HURIWA knocks EFCC over Orji Kalu’s trial
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has carpeted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) latest trial and ‘political persecution’ of former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu.
It said it was inconceivable that the EFCC would devote time and resources to chase shadows due to preconceived political agenda to de-market a leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who hopes to clinch the party’s presidential ticket.
HURIWA lamented that EFCC’s move is a plot to deny the South East region of the opportunity of getting the president of the country.
In a statement issued yesterday in Abuja by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, it asked the EFCC to tell Nigerians the logic of seeking to transfer the trial of a matter that happened in Abia State, to Lagos as if the South East has become the outpost of the South West of Nigeria.
Describing the move as “provocative, as well as vexatious”, the group said: “The latest EFCC ‘s application in which it prayed the Abuja Federal High Court to transfer the fresh trial of Kalu over alleged N 7.1 billion fraud to Lagos smacks of desperate attempt by the anti-graft agency to politically harass him to quit his presidential aspiration.
“We hereby condemn the EFCC for its undue interest and desperation to terminate the political of the former Abia State Governor, who had been cleared of having anything to do with the politically motivated persecution to rubbish the presidential ambition, just because he is Igbo.”
HURIWA recalled that the EFCC on Thursday last week asked a Federal High Court Abuja to transfer to its Lagos division, the fresh trial of Kalu and two others in an alleged N7.1 billion fraud.
“The motion on notice seeking the transfer was brought pursuant to sections 18, 19, 22 and 45 of the Federal High Court Act 2010 and section 93 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.
He, therefore, asked Justice Inyang Ekwo to issue an order transferring the trial to Lagos in compliance with the Supreme Court order.
When the matter came on Thursday, Justice Ekwo said that he would not be able to take the application in view of the approaching Easter holidays.
HURIWA expressed concern that the EFCC is seeking to prosecute Kalu twice on the same matter in which a judge, who was elevated to the Court of Appeal chose to hang on as a Federal High Court judge.