Covid -19: CSOs raise alarm over alleged plot to pardon convicted politicians

Covid -19: CSOs raise alarm over alleged plot to pardon convicted politicians
By Steve Oko
A coalition of Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, has expressed concern over the alleged plot to release some convicted high profile corrupt politicians under the guise of decongesting prison custodies to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
Addressing a press conference Tuesday, in Abuja, the coalition said the action could undermine the little successes recorded in the  anti corruption war of the federal government.
Hon. Uche  Okoroafor, who read a prepared text on behalf of the CSOs, called on the federal government to reconsider the move so as not to send the wrong signal that the Nigerian prisons are meant only for the poor. 
The group particularly expressed concern over the alleged plot by  some highly-placed politicians and cronies of the incaserated former governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, to take undue advantage of the move to secure freedom for the Senate Chief Whip .
The group warned that Kalu’s conviction which was widely applauded should not be ridiculed “as such would create a wrong precedence in our judiciary system.”
The CSOs further claimed that those behind the plot to free Kalu and other convicted high profile corrupt politicians through the back door had already recruited a number of faceless groups across the country to stage a sponsored protest , asking for the immediate release of the jailed  former governor.
They claimed that they had  it  on good authority “that a certain group in the North have been paid to mobilise about 1000 people to stage a protest in Abuja this week over the conviction of the former governor”.
Continuing, the CSOs said it was their opinion and indeed other Nigerians that the conviction of Chief Kalu after 12 years long trial was a major impetus and indeed a big plus to President Buhari’s anti corruption crusade which should not be ridiculed.
According to the CSOs , the said agents  have allegedly recruited a number faceless groups across the country to stage a sponsored protest , asking for the immediate release of the jailed  former governor.
The CSOs claimed that one of the recruited mercenaries had in a recent media briefing, mischievously claimed that Kalu was a victim of  high level conspiracy and political witch -hunting.
They, therefore,   urged the Department of State Service,  DSS and the Presidency to fish out those behind the planned protest and arraign them  for attempt to undermine both our judiciary and the anti corruption war of the Federal Government .
The CSOs  said such persons or group should be arrested to serve as deterant to others who may still want to sabotage the anti corruption crusade  of President Muhammadu Buhari .
They insisted that there  should be no sacred cow in the fight against graft, adding that it’s only the apex court that has the powers to set aside the judgement of the high court and the court of appeal that had respectively convicted and upheld the conviction of Kalu.
The group  also expressed dismay  over the   post-conviction bail granted to  Kalu’s co-convict Mr Ude Udeogu  on purported  terminal health condition, questioning the rationale behind the release of a convict with alleged infections sickness instead of subjecting same to a confinement for treatment.
The CSOs said the  sad development had also heightened their  fear that Kalu might soon be freed from jail without completing his prison term “as was recently boasted by one of his cronies”.
 “We want to put Nigerians on alert of the incalculable damage, mistrust and erosion of public confidence this move might cause to our criminal justice system if allowed .  No convict should be granted pardon or freedom in any guise as such will make nonsense of the war against corruption”.
Steve Oko, Publisher/C.E.O, WaWa News Global. For more information on advert placement and news coverage, contact us on: 08038725600, or via email; Always read WaWa News Global - Your most dependable online news platform for the latest breaking news in Nigeria.

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