Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole said there is nothing wrong handcuffing Mr. Olisah Metuh, the Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to answer to charges of corruption levelled against him in relation to the $2.1bn arms fund.
Speaking during a meeting with the new Executive Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Edo State Council, led by Sir Roland Osakwe in Benin City, on Wednesday, the Governor said those who are accused of stealing he-goats are handcuffed and paraded by the police and get no sympathy from the public, why then should Metuh and others who diverted huge public funds be treated with respect and sympathy?
Oshiomhole said: “I want to appeal to the Media to join President Buhari in fighting the anti-corruption war because if we don’t, and we allow these people to harass the President to silence, all of us are in trouble.
“I saw some headlines querying why should Metuh be in handcuffs. If people who steal he-goats, dried grass cutters are in handcuffs, I have been to the Police Station several times and I see young men who rob not more than N500,000 naira in handcuffs, they are paraded and made to sit on the floor. Why should certain set of criminals be treated as if they are not suspected criminals and serious crimes at that?
“When you all reported lavishly how under the former President, the former Defence Chief set up a Military Tribunal to try soldiers who ran away from battle field and they were condemned to death, it was only Femi Falana who was consistent in fighting their case. Those are Nigerians who were to be killed for running away because they couldn’t confront a Boko Haram that was well armed while they were asked to go and fight with their bare hands and we were told that weapons, ammunition and everything had been provided.”
Oshiomhole continued, “When Borno Governor said, ‘look, our Armed Forces are fighting with bare hands’, he was told to shut up. Now it is clear from current revelations that the money that would have been used to arm these young men who joined the army with pride and who on a good day have the courage to fight not only at home but abroad, but because they didn’t have arms, they ran away. They were sentenced to death. Thanks to Buhari, some have been commuted now to various terms of imprisonment which I applaud and I think even that one should further be reviewed, they should submit their uniform but remain free people.
“Now, those who shared that money, this is not the usual security money, this is special appropriation to fight Boko Haram, $2.1 billion, people just shared it, everybody was using their son, co-opting young children into this while other people’s children were sentenced to death. And anybody who partakes in that and they put him in handcuffs, they say, why should he be in handcuffs because he is an elite and the media will report it without also showing us pictures of some Nigerians whose fathers are not known, but are not less Nigerian than any of us, who are always not only in handcuffs but are put on the floor in various police stations and paraded even before they are charged to court and we all look at them and turn to the next pictures, it doesn’t attract a commentary.
“Why should some criminals just be celebrated even when we all can feel the amount of damage, the consequences of their rascality on our collective wellbeing? I think the media should support the President. This is not President Buhari’s fight, and you know he had reminded us that if we don’t kill corruption, it will kill us. Now corruption is fighting back.
“I read one article and I was shocked with the ease at which he attempted to turn logic upside down. He said that Chief Anthony Anenih has shown how he shared the money he got from the National Security Adviser that was paid to his bank account unlike other people, he didn’t deny it. Can you deny what they pay to your bank account? If he carried it the way they usually carried money in bullion van, he would have denied it but this time, the policeman in him failed him and the money was paid into his account so he was not at liberty to deny what was documented in a banking transaction.
“And then, he goes on to say he was not in a position to know that when Jonathan asked him to bring his Bank Account, he was not in a position to know the source of the money that was going to be used. Ok, maybe until he got the money, he wasn’t going to know, alright, as a former Policeman, who left Police Force under very questionable circumstances as an Assistant Commissioner, when the money hit his account, was the name of the payee not stated? When you get alert, don’t you know the source but a former Assistant Commissioner of Police didn’t know the money came from NSA office.”
Oshiomhole further stated: “So when they say those things and that the country is being ungrateful to him, can you imagine how they insult our collective intelligence and the guy even went on to say Comrade has shut up since he saw how Anenih spent the money and all these are being reported as sources close to EFCC. Why should his own be based on sources close to EFCC? He should go to EFCC and make that statement on a prescribed form, the way it is done in a Police Station.
“And it is only when they are in trouble that they tell us they have medical condition. Until now, nobody knew that they had medical condition so even health is being used as an emotional instrument to curry public sympathy. Which is worst, those who are ill now because they are under investigation or those who have died as a result of the crime they committed?
“So, you see, he agreed in sharing XYZ but he has not published the detail of the remaining fund. He has not disclosed how he spent it. The one they were distributing in Benin, they have not explained because you were aware when dollars and naira were being distributed. So the Edo version is yet to be opened up and it will be opened. So Anenih must be prosecuted like any other suspect, he can’t run away from it.”