By George Samuel
A coalition of northern groups known as
Coalition Of Northern Nigerian Youth, CNNY,
has blasted Premium Times for promoting what the group called ‘hatchet jobs’ against Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu
Premium Times on Monday published a story in which the Newspaper queried Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for not re-arrangning Senator Kalu who was freed from Kuje correctional centre on June 2, following the judgements and orders of Supreme court and Federal High Court sitting in Lagos respectively.
Kalu was sentenced to jail in December , 2019 following an allegation by the EFCC over misappropriation of public funds when he served as Abia State Governor between 1999- 2007 . The judgement was however on May 8, 2020 squashed by Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision by a seven-member panel led by Justice Amina Augie. The panel ruled that the judge that convicted Kalu had no jurisdiction to do so and granted Kalu immediate release.
The group in a statement on Tuesday, signed by its National Cordinator Amb. Zarewa Salisu Sageer and National Secretary, Amb. Abu Bature Dandume, accused the online newspaper on what they referred to as “engaging in paid junk journalism” . The coalition which comprises Northern Youth Council Of Nigeria, NYCN, Association Of Northern Nigerian Students, ANNS, Arewa Youth Consultative Council, AYCC, and Arewa Youth For Good Governance, AYGG, said Premium Times has lost truth and decency for supporting those who has blackmailed and bullied judges into giving arranged judgments.
The coalition expressed their worry over Premium Times’ blind eye on former Governors who stole money from government coffers and still stealing to concentrate on a man whose stint in politics has made him poorer .
“Kalu stole no single dime from the government he served between 1999-2007. Kalu was stupendously rich before he became a governor . Many Nigeriana know the truth. The masterminds of Kalu’s travails are only afraid of him because of his war chest in running for 2023 presidential election. They have been fighting him since 2007 because they dont want him to be President . A man that bankrolled Peoples Democratic party and Former President Olusegun Obasanjo with N500 Million and N100 million in 1998 respectively deserves some respect. There are former Governors in Nigeria who has no known businesses attached to them but they are stupendously rich and the EFCC has neither said nor done anything . Why must it be a successful businessman like Kalu who have contributed heavily on job creation in Nigeria? ” The statement partly reads
The Coalition also noted that asking EFCC to re-arraign Kalu is a greater confirmation that the agenda is not to fight corruption but to destroy Kalu in particular.
The statement also reads: ” For an online newspaper that prides itself to be a defender of truth to be bought over by politicians whose interests are solely 2023 shows how petty and cheap Premium Times can be. The December judgement that saw Kalu imprisoned for six months cannot be called a judgment. It was a bullied and blackmailed judgment where Magu forced the judges to do his own will. There are several cases of former Ministers and Govenors who has corruption cases hanging on their neck. We are surprised that neither EFCC nor Premium Times have made any statement on them.
“We understand that some politicians who have interests in 2023 are afraid of Kalu . Magu and his sponsors lost it immediately Supreme Court rescued the judiciary from their hands . They have become jittery and unsettled about Kalu’s growing popularity especially since we released our statement on our intention to support Kalu become Nigeria president in 2023.
” Inciting the EFCC to begin another probe is a waste of resources. The Nigeria constitution does not allow an individual to be charged on the same case twice. Why are the sponsors hell bent on abusing the judiciary ? They have bullied the judges into giving arranged judgment against Kalu and now want to bully the entire judiciary and constitution. If Kalu is the only problem of the sponsors in achieving their presidential ambition, then they should continue with their attempts to destroy him but should not forget what happened to their co-conspirators ” the coalition said .
Further speaking, the coalition lamented that Senator Kalu is one outstanding prominent Nigerian whose name have been dragged in the mud by persons who desired to use a willing media organization like Premium Times
“They don’t bother about abusing professional ethics once they are paid.
The conspirators plan has been to hire such persons or use obscure names to propagate blatant falsehood in order to achieve a desired end. Any media organization at the beck-and-call of the highest bidder like Premium Times is a total disgrace to the professional ethics of journalism ” the coalition said