… says Nigeria democracy under crutches
By Emmanuel Elebeke
ABUJA- Worried by the possible derailment of the anti-graft campaign of this administration, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA has urged the federal government to disband forthwith, the Presidential Panel on Recovery of Public Property, PPRPP for its serial disregard for the rule of law and for directly undermining the constitution.
This is as the group also accused the Presidential panel of turning the war against corruption into war against opposition elements.
Addressing the press on Sunday in Abuja, the Coordinator of the association, Mr. Emmanuel Onwubiko, said the call for disbandment of PPRPP became necessary because of ‘the dubious duplicity and illegal manner of operation of the PPRPP, which are primitive, unconstitutional and unacceptable in a 21st century constitutional democracy.’
He said the association had on many occasions asked the government to allow the principle of rule of law and the strict applications of the constitution to guide the officials in all their conducts but noted that there was glaring evidence that the war against corruption has been corrupted to become war against opposition.’
According to him, the group had received multiple petitions against the PPRPP, especially its unorthodox methods of operations which are extra-legal.
Citing a response letter written by the WAEC to the Chairman ,Ad-Hoc Committee on Activities of the Presidential Investigation Panel, House of Representatives, National Assembly, Abuja dated 17th April, in which the examination body noted a disparity in the result of Chief Obono Obla, a copy of which was made available to the media, Onwubiko noted that the group had received petitions through calls about allegations of academic impropriety made against the Chairman of this Presidential panel on recovery of public property, but said it had resolved to follow the activities of the ad hoc committee set up by the House of Representatives to investigate the illegal activities of the panel.
Continuing, he said, ‘‘We are worried that the anti-graft campaign of this administration has significantly derailed and is rather totally focused as a political witch-hunt and nothing more.
‘‘We have on many occasions asked this government to allow the Principle of Rule of law and the strict applications of the Constitution to guide the officials in all their conducts but time and time again, there is glaring evidence that the war against corruption has been corrupted to become war against opposition.’’
Still speaking about the anti-graft campaign, HURIWA said ‘we had had cause to write to President Muhammadu Buhari to call for the disablement of the so called Presidential panel on recovery of public property which foundation was grounded on a dead military decree but the President has yet to even reply to our letter which we sent over three months now showing that the plots of this government for allowing the existence of this illegal contraption goes to indicate that the current government is planning to replace constitutional democracy with authoritarian communism.
‘‘This is because the Presidential panel on recovery of public property has completely started the massive clampdown on Nigerians and especially members of the opposition class who are known to own property of significant worth.
‘‘The modus operandi of this panel is to first of all approach their targets with a juicy proposal to join the All Progressives Congress and contribute to the running of the party and gain immunity from further harassment and for those who had stood their grounds. What this panel does is to instigate series of litigation in the courts presided over by some compromised judges who had also been blackmailed because of some assets traceable to them or their cronies.
‘‘We once more call on government to disband forthwith the so called Presidential panel on recovery of public property because of its dubious duplicity and their illegal manners of operations which are primitive, unconstitutional and unacceptable in a 21st century constitutional democracy,’’ it added.