HURIWA Condemns Police’s Clampdown on Whistleblower

HURIWA Condemns Police’s Clampdown on Whistleblower

… Demands His Release Immediately

Civil Rights Advocacy Group: Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (HURIWA)  has thrown its weight behind the decision of the  Coalition of South-East Youth Leaders, which on Tuesday, petitioned the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Kayode Egbetokun; the leadership of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission; and Amnesty International, to as a matter of urgency, probe the alleged diversion of N3 billion empowerment fund and the eventual arrest of a whistleblower, Comrade Chika Nwoba, in Ebonyi State.

Describing the underhand tactics of the Nigeria police force that has clamped down on the whistleblower Comrade Chika Nwoba as brutish, primitive, unconstitutional,  illegal and absolutely despicable, the Rights group has asked the Inspector-General of Police Mr Kayode Egbetokun to order the immediate release of the detained pro-transparency practitioner from the cruel and inhumane police detention facility in Ebony state, tender unreserved apologies for humiliating and abusing the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human rights of citizen Nwoba by the police and pay commensurate monetary compensation for abusing his constitutionally guaranteed Civil liberty.

HURIWA noted that the South East coalition of Youth leaders had in a statement signed by its President-General, Chief Goodluck Ibem, on Tuesday, equally urged the governor of Ebonyi State, Francis Nwifuru, to rise up to the occasion, shun sentiment and set up a panel of inquiry to ascertain the veracity or otherwise of the allegations of fraud in his administration as it concerns the empowerment fund. The Rights group said the call by this credible platform of Igbo young leaders should be adhered to if the Ebonyi State government officials have no skeleton in their cupboard just as the Rights group wondered why the identified State officials seemed to be in a high panic mood if they are not trying to hide something because a clear conscience fears no accusations.

HURIWA further recalled that the armed operatives of the Crack Team of Ebonyi State Police Command, on Sunday, had arrested Comrade Nwoba, for allegedly petitioning the EFCC that the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Chief Oguzor Offia-Nwaki, alongside three others, diverted N3 billion meant for the empowerment of Ebonyi hawkers across major cities in the country. He has since remained in police custody.

The Rights group stated that although the commissioner accused by the whistleblower of the alleged financial maladministration had debunked the allegation by saying that the whistleblower, Nwoba, was being mischievous and had no evidence to prove his claims, HURIWA wondered why the police is been deployed for witch-hunt.

The commissioner Mr. Offia-Nwaki said, “How could I have smuggled in 60 names into a program that was organised by a seven-man committee, led by the serving Commissioner for Trade and Investment, who acted as the chairman of the committee, which equally had a secretary? And I was neither the committee chairman nor the secretary, neither was the N1 billion mapped out for the programme paid into my ministry’s account or an account that I am signatory to. I am a member of the committee with Commissioners for Youths and Sports, Aviation, Agriculture, and the National President of FON Youth Movement. How could I have waved my magic wand and make these men and women give only me 60 slots out of the 100 slots?

HURIWA however condemns the arbitrary arrest and detention  by the Ebonyi state police command of the whistleblower on the illegal commands of the Ebonyi State government officials just as the Rights group said it is illegal for government officials to unjustifiably wield governmental powers to deploy the law enforcement agents to do their bidding just as the Rights group said since the petition was sent to the relevant anti-graft bodies charged with the powers of investigation of economic crimes, it was an abuse of power for the Ebonyi State government to use the police to harass, intimidate and humiliate the whistleblower rather than let the anti-corruption agencies so petitioned to investigate the petition against the Ebonyi State government officials on the merit of the matter.

“We in HURIWA are by this statement, urging the IGP to order the release unconditionally of this pro-transparency campaigner or order the Ebonyi State police command to charge the citizen to the competent court of law immediately so he can very rightly defend himself rather than detain him in such a fashion that depicts Nigeria as a Banana Republic.”

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