The Nigerian National Summit Group (NNSG) has decried the growing pattern of self-serving myopic propaganda tactics being deployed by government officials and bodies, whilst warning that it could trigger massive violent social unrest nationwide.
In a Public Statement released in Lagos on Sunday by NNSG Executive Secretary, Mr. Tony I. Uranta, the Summit Group reaffirmed support for President Buhari’s Anti-Corruption War, but insists that the war must be non-selective and follow the Rule of Law, citing the recent losses by the FGN in four major court cases as proof that Trial by Media cannot substitute for thorough investigations and properly prosecuted cases.
“Trial by media”, asserted Mr. Uranta, “including the recent propaganda deployments by the EFCC, have not only been too loosely woven around unverified facts, but have even calculatedly encouraged libelous falsehoods, whilst inflaming public passion.”
The group said, “The rush, by the EFCC, for example, to mass communicate the putative discoveries of humongous amounts of allegedly looted monies, without first ascertaining their ownership, smacks of professional impropriety, especially considering how many now obviously innocent individuals have had their names and integrity at least passively impugned via nigh-libelous association with said sums, by the anti-corruption agency”.
“Without attempting to hold brief for, say, Ms. Mo Abudu, Mrs. Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue, or Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, one can guess that unless the EFCC speedily offers them very public apologies”, Uranta continues, “the stigma created by the media outcry, that wrongly linked them to the apartment in which the funds were discovered, may never be lived down by them. And, now that we learn that the NIA had immediately claimed ownership of the apartment and funds, one wonders in whose interest it was to ignore this and still allow for the growth of malicious public and media speculation. Even now, the uncalled-for publicity as to who the real owners of the apartments in the complex are, is distasteful and dangerous!”
The Summit Group cautions that government agencies and the media be careful, in future, before carelessly broadcasting sensational information, so as not to become the cause of a violent national social upheaval by misled Nigerians who are already on edge and frustrated with the status quo during this recession.
The NNSG further calls on members of the Nigerian public and all law enforcement agents to also be on the alert for criminals that may attempt to impersonate the security agencies so as to gain forced, or coerced, illegal entry into innocent individuals’ homes, offices, and other premises.
Finally, NNSG gives notice that it will deploy the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act to demand the EFCC immediately obeys Mr. President’s instruction, given a couple of weeks ago, that the anti-graft body tread the natural path of transparency and accountability, by urgently producing an Interim Audit Report of all monies recovered by the agency, to date, beginning from the tenure of the former EFCC Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde.