HURIWA faults EFCC’s defence over alleged assault on actress
Leading civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has condemned the alleged physical brutality meted out on a Nollywood actress, Miss Helen Duru, who shared bloody pictures of herself as she claimed she was assaulted by personnel of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Enugu.
The group said if the egregious violations of Duru’s constitutionally protected human rights (enshrined in chapter 4 of the Constitution) such as right to dignity of her human person, right to privacy and the right to freedom from physical torture are established to be true, then the operatives of the anti-corruption agency that inflicted the wounds must be named, shamed and sanctioned in accordance with the law of the land.
EFCC, in a statement signed by its spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren on September 3, 2022, had dismissed the allegation, urging members of the public to ignore Duru’s claim because the “officers are not assaulters or terrorists.”
Uwujaren added that the Commission would further analyse the video of the assault for more forensic details “and possible legal action to dissuade those who seem to be making an industry of falsely accusing and maligning the commission.”
He explained that deeper checks on the matter showed that certain blackmailers could be bandying some known names in the Enugu zonal command to settle some scores, insisting that the commission is strictly guided by its standard operational procedures.
HURIWA, however, said the anti-graft agency, in its attempt to deny the assault on the young actress, delved into the arena of argumentum ad hominem of pouring unnecessary, undeserving and indecent insults on the person of the alleged victim rather than behave like a law enforcement agency that ought to moderate the use of language.
The group said that the EFCC’s press statement was poorly crafted, devoid of logic and elegance, but chose the way of confrontation and abuses, which is totally unethical and indecorous.
HURIWA lamented that a citizen of Nigeria made a complaint in a civil manner whereby she even copied the anti-graft agency, alleging that she was physically brutalised, but the same EFCC rather than approach the matter with civility and decorum chose to further adopt the use of verbal violence and invective against the alleged victim of its reported high-handedness and alleged lawlessness.
The Rights group wondered why internal investigative mechanisms were not adequately activated to ascertain what actually happened instead of the media department of the anti-graft agency rushing to the social media with half-truths, innuendos and outright attack of the character of the alleged victim of their invasion and physical torture.
It, therefore, asked the National Assembly’s committees on public petitions to take note of the matter and investigate the operatives of the EFCC over the allegation and the use of inflammatory language, which fall under hate speech.