Huriwa Backs Effc On Theodore Orji's 'imminent' Prosecution:

By Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA)
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A frontline Civil Rights Advocacy group - HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) is of the considered opinion that it is long overdue for the relevant anti-graft agencies to initiate active and transparent prosecution of erstwhile governor of Abia state Mr. THEODORE Orji currently in the Senate over the alleged gross mismanagement of Abia State resources during his tenure as governor.

HURIWA has therefore tasked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to stop the hide-and-seek gambit that is playing out between it and the immediate past governor of Abia state and a serving Senator Mr. THEODORE Orji and his affiliates linked with the alleged theft of Abia State commonwealth and proceed to drag them to Court once and for all for the sake of the suffering citizens of Abia state deprived of good governance for over two decades and even now as we write.

However, the Rights group said the Abia State people must be the direct beneficiaries of the loots that have allegedly been retrieved or would be recovered from the former Abia State governor Mr. THEODORE Orji should the anti-corruption agency successfully obtains conviction just as the Rights group said instead of the assets and resources reportedlt taken away from Abia State to be returned to the Federal government of Nigeria and thereby depriving Abia state people of their rightful resources and assets purportedly diverted by someone they gave their mandate for eight years to preside over their political and economic affairs for a whole eight years, it is just and appropriate that everything taken away from Abia people be returned to them. HURIWA said it would amount to DOUBLE jeopardy for Abia State people to suffer the loss of their stolen assets and resources ornered by politicians should the Federal government corner them whenever final forfeiture orders are made by the Courts.

HURIWA said: " Although the report making the rounds that the former Abia State governor Mr THEODORE Orji may be charged soon for alleged heist of multibillion cash and resources belonging to Abia State during the periods he was the state elected administrator, we in the organised civil Rights body think that it is better late than never. But again we think the EFCC need not to have waited to secure the conviction of a former Abia State governor Orji Uzor Kalu for corrupt practices, before it, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to now decide to open an investigation into an alleged diversion of N525bn by another ex-governor of the state, Theodore Orji who has been out of office for almost 5 years and therefore has no executive constitutional immunity stopping his prosecution ever since after he left office as Abia State governor and handed over to the incumbent governor Okezie Ikpeazu who has just got re-elected for the second and final four year period. The petition is not new and so why wait till now? But again let us say that it i better late than never. As noted above, the information in the public space indicates that a petition dated March 17, 2017, was filed by Fight Corruption: Save Nigeria Group, in which the former governor was accused of receiving and diverting various sums of monies meant for the state’s development. According to a report on the petition, the monies were N383bn revenue from federal accounts, N55bn excess crude revenue, N2.3bn Sure-P, N1.8bn ecological funds, N10.5bn loan from First Bank of Nigeria through the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Local Government Affairs, N4bn loan from Diamond Bank, N12bn Paris Club refund, N2bn agricultural loan for farmers and N55bn Abia State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ASOPADEC).

Also, the petitioners alleged that the funds were received by the Abia State government, and nothing commensurate to show for it. One would have expected that the EFCC could have swung into action to immediately recover whatever could be recovered and prosecute the accused persons rather than wait for a whole five years to allow the principal accused to amass more political weight as Senator and again the EFCC waited even when one of the persons listed still holds a powerful political office in Abia state and could influence the disappearance of otherwise of any incriminating body of evidence in the custody of the Abia State government since both the person listed in this petition and the current Abia state governor work harmoniously. Be that as it may, We in HURIWA are strongly behind EFCC; that is if it is really factual that based on the petition, EFCC commenced investigations and discovered that the former governor, who was a Chief of Staff to the convicted ex-governor Orji Kalu, was the Authorising Officer drawing N500m monthly purportedly as Security Vote, which was converted.. HURIWA is therefore expecting the EFCC to comprehensively prosecute THEODORE ORJI and anyone connected to the grandscale underdebelopment of Abia state which has been ruined to an extent that there are really no quality state built roads; no quality hospitals built by the state, no quality primary or post primary institutions built by the state during these last 20 years and the few people who work as teachers and civil servants are not being paid as at when due with most pensioners spending years in squalor and poverty as their entitlements are not paid to them. Tjere is virtually 100 youtj unemployment in Abia State and the crime rate is so high so much so that the insecurity has discouraged investors from doing businesses in the state. Again THERE is total lack of energy or electricity power to power industrialisation and therefore provide employment opportunities to tens of thousands of graduates of Abia state origin."

HURIWA in the media Statement endorsed by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf said that Nigerians and especially citizens indigenous to Abia State should be appreciative of the profound effort of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in digging out the massive and extensive body of evidence of the monumental heist of the resources of Abia State people allegedly stolen during the tenures of the immediate past government.

"The Abia state people and the entire civil society community in Nigeria including the mass media should monitor the progress or otherwise of this matter and ensure that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission makes good the reported threat to drag the former governor and all his listed accomplices to the Court of competent jurisdiction to answer for the alleged economic demolition that happened in Abia state when he presided over that state". "The alleged squander of the resources of Abia state is manifestly unacceptable and this is why all hands must be on deck to ensure that there is justice in this long delayed matter. "

"We urge Nigerians not to treat this case like any other case in which we will simply shout now and after a while everyone go back to their shells and nothing would come out of this. The EFCC must Make hay whilst the sun shines and prosecute this THEODORE ORJI's case with professionalism and efficiency so the last penny taken away from the Abia State coffers be returned back to the suffering people of Abia state who have for over the past 16 years experienced the most criminal kind of maladministration and massive underdevelopment by the species of political leaders that they elected or are imposed on them through electoral heist by the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC)".

HURIWA has also tasked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to begin the prosecution of the immediate past governor of Imo State Mr. Rochas Okorocha so as to recover all the resources allegedly stolen by that government that was in place for eight years but ended up destroying basic infrastructures of Imo State and unleashing mass hunger and poverty on the people. "Imo State people must be vigilant so the newly installed Supreme court's returned governor Mr. Hope Uzodinma who is of same political family like Rochas Okorocha does not undermine the investigations and prosecution of Rochas Okorocha by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).