Human rights agitation won’t derail anti-graft battle – FG

Human rights agitation won’t derail anti-graft battle – FG
January 22 10:57 2016

The Federal Government on Thursday stated that it won’t allow the agitation about respect for the fundamental human rights of some high profile suspects who are standing trial for stealing the people’s commonwealth, derail the ongoing anti-corruption battle.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said during a visit to the Women FM 91.7 radio station in Arepo, Ogun State that corrupt politicians have lost the moral authority to claim their rights were denied when their alleged actions eroded other people’s rights and led to countless deaths and agony.

Mohammed said he found it strange that after engaging in reckless looting of the country’s resources, some corrupt politicians are now busy shouting that their rights are begin trampled upon.

He added that the Federal Government was not selective in its anti-corruption war as being claimed because it was only logical that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which was in power for 16 years should be the focus of the corruption probes.

“The Federal Government is being criticized for infringing on human rights. This is not true. People who have stolen billions of naira have no moral authority to be claiming human rights when their theft left to the infringements of other people’s rights, deaths and suffering. We want Nigerians to weigh the matter. Fifty five Nigerians stole over N1.34tn in eight years. Should we now jettison the rights of 170 million Nigerians whose rights have been tampered with because of these few people who have stolen the country blind?

“When we start talking about human rights, we need to put the issue in the right perspectives. The granting of bail is at the discretion of the court of law and when there is a tendency that someone is likely to jump bail, such a right may be declined.”

Speaking on the report that two versions of the 2016 budget were presented to the National Assembly, Mohammed said the row was caused by ‘communication gap’ between the Presidency and the National Assembly.

He listed poor funding as one of the factors hindering the EFCC in prosecuting high-profile corruption cases.

He continued: “While it takes just little time to prosecute an average offender, it takes seven years to prosecute a high-profile person for corruption charges. This is because the corrupt leaders can afford to hire the smartest lawyers which even the EFCC cannot afford to hire. Finance is crippling the operations of the anti-graft commission.”

Speaking earlier, the Chairman of WFM, Dr. Babatunde Okewale, hailed the Federal Government’s anti-corruption war, adding that it was unfortunate that women and children were the major victims of the public treasury looting.

“We would like the Ministry of Information to revamp the National Orientation Agency to help restore our cultural values and stop harmful cultural practices affecting women and the girl child,” he said.