The Northern Elders Progressive Forum and Northern Professionals Development Group have expressed concerns over “politically motivated media attacks” on former governors in the country by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In a communique signed by the Chairman of the northern elders, Dr. Usman Sani, and his Secretary, Comrade Yusuf Abubakar Dingiyadi on behalf of both groups, they lauded the efforts of the new EFCC leadership but raised concerns regarding media publications on the reopening of cases against the former governors.
The groups noted that the hurried publications have now become a big embarrassment to the former governors, their families, political associates, and the country.
The groups emphasized their support for the fight against corruption while expressing dismay over the alleged lack of adherence to due process and the rule of law in media publications. They also suggested that certain political groups might be exploiting media platforms to tarnish the image of leaders for cheap political gains.
The groups called on the EFCC not to become a tool for political vendettas, urging a denouncement of the publication. They suggested that those behind the allegations should publicly sign a bond to pay compensation if the accused were found innocent after investigation and court processes.
They expressed disappointment at the alleged media trial of political leaders who have contributed positively to their respective states. “Dr. Bello Mohammed Matawalle, a serving political leader, was highlighted as an example of someone facing unjust accusations despite being cleared by security agencies.
“It is unfortunate that those who have done their best as governors to develop and make progress in their respective states are being ridiculed by some faceless groups through media trials,” they said.
“Most painful to see even the serving political leaders are not spared example of Dr. Bello Matawalle who has served Zamfara State meritoriously, honestly, diligently, and transparently, but his name was involved in this conspiracy by some hidden forces with the intention to destroy his good name and service rendered for the progress of his state and the country at large.
“Matawalle was successfully screened, and cleared by the Department of State Security and EFCC many weeks before appearing to the Senate for another screening and subsequently cleared as Honourable Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“It is pertinent to note that, those who are putting this campaign of calumny against his personality on media are just afraid of his growing popularity and acceptance, especially as Honourable Minister and political leader in the North West region and Nigeria as a whole.”
The groups urged the EFCC leadership to uphold its credibility, questioning the return of alleged documents after clearing individuals. They advised a cautious approach to avoid damaging the agency’s reputation and the efforts of other security agencies. (Guardian)