Worried about the adverse effect of the ongoing media war between the supporters and close aides of President Goodluck Jonathan and the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, a pro-democracy group, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has asked the warring parties to sheathe their swords.
It also counselled Sanusi to avoid reckless, sensational and politically-tainted comments in the media.
Besides, the group advised the government to implement to its fullest the extensive recommendations of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) of Nigeria regarding the prosecution of the suspended CBN governor, all the deputy governors including the acting governor to avoid the pitfall of governmentâ€™s action being classified as punitive and selective persecution of the erstwhile CBN boss known for his anti-government rhetorics for the past few months.
Specifically, HURIWA recalled vividly that the FRC is responsible for, among other things, developing and publishing accounting and financial reporting standards to be observed in the preparation of financial statements of public entities in Nigeria.
Besides, the FRC had in paragraph 2G, prayed President Jonathan to exercise his powers and â€œcause the governor and the deputy governors to cease from holding office in the CBN.â€
In a media release jointly endorsed by the National Coordinator, Mr. Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Director of Media, Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA asked the president to implement the entire body of recommendations made by the FRC or to offer to Nigerians credible and irrefutable reasons why the other indicted top officials of the apex bank should not face the same sanction as had been done to the erstwhile governor.
This, according to the rights group, will create the right impression that the current government had no hidden agenda against the suspended CBN governor.
Conversely, HURIWA wants the suspended CBN governor to accord respect to the Office of the President and to concentrate his energy towards clearing his name of the groundswell of allegations of fraud and monumental misappropriation of public funds while he held sway as the governor of CBN.
The rights group also asked the president to instruct his personal aides to stop forthwith the ongoing propaganda against the person of Sanusi so as not to create the impression that the suspension had political undertone.
HURIWA stated: â€œWe have watched with considerable trepidation the seemingly unending media war and propaganda between the Office of the President and the person of the immediate past CBN governor and we wish to state that the public spat is not in the best interest of the global image of Nigeria as one of the economic giants on the black continent of Africa and these verbal exchanges read around the world would further rubbish our international rating. We hereby ask Sanusi and the officials of the presidency and their media cronies to stop behaving like quarrelsome roadside traders but to carry themselves with decorum.â€
The rights group said while it expects the suspended CBN governor to redirect his energy towards presenting a formidable and unimpeachable legal defence at the appropriate court of competent jurisdiction to the series of mindboggling allegations of heist of public fund as made by the FRC, the media aides of President Jonathan should be cautioned to stop the needless mudslinging and character assassination targeted at the person of the erstwhile CBN helmsman since the suspension of Sanusi was anchored on an independent report turned in by a statutory body.
HURIWA argued that should the presidencyâ€™s media staff continue with the media war against Sanusi then Nigerians and the rest of the world would misconstrue the suspension as personal vendetta and selective witch-hunt against the embattled CBN governor for reportedly raising the alarm over some missing huge crude oil funds belonging to Nigeria.