- Report Sponsored To Discredit Me – Minister
NIGERIA’S Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has described a report by the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) that he is deploying operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to protect his political allies in the State of Osun as a hatchet job.
Aregbesola, a former governor of the state, said the human rights group was paid to discredit him.
This is just as a pressure group in the state, the Osun Concerned Citizens, has also taken swipe at HURIWA, saying that its report is not only mischievous but also openly shows partisanship and hatred.
Aregbesola said: “It is a pity that such a report is from a Human Rights group. It is a hatchet-job which was paid for to discredit me. I was a Governor in that state for eight years. There is nothing else I would be than being a father figure in that state.
“I have told Nigerians that I will never run for the Senate. I did not abuse my office as a Commissioner and Governor for eight years and currently now that I am Minister that I have a lot to handle.”
The minister stated this yesterday at the State House Press Briefing while answering questions from State House correspondents on the achievements so far recorded under his ministry.
Reacting to the HURIWA report in a statement titled: “RE: Abuse and Misuse of NSCDC Officials for Political Bias in Osun,” the Osun Concerned Citizens berated the human rights group, noting that it had negated the true principles expected from human rights crusaders.
The pressure group said the petition against Aregbesola is a distinct show of bias by certain civil society platforms, populated by “come-and-raid” characters who love their pockets more than objectivity, justice and development.
Signed by its Public Relations Officer, Comrade Hafeez Olakunle, the group stated in the statement made available to OSUN DEFENDER yesterday, berated the claims of HURIWA while noting that the petition is shallow and bereft of concrete evidence to support its sponsored claim.
It reads in part: “For supposedly non-partisan platform of human rights activists and writers, any discerning and intelligent reader can plainly see how hopelessly partisan the statement is; symptomatic of the compromised state of many civil society organisations in Nigeria today – HURIWA deserving an award for dirty job and cash-and-carry NGOism.
“But for the fact that it has sank from a reputable height to the depth of naked partisanship that consequently occasion shallow perspectives, HURIWA should know that the issue of prevalent assault on correction centres are matters arisen from a graver national insecurity challenge.
“That the first respondent to protecting the custodial centres and inmate are the police; that the police and their stations themselves have come under overwhelming attacks nationwide, which is why NSCDC and other armed forces as now respondents to an unprecedented assault on national institutions, including the NDA, Army Bases, INEC Offices and many more for which the Inspector General of the police, Service Chiefs and INEC Chairman cannot be singled out for recrimination and persecution, despite that coordinated and efficient responses are expected from them.”
“As a grassrooted independent observer group based in Osun we were impartially at both APC congresses that took place in Osogbo on that day. We can confirm that organizers of both congresses invited all security agencies to their program.
“NSCDC is no different and nothing indicated that they were used as they only responded, at the one venue where such happened, to the invasion of thugs who attempted to disrupt peaceful Nigerians from exercising their constitutional and civic rights.
“Security agencies are duty bound to protect public gatherings, any day, any time when so requested. Rather than frown at the suspicious absence of duly notified and invited security agencies, HURIWA chose to castigate the agency that did the needful and avoided a bloody ending to a legitimate gathering!
“HURIWA, rather than do an objective analysis based on truthful reports, merely allowed itself to be used as a negative, partisan tool of falsehood peddling and personality maligning, in a long-running political contest within Osun APC, which basic truths and details are in the public space for over two years now.
“While not holding brief for NSCDC, they ought to not only respond appropriately but actually sue HURIWA for defamation of a dutiful, non-partisan Command of its that finds itself in a highly contentious political space.”