The hierarchy of the Independent Corrupt Practices and allied offences Commission (ICPC) has been upbraided by the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS’ ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA [HURIWA]for allegedly allowing themselves to be used by the presidency to harass an Abuja – based Journalist Mr. Tom Chiahemen over his alleged professional business interest with erstwhile education minister – Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili when she served in that capacity.
Besides, the democracy inclined Non-Governmental organization – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS’ ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) wants the Independent corrupt practices and allied offences commission (ICPC) to stop being used for political witchunt of perceived political opponents of the current administration such as Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili but rather should tackle the unprecedented cases of corruption that pervade the Federal ministries and the 36 states of the federation including Abuja.
“Why for instance has ICPC not gone after FCT officials for proposing to use a whopping N4 Billion of public fund to finance the building of the official complex of the African First Ladies Mission even when this body is unknown to the Nigerian Constitution?”, HURIWA asked.
HURIWA said because ICPC over the years have gone to sleep that is the reason police pension fund was massively looted by top civil servants without trace not until the National Assembly’s probe forced the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission[EFCC] to arrest and arraign the alleged suspects in the monumental heist of public pension fund meant for retired police operaties.
The group also challenged the ICPC to go after corrupt civil servants who are currently engaged in the bonanza of looting public fund meant for building of infrastructure and procurement of other essential services which is the reason for the collapse of the social infrastructure of roads, public healthcare facilities; Nigerian Railways and the erratic Electricity power supply situation in Nigeria even after a whopping sum of $16 billion USD was reportedly invested by the Obasanjo’s regime in the electricity power sector.
In a statement endorsed jointly by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National media Affairs Director Miss. Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said the recent incessant question without the presence of his legal counsel of the Abuja – based journalist Mr. Tom Chiahemen by the ICPC over pure business transactions done by a privately registered company superintended by Mr. Chiahemen with the federal education ministry under Mrs. Ezekwesili is a clear subterfuge by the anti-graft body to send some ominous signals to the prime target Mrs. Ezekwesili who recently attacked President Jonathan over allegations of financial indiscretion.
HURIWA warned the ICPC that Nigerians may lose total faith in its ability to battle corruption even as the Rights body tasked the anti-graft panel to rescue the much vilified public image of the anti-corruption panel seen as a toothless bull dog by not availing itself generously to be used as attack dog by the powers – that – be against perceived political opponents.
HURIWA recalled that recently, the former education minister Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili accused the federal government of mismanaging $45 billion USD in the nation’s foreign Reserve account and another $22 Billion USD from the Excess Crude Oil account which were handed over in 2007 by the President Obasanjo’s government tohis successors.
On the reported questioning of Mr. Chiahemen over his company’s [Cattigan communications limited] handling of advertisement placements on behalf of the education ministry during Mrs. Ezekwesili’s tenure, HURIWA averred that the move by ICPC is a blackmail with the remote intent to scare the erstwhile education minister to keep silent over the monumental allegation of misappropriation of the nation’s Commonwealth by the late Yar’adua and the current administrations.
The Rights body stated: “Going by the reported encounter of Mr. Tom Chiahemen and the ICPC, it could be deciphered that the ulterior motive for this sudden investigation is the person of the former education minister Mrs. Ezekwesili who is currently embroiled in a media war with the current federal government over circumstances surrounding the administration of the nation’s foreign reserves and the so-called Excess crude account since 2007. We are not against lawful probe of alleged financial indiscretion by statutory bodies so clothed with the powers to so do, but we frown at situations whereby the anti-corruption agency will have to wait to be used as an attack dog by the federal government against perceived political opponents”.
“All right thinking patriots expect the ICPC and EFCC to dispassionately investigate the alleged misappropriation of Nigeria’s $67 Billion USD and bring the culprits to trial rather than embark on systematic attack of the person of former education minister by harassing private Nigerians who carried out what looks like legitimate transaction with the ministry of education under Mrs. Ezekwesili. ICPC must be professional and stop this regime of witchunt”, HURIWA, stressed.