Group slams Jonathan over Boni Haruna, Mu’azu’s appointments

HURIWA says both former governors are facing corruption charges and should decline their new jobs.

A group, Human Rights Writers’ Association, HURIWA, has slammed President Goodluck Jonathan for supporting the appointment of Adamu Mu’azu as the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and nominating a former governor of Adamawa State, Boni Haruna, as minister.

The group also asked Messrs Mu’azu and Haruna to decline the appointments.

Mr. Mu’azu, a former governor of Bauchi State, was inaugurated on Monday as the new PDP national chairman following the exit of Bamanga Tukur last Thursday. On his part, Mr. Haruna was among the 12 ministerial nominees Mr. Jonathan forwarded to the Senate for confirmation.

HURIWA, in a statement on Wednesday, by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko and National Media Director, Zainab Yusuf, said both men are facing corruption charges arising from their roles in Bauchi and Adamawa States between 1999 and 2007.

It said while the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, filed 28 amended charges against Mr. Haruna and three others in 2009, Mr. Mu’azu was being investigated for allegedly stealing billions of naira belonging to Bauchi State during his tenure.

The Rights group criticized Mr. Jonathan, who is also the leader of the PDP, for demonstrating “brazen insensitivity” to the public agitation for government to reinvent a vibrant anti-corruption battle.

It said that the appointment of persons facing indictments of damaging criminal allegations even when several other technocrats without blemish were available showed how unserious the Nigerian state under the current dispensation was at waging war against corruption.

The group noted that the impression already created by the elevation of Messrs. Mu’azu and Haruna even when they were yet to be cleared by the courts following allegations of criminal offences, was a bad signal for Nigeria’s anti-graft crusade. It blamed the EFCC and the nation’s judicial system for deploying sinister technical glitches to derail the speedy and efficient prosecution of alleged suspects of financial crimes among the highly politically exposed Nigerians over the past few years.

The group stated that the inability of the Commission and the courts of competent jurisdiction to wind up the prosecution of the high profile cases against past governors had brought unmitigated bad image in the international community to Nigeria, which was now being regarded as a nation administered by politicians as a ‘criminal entity’.

“We acknowledged that constitutionally, an accused person is innocent in the eye of the law until convicted by the competent court of law, but we are also aware that in all sane societies, the moment any criminal charges are filed against persons, the most honourable line of action is for such persons to step aside from public offices and face the judicial process to clear their names since good name is globally believed to be more precious than wealth and political patronage,” it said.

HURIWA urged the Senate “to save Nigeria from the spectacular global opprobrium that has characterized the recent appointment of the duo by turning down the confirmation of Mr. Haruna as a minister and also advising Alhaji Mu’azu to quit his post as National chairman of Peoples Democratic Party.”

HURIWA also frowned at the preeminent positional roles being played by persons with suspicious and bogus financial assets in the newly formed All Progressives Congress, APC.

It called on the Nigeria’s civil society community “to wake up from slumber, name and shame these reactionary elements in all the political parties who are warming up to deploy their ill- gotten wealth at public cost to manipulate the 2014 general elections.”

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