By Jerry Emmanson, Abuja
Rights group, Benue Coalition for Justice, Equity and Fairness has taken a swipe at some powerful individuals in the State hell-bent on embarrassing the former state governor, Gabriel Suswam, saying it is most unfortunate and unacceptable. Reacting to the probe panel set up by the state governor, Samuel Ortom to probe Suswam’s administration, the group said it is disheartening that pressing issues of governance have been jettison in preference for a witch-hunt.
A statement signed by the National President of Benue Coalition for Justice, Equity and Fairness, Peter Hwande and Secretary General, Ogbole Alechenu said the desperation of those behind the probe was such that they could not wait for the rigged outcome of the panel before hurriedly dragging Suswam to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)even before they have properly articulated their grievances.
The statement issued on Saturday said “Governor Ortom would have settled down to the serious business of governance if he had genuinely secured the mandate of Benue people and not on the strength of the card reader machine that allocated him and his associates votes in the last elections.
“It is clear from the onset that the probe is inconsequential and inconsistent with the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and hence the need for Suswam to challenge the action in court. The fact that the probe cannot withstand judicial scrutiny and the foreknowledge of the impending moral defeat of efforts to persecute Suswam through that ill-conceived agenda was what forced these characters to resort to using the EFCC in the hope of massaging their ego.
“We see both the probe and the contrived EFCC invitation as related actions that expose the desperate attempts by the selfish godfathers in Benue State, who see the state treasury as their cash cow, as they struggle to keep attention away from their recent expenditures that have outraged even their own fan base.” The group stressed.
The statement, which noted that the Benue Coalition for Justice, Equity and Fairness represents nobody and represents everybody in the state, said it is good for Nigerians to know that the Suswam’s era represented the best period for the state since 1999 except for the unfortunate delayed salaries which became the bane of the entire country in the last two years as a result of a global economic meltdown.
It pointed out that while it was aware that Benue people are interested in a probe, “they were not asking for a selective probe panel that will canonize the devil himself and criminalize angels just to satisfy the drunken ego of a few in the society.
“It will be good to note that those who pride themselves as change agents and instituting the petitions are characters that took active part in the administration of Benue State in the last 16 years directly or indirectly and cannot at the same time become judges in their own cases. We think the probe is additionally a ploy to grant them unfettered access to state resources while hiding under ugly pictures from the past as a cover up strategy.” It explained in the statement.
It said the probe panel that would be acceptable to the people of Benue state must not have compromised individuals or their proxies as members just as it must also include representatives of neutral sections of the state.