By Chibuzo Ukaibe, Abuja
An advocacy group, Crafts Create Jobs Development Initiatives (CCJD) has said the corruption profiling of a former national publicity secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), was biased and influenced.
CCJD in a statement by its executive secretary, Comrade Frank Maduka, on Wednesday, said the profiling of Metuh as corrupt by HEDA chairman, Olaruwaju Saruj, even when the Appeal Court had quashed his earlier conviction, betrays a political influence and animosity against Metuh.
Stating that Metuh’s case shows clear political persecution which should rather be condemned by all, the CCJD cautioned that civil society organisations must conduct their affairs without any form of political or ethnic influences as being witnessed in the HEDA report on Metuh.
“Apart from political influence and tribal animosity, nothing else explains why Suraj would be attempting to profile Metuh, whose judgement at the High Court had since been quashed by the Appeal Court on the ground that the trial judge exhibited manifest bias in his matter.
“Suraj is aware that Metuh was never charged for corruption, stealing or misappropriation of public funds but that he “ought to have known” that the funds paid to into his firm’s account by the Presidency for an approved national assignment, which he duly carried out, was alleged proceeds of illegal activity of a Presidential aide.
“Suraj is also aware that Olisa Metuh does not work in the Presidency as well as the fact that the alleged illegal activities of the Presidential aide have not been established, even in any court of law in the land.
“It is imperative to state that Metuh never held any public office; he was never accused of stealing, misappropriating or siphoning of government funds at any point. It is therefore completely out of place for anybody to attempt to use him as a poster boy for corruption in Nigeria.
“We are therefore at a loss on the basis upon which Metuh’s case should be mentioned, if HEDA and Suraj are not part of the media trial as well as political and ethnic persecution against Metuh,” CCJD stated
The CCJD maintained that while it is not against any organisation orgarnising a public outing “to attract government patronage and recognition, it is imperative that such should not be a platform for political propaganda, falsehood and negative profiling against innocent citizens as in this case.”
“Olisa Metuh has suffered a lot of persecution, humiliation and victimization for no just cause and no well-meaning Nigerian will accept any attempt to subject him to further torture,” the group stated.
The CCJD also questioned the integrity of HEDA and its chairman who was recently arrested by the Police IG Monitoring team on charges of false information and forgery on issues relating to a particular case pending in court.
The group further accused Suraj of yielding his platform to a conspiratorial and colluding government agency as a vehicle to continue its media trial against Metuh.
CCJD also pointed out that if the nation had listened to Metuh’s cautions on national unity, security and economy, for which he is being persecuted, Nigeria would not be in the current sorry state