NGO condemns CSOs, activists over Yahaya Bello

Yahaya Bello

A non-governmental organisation (NGO), Journalists Against Corruption (JAC)  has condemned some civil society organisations (CSOs) for berating the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over its move to arrest the former Governor of Kogi state, Mr. Yahaya Bello.

In a statement issued in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital on Thursday and endorsed by Mr Austin Uche and Kayode Akinola, Coordinator and Secretary respectively, the group said the action of the so-called civil society groups led by Debo Adeniran of the Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) and others was a mockery of civil society organisations.

“That some so-called CSOs and human rights activists could march on the streets of Lagos in support of a politically exposed man accused of looting the commonwealth of his people and has refused to surrender himself for questioning is a show of the lowest ebb that CSOs have sunk and an open mockery of the movement.

“Forerunners of the civil society movement in Nigeria like the late Chief (Mrs) Olufummilayo Ransome-Kuti, Chief Gani Fawehinmi and Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti, among others, would be turning in the graves seeing the level of shame and ridicule that the movement has sunk.

“Seeing that these characters and those who once labelled them as human rice (not rights) and beans activities are now on the same page makes one wonder how bad things have gone. We do not want to imagine that these characters did what they did for pecuniary gains. Let their conscience and posterity be the judge.

“But, as critical stakeholders in the civil society movement and the Nigerian project at large, we cannot allow this to slide. It is important to let the whole world know that these people do not represent the true character, essence and nature of the CSOs in Nigeria.

“For the avoidance of doubt, no one is above the law, no matter his position. We advise Yahaya Bello and his horde of mercenaries to take a cue from President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and other political leaders who have been questioned about their tenures in office.

“Recall that in 2011, President Bola Tinubu was arraigned before the Code of Conduct Tribunal for allegedly operating some foreign accounts while he was the Governor of Lagos state between 1999 and 2007.

“He did not spurn Police invitation or mount a bulwark of defence to evade arrest. Rather, he surrendered and subjected himself to the Rule of Law. Other examples are Ayodele Fayose, Willie Obiano and Abdulfatah Ahmed, just to mention a few.

“We advise Yahaya Bello to toe the path of decency and civility by surrendering himself to law enforcement agencies and the court. After all, under our jurisprudential system, he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.”

The group further advised the former governor to stop being hoodwinked and wasting his money on “some noisemakers masquerading as human rights activists and CSOs. They cannot help you and they do not have anything to offer except empty noise, full of fire and fury, signifying nothing. Be a man and face your trial like one.”