Anti-Corruption Fight: Group Warns Against Ethnic Interference
A Non-Governmental Organisation, Anti-Corruption and Research-Based Data Initiative (ARDI) has cautioned against ethnic meddlesomeness in the fight against corruption.
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The Executive Secretary of the group, Chief Dennis Aghanya, gave the caution in a statement made available to newsmen in Enugu on Sunday.
Aghanya said that the rate at which ethnic and socio-cultural organisations rise to the defence of politicians from their area under investigation for alleged corruption had become worrisome.
The executive secretary was reacting to recent outbursts by Ohaneze Ndigbo on the ongoing investigation of Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
It would be recalled that the EFCC had interrogated Ekweremadu over alleged ownership of no fewer than 60 choice property in and outside Nigeria.
The assets were suspected to have been acquired through illicit funds.
The apex Igbo cultural organisation, however, was swift to rise to the defence of Ekweremadu, describing the investigation as unjust.
“The ethnic dimension given to the ongoing investigation of the Deputy President of the Senate, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, by the EFCC is worrisome.
“Most worrisome is the role of Ohaneze Ndigbo which see every prosecution of their own extraction as unjust.”
Aghanya said that politicians needed to stop using religion and ethnicity to further divide the country or paint security agencies in bad light.
“Our position is that Ekweremadu should answer to the issues raised by the EFCC over the alleged 60 assets traced to him.
“He should also stop giving it the colouration of a persecution against Ndigbo.”
He said that Ohaneze Ndigbo needed to be neutral under the prevailing circumstance rather than sounding clannish.
“The fight against corruption does not recognise religion or ethnicity and should not be given such colouration.
“Ekweremadu’s problems are personal and should be treated as such.”
Aghanya said that the lawmaker needed to help the EFCC in their investigations with a view to proving his innocence or otherwise.
He said that it was dumbfounding how someone that had no substantial means of income before venturing into politics in 1999 would be linked with such number of property.
“We wish to commend the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property led by Okoi Obono-Obla for tracing those alleged assets.”
He said that the EFCC also needed to be commended for the courage to initiate investigations into the allegations as earlier petitions did not see the light of day.
“We, at ARDI, are determined to follow up this case to ensure that security agencies get to its roots for justice to be served,” Aghanya said.