead of this piecemeal approach to waging war on corruption,” it added. “It is not late in the day for the government to dissolve that advisory committee and reassign the members to the governing board of EFCC.”