HURIWA CRITICIZES NEXIM BANK'S/CNPP's 'WAR'
Worried that the ongoing media war between Nigerian Export and Import Bank [NEXIM] and the conference of all Nigerian political parties [CNPP] over sundry allegations of official indiscretion may undermine Government's aggressive drive to attract foreign Direct Investments, a pro-democracy Non-Governmental Group-HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA [HURIWA] has tasked President Good luck Jonathan to direct the Federal Ministries of Finance and Trade/investments to intervene.
In a statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National media Affairs Director Miss. Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said the media fireworks between NEXIM and CNPP if left unchecked and uninvestigated thoroughly could cause distrust and loss of confidence by the international investments' community and discourage foreign direct investors from moving their businesses to Nigeria for fear of instability in the nation's prominent investments' related banking institution-NEXIM.
Besides, HURIWA has faulted the decision of the management of NEXIM to spend huge sums of public money in media advertisements to threaten a legal battle against the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties [CNPP]for expressing their opinion regarding what they alleged to be a range of official infractions on the part of the top management of NEXIM just as the group stated that under a democratic dispensation, ordinary citizens and corporate groups have the inalienable right to make public comments on their perceived position concerning the administration of publicly funded institutions such as NEXIM.
The Rights group expressed fear that the emerging pattern whereby public institutions make use of their financial muscle to institute cases against individuals and groups for making allegations within the bounds of extant legislations such as the Freedom of Information Act could imperil free speech.
HURIWA reminded the management of NEXIM that it was to the credit of the current President Good luck Jonathan's administration that the radical pro-transparency law known as the Freedom of information [FOI] was signed into a law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria just as the group said the freedom of information legislation has made it imperative that those who are charged with the administration of publicly funded institutions are open to critical assessments and investigations by the members of the public.
“The Nigerian constitution also encourages all Nigerians to participate and take interest in the running of all government institutions as a sure way of preserving democracy and respect for the principle of the rule of law”, HURIWA asserted.
Specifically, the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) had in a press release few days back called for the immediate suspension of the MD of NEXIM bank, Mr Robert Orya, for alleged dereliction of duty.
In a press statement issued in Abuja by the Secretary General of the CNPP, Chief Willy Ezugwu, the group also made several other allegations against the top management of NEXIM bordering on serious administrative breaches.
But the top hierarchy of NEXIM had in a widely publicized commercial media adverts denied vehemently these range of allegations and further threatened to institute legal process if CNPP failed to apologize.
HURIWA stated thus; “We are worried that the central Government has not intervened to stop this undue media fireworks because of the sensitivity of NEXIM and its fundamental role in the quest by the Government to revive the nation's economy”.
“We have therefore decided to appeal to the President to direct all the relevant agencies of government like the Finance ministry and the Ministry of Trade and Investments to step in so as to save Nigeria from losing the acclaimed gains of the just concluded World Economic Forum for Africa. We also pray the President to put up effective measures to stop public office holders from deploying public fund to institute legal cases against individuals and groups for passing comments concerning the running of such agencies. We think that when agencies of the state and federal Government are allowed unfettered access to the public fund in their custody to drag whosoever raises alarm on the running of such offices to court, then free speech and the fundamental freedoms guaranteed under chapter four of the constitution would be deliberately undermined.”