Group Calls For Fair Treatment For Former Minister Sadiya Umar-Farouq, Frowns At Media Trial
A Civil Society Organization (CSO), The Legends Mandate (TLM) has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to be fair and dispassionate in its investigation of the activities of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
The group urged the anti-graft agency not to be carried away by the salacious and sensational reports around the alleged diversion of funds, but to sift through the clarifications the former minister had been invited to offer.
Group President, Dr. Isaiah Adamu said the sound of big billions was not enough to assume that funds had been misappropriated “especially if we consider the predominance of poverty in the land, which the ministry was set up to resolve.”
According to him “We are easily overwhelmed by big budget ministries, but if we look closely, we will discover that the monies were not even enough in the first instance. Just imagine you give five thousand naira to ten million people, or ten thousand naira to twenty million people. Calculate it and see what you will get.”
This, he stressed, the ministry had been doing in a nation dubbed as the poverty capital of the world.
According to him: “The people have low trust in their leaders, and the media is taking advantage of this, instead of correcting wrong impressions.
“I am assured that Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouq did her best despite all the abuses, the name-calling, and the antics of naysayers.
“We should stop tarring leaders with the same brush, especially when the records are there for all to see. Hajiya Umar-Farouq did her best and should not be unnecessarily vilified for projects that were executed with a chain of people and officers being responsible.
“I agree with earlier comments that we should avoid mischief-makers who take delight in defamation. She is proud to have served her country as Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with every sense of responsibility and would defend her actions anytime.”
He quoted previous reports to buttress his points: “Nigerians should be wary of misinformation media when unconfirmed materials have easy passages. The audience needs to be wary of what they believe, given the tendency of merchants of falsehood to feed them with not just untruth but sensational reports.
“Suffice it to say that the agencies, whose financial activities attracted the attention of the anti-graft agency had their budgets independently and exclusively administered by them if expenditures did not exceed the threshold envisioned in the Public Procurement Act, of 2007, as amended.
“If proposed expenditures go above the threshold, the agencies will revert to the higher authorities for ministerial, or other approvals.
“However, the agencies, in their judgment, ensured that expenditures for contracts were below ministerial or other approvals.
“The minister will simply have to explain this if she has to visit the EFCC to enable the agency to proceed with its investigations.
“We believe that offering clarifications should be the simplest of all tasks for Hajiya Sadiya to do.
“The Commission should rest assured of Hajiya Sadiya’s cooperation in her forthcoming interview with operatives.
“We take this opportunity to advise against media trial which aims to swing public opinion against the former Honourable Minister. We believe that truth will prevail anyhow.”