By Chimezie Godfrey
The Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED) has condemned attempts by certain individuals to use institutions of the Nigerian State to intimidate and silence genuine anti-corruption crusaders.
In a statement, the Executive Director, CHRICED, Comrede Dr. Ibrahim Zikirullahi lamented that anti-corruption campaigners, who are insisting on justice and restitution for sundry acts of looting and plundering of the nation’s scarce resources are being unduly pressured in a bid to silence them.
He noted that ironically, the indicted persons, who should be answering for their actions are being pampered and protected using the institutions of the State.
He said,”The Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED) strongly condemns the attempts by certain well-heeled individuals and interest groups to use institutions of the Nigerian State for the sinister purpose of intimidating, harassing and silencing genuine anti-corruption crusaders demanding accountability for injustices perpetrated against the Nigerian State and its citizens through acts of monumental corruption by some public officials.
“One becomes worried by the vivid account presented in the Sahara Reporters story of October 10, 2021 on the state conspiracy on the Malabu saga, including the haste with which the case file on the alleged cyberstalking case against the activist was put together.
“CHRICED is also shocked and much dismayed hounding and harassment of Suraj, who has made indelible contributions as far as the fight against corruption and its destructive effects on the Nigerian polity, are concerned.
“CHRICED attests to the fact that Mr. Suraj is a courageous, and patriotic citizen who put the interest of the country above his personal comfort and convenience, by leading the Nigerian leg of the campaign to hold to account, officials who ripped the country off through the Malabu OPL 245 oil block deal.”
Zikirullahi stressed that those after Mr. Suraj are the direct beneficiaries of this grand scale larceny against the Nigerian people in which $1.1billion disappeared into the private pockets and bank accounts of public officials.
He added that those monies ought to have gone into the treasury to fund basic services in health, education, infrastructure and other development goals.
He said these corrupt elements, who sacrificed the interest of the country on the altar of their greed appear to have succeeded in influencing the Nigeria Police Force to recommend Mr. Suraj for prosecution by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation for alleged cyber stalking.
The Executive Director pointed out that he is only being hounded and coerced because he has demanded accountability, which is the right of every citizen in a democratic system.
He therefore called on patriotic and well-meaning civil society organizations to speak up, and use every legal means necessary to insist on the protection of the rights of Comrade Suraj.
“As we would always say, it is Mr. Suraj of HEDA being harassed by corrupt elements today. If Nigeria’s civil society groups fail to speak up in solidarity with him, it could be any other activist tomorrow; and the vicious circle of impunity will continue to haunt all citizens who insist that the right be done,” he emphasized.