BY SEGUN ADEBAYO, ABUJA – A group, under the auspices of Nigeria Coalition for Change, has called on the Federal Government to desist from further harassment and intimidation of the former Central Bank of Nigeria’s Deputy Governor, Mr Obadiah Mailafia, over his media interview on the country’s increasing wave of insecurity.
In a statement signed by the coalition’s chairman, Samuel Ayodele, at the weekend, the group declared that it was opposed to the manner the nation’s security agencies were inviting Mailafia since the issue began.
Ayodele charged the police and the Department of State Service (DSS) to investigate the statement credited to the former presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), rather than subjecting him to ridicule, torture and trauma.
The group, which is based in Washington DC, maintained that the statement allegedly credited to Mailafia indicting a sitting governor as one of the sponsors of Boko Haram should assist security agencies to beam searchlight on the current insecurity ravaging the nation in a bid to resolve insurgency, rather than being politicised.
The coalition said that it was wrong and unpatriotic for the security agencies to subject the Oxford-trained Economist to unnecessary psychological torture over the alleged indicting comment.
According to the statement, “We members of the Nigeria Coalition for Change, United States of America chapter, frowned at the way Mr. Obadiah Mailafia was being harassed, pummeled and derided by the operatives of the DSS and police over his comment.
“Since he exhibited that uncommon courage to openly comment that he heard it from good authority that a sitting governor was behind Boko Haram insurgents, we perceived that the man had been subjected to all forms of harassment, which suggested that the government found the revelation shocking and unacceptable.
“In a civilised clime, what they normally do when such a statement is made is to investigate and bring out counter evidence to disprove whatever had been said, if the government was in doubt.
“Up to now, we have not seen or heard the security architecture of the government coming up with a counterclaim. All they have been doing was to deride the man to portray him as heating up the polity or plotting to destabilise the nation.
“The question agitating our mind has been that has the government thoroughly investigated his claim? Has he been found to be purveyor of fake news? If these were untrue, why was he being shabbily treated even without investigation? This was an injustice to a Nigerian citizen.
“We believe that equity and justice depict that a citizen is perceived innocent until his claim is proven otherwise. This case seems to negate the norm under this context.
“We appeal to the federal government to give him a fair deal in this matter and a fair deal comes when he is accorded fair hearing, freedom of speech and privilege to self-respect and personal liberty as guaranteed by the 1999 constitution”.