Civil Society Network Against Corruption [CSNAC], Okiro-Phobia, And The Fate Of Civil Society Activism In Nigeria/

JUNE 14, 2016.

Being a Press Release by FORUM OF CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS IN NIGERIA [FCSON] in response to Civil Society Network Against Corruption [CSNAC] petition against Sir Mike Okiro to President Muhammadu Buhari [PMB], published in some online newspapers and national dailies on June 12/13, 2016 .

TITLE: CIVIL SOCIETY NETWORK AGAINST CORRUPTION [CSNAC], OKIRO-PHOBIA, AND THE FATE OF CIVIL SOCIETY ACTIVISM IN NIGERIA.

Although, Forum of Civil Society Organizations in Nigeria [FCSON] is not in the habit of joining issues with civil society organizations on matters like this, as we assume that CSNAC, which claims to be a network against corruption outfit would have done a thorough investigation of the recycled allegation against the person of Okiro; but a quick look at the activities of Suraju Olanrewaju-led CSNAC shows that all its media outings on corruption allegations some government officials and Nigerians were based on earlier media reports on the same issue; instead of embarking on an independent but painstaking investigation before coming out with its petition. With respect to allegation of embezzlement leveled against the person of the chairman of the Police Service Commission [PSC], by the suspended staff of the Commission, Mr. Aaron Kaase, our research on what rely happened revealed the followings:

[1] That, Aaron Kaase was suspended by PSC after he was arraigned in court for allegedly duping someone of N1million on the pretext that he would secure United States of America’s visa for the fellow, and he was remanded in Kuje prison on the 15th of May 2015. Kaase’s arraignment in court was reported by Vanguard newspaper of May16, 2015 with this caption, PSC: Protocol Officer Arraigned for Cheating. Leadership newspaper had similar story on page 8 of May 16, 2015 edition.

[2] That, Aaron Kaase became a whistle blower after his arraignment in court as media reports on his petition against the person of Sir Mike Okiro, became public knowledge two weeks after his arraignment in court. We in FCOSN believe that fair minded Nigerians can only buy the story of victimization, if Aaron Kaase had blown his so-called whistle before his arraignment, like Edward Snowden did in the United States of America [USA], before running to Russia to seek asylum.

[3] That, Aaron Kaase was suspended from service in accordance with the extant civil service rule. Public Service Rule 030406 states: Suspension “shall apply where a prima facie case, the nature of which is serious, has been established against an Officer and it is considered necessary in the public interest that he/she should forthwith be prohibited from carrying out his/her duties. Pending investigation into the misconduct, the Federal Civil Service Commission or the Permanent Secretary/ Head Extra-Ministerial Office (if within his/her delegated powers) shall forthwith suspend him/her from the exercise of the powers and functions of his/her office and from the enjoyment of his/her emoluments.”

[4] That, “Paragraph 3 of the ICPC report states ‘The investigation has not revealed any act of criminal infraction against the person of Sir. (Dr.) Mike Mbama Okiro, the Chairman of the Police Service Commission as all issues outlined above are administrative in nature and within the ambits of career public servants handling’.

[5] That, the ICPC in its report directed Sir Mike Okiro-led PSC to remit N133m to the Federal Government Treasury Single Account [TSA], through the ICPC recovery account. The money was the balance of the N350m the PSC received for staff training and physical monitoring of police personnel during the last general elections, and still domicile in PSC Project Account in FCMB.

[6] That, Aaron Kaase is still standing trial for the criminal offence he allegedly committed in PSC, and that no court has dismissed the case against him. For the avoidance of doubt, the case against him, Kaase, will be coming up for hearing on June 17, 2016.

It is our considered opinion therefore, that Suraju Olanrewaju and his CSNAC are out to tarnish the reputation image and the integrity of ICPC, Presidential Advisory Council [PAC] and EFCC as they did not do his bidding by finding Sir Mike Okiro guilty as charged by Suraju. Nigerians know that these establishments boost of intellectuals and people of attestable integrity.

We are worried that Suraju Olanrewaju,s CSNAC without any identifiable means of livelihood is out to bring the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to disrepute as Suraju and his co-travelers in CSNAC have elected to rubbish credible anti-corruption institutions of government in Nigeria, in its base bid to pull Sir Mike Okiro down.

FCSON wants to insist that any civil society group worthy of its name must clearly understand its actions, especially when wholesome petition calling for criminal probe of government officials are based on hearsay without any evidence. If we may ask, why is it difficult for CSNAC to conduct some fact finding of its own to ascertain wanton accusations before accepting it as gospel truth? Why would any organization rely solely on media reports for a petition that can be hijacked for ulterior motives as truth? In-fact, it is necessary that we separate our activism from politically motivated actions, many of which we are already witnessing today, that serves not the interest of people beyond promoting the agenda of those behind it as the case here.

Finally, since Suraju Olanrewaju-led CSNAC has elected to dance to the whims and caprices of those that commissioned it to pass guilty verdict on Sir Mike Okiro, despite the opinions of the appropriate organs of government saddled with the responsibility of fighting corruption in Nigeria; Okiro may as well institute libel suit against CSNAC as its latest petition to President Muhammadu Buhari, against his person smacks of mischief and potentially libelous, at best.

Signed:

Ellis AkamaIgbo Jack Yinka Joseph

National Coordinator. National Secretary.