“Auditor General's Report Indicts Ex-Head of Service, Oronsanye, for Alleged N123 Billion Fraud” -Huriwa's Position
Our attention has been drawn to the aforementioned story which was circulated by Premium Times and further carried by Sahara Reporters.
As the head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION of Nigeria (HURIWA) I must say that we are in support of any positive but rights-based anti-graft campaign that respect the tenets of the Nigerian Constitution. We are however against media trial of citizens alleged to have offended the provisions of the law of Nigeria.
We believe that section 36(5) of the Nigerian Constitution is sacrosanct regarding fair hearing and the presumption of innocence.
On the uncharitable use of words to describe both my person [which is totally libelous] and our press statement issued by us on Sunday September 14th 2014, HURIWA maintains that our release to the media which was circulated even to premium Times online newspapers but which it failed to run in accordance with their editorial discretion was necessitated by an allegation that reached us by one of our sources in with extensive intelligence that a purported report would run imminently in an online medium to seek to damage the reputation of Mr. Steve Oronsanye because of his pioneering role in advocating for the passage of the Nigerian financial intelligence center Bill by the National Assembly to remove it from the control of EFCC.
HURIWA has completely associated itself with this move to grant autonomy to erstwhile NFIU to legally elevate it to the position of an Independent Institution under the purview of Central Bank of Nigeria. But rather than accept our democratic and constitutional right to support the move by the National Assembly to pass the NFIC Bill, the officials of EFCC attacked us in the media for alleging that it was witch hunting principal promoters of that NFIC Bill.
Section 39(1) of the Constitution states as follows “ Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information with out interference”.
We are amazed that EFCC could confront us frontally for supporting the NFIC Bill which is a presidential bill which it openly opposed in the National Assembly just before the Senate passed it. The rejoinder to our published write up was also published by the same print medium that widely circulated my first opinion in support of an independent NFIC.
Based on our experience of been attacked in the media by EFCC for supporting Mr. President's decision to push for an independent Nigerian Financial Intelligence Center- NFIC, when information reached us that one of the principal characters promoting that Bill Mr. Oronsanye is about to be attacked in an online medium, we issued our statement and carefully avoided mentioning Premium TIMES.
Subsequently, the following day based on my request, I held a meeting with some editors of Premium Times whereby they protested that our association attempted to rubbish Premium Times. The Premium Times further alleged that Mr. Walter the PR manager of Mr. Steve Oronsanye briefed me before I decided to put out a press statement to in their words 'preempt' their publication, I quickly explained that I never discussed with Walter Duru but another source spoke to us but to our shock Premium Times ran a story accusing me of being a mercenary activist (may be because I am not Yoruba by origin) the place of birth of most of their editors including the alleged leading shareholder who was a senior staff of EFCC when the current Chairman was a top flight management staff under Mr. Nuhu Ribadu. While Premium Times is entitled to run whatever story they may have, I take strong exception to this 'gutter' level it embarked upon by those uncharitable descriptions. This is the lowest practice that professional journalism can witness and I am deeply shocked that such a despicable practice would be promoted by an organization we hold so much in high regard which was why we never mentioned it as the online medium. Why the phobia and hatred for me? This is regrettable.
We have no apologies to offer for supporting the Nigerian Financial intelligence center Bill to take that Unit away from EFCC so as to make it more vigorously competent and ready to pursue, arrest and prosecute alleged sponsors of terrorism and other financial crimes in the competent courts of law.
We will never support corruption and we challenge the properly authorized agency to do the needful by charging suspects in any proven case of official heist to competent court of law and to stop using gestapo style propaganda to demonize certain persons in the media of mass communication.
Human Rights Writers' Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA) is a registered Non-Governmental, non-profit, Non Religious and Non Political Oriented Association of Nigerian Creative Writers, Philosophers, Journalists and Humane Thinkers dedicated to deploying their creative talents to promote and protect the Human Rights of Nigerians and good Governance through constructive dialogues and media of Mass communication.
The target Audience of the Association includes: Assisting the indigent and other vulnerable groups in the society. Please join us to project these good ideals for the betterment of the Nigerian Society by becoming a better corporate citizen and by promoting the cause of Human rights.
Our objectives are;
v To deploy the members' creative talents as writers to promote, protect and project the human rights of all Nigerians and other law abiding citizens resident within Nigeria;
v To organize periodic seminars and training workshops locally for human capital development specifically on the tenets and ideals of Human Rights and the rule of Law;
v To attend International Workshops and Seminars targeted at the promotion and protection of human rights;
v To conduct periodic studies on ways, means and strategies for promoting and protecting human rights of law abiding citizens;
v To highlight human rights challenges confronting the persons in conflict with the law and seek for constructive modalities for redressing such violations; and
v To recognize excellence and good governance standards in the polity through yearly award ceremonies for exceptionally good, tested and trusted leaders in both the corporate and public sectors. The process of selection would be by transparent mass participation strategies.
Be assured of our highest esteem and consideration.
* Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko;
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