In a strongly worded statement released Saturday, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of Tunde Sabiu, former President Buhari’s nephew, over his alleged involvement in the recent naira redesign without proper authorization.
The statement, signed by HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, condemned the reported approval for the naira redesign, asserting that it came from Sabiu Tunde ‘Yusuf’ rather than former President Muhammadu Buhari. The association expressed concern over what they perceive as a breach of legal protocols and insisted on Sabiu’s accountability for his role in the currency redesign.
According to the association, the Special Investigator on the Central Bank of Nigeria and Related Entities, Jim Obazee, revealed in his final report that the approval for the naira redesign did not come from the former president but rather from Buhari’s aide, Sabiu Tunde ‘Yusuf.’ HURIWA demanded the immediate arrest and prosecution of Tunde Sabiu for his role in the scandal.
“Recall that in a letter dated July 28, 2023, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu nominated Obazee, a former Executive Secretary of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, as the CBN special investigator. According to the report, Sabiu and Godwin Emefiele, the troubled former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, worked together to implement the naira redesign. The previous president’s nephew is Sabiu,” HURIWA explained.
In a related development, HURIWA expressed serious concern over the actions of the immediate past Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, concerning the Nigeria Air project. HURIWA alleged that Sirika perpetrated a scam by presenting a hastily repainted, chartered aircraft as the national carrier, deceiving the public.
HURIWA highlighted previous financial irregularities associated with Sirika, including the controversial spending of $600,000 on logo design and the questionable purchase of fire trucks at exorbitant prices.
“Sirika is accused of orchestrating the presentation of a chartered aircraft, hastily repainted and still bearing Ethiopian registration marks, as the national carrier on May 26, 2023. The audacity of such a blatant last-minute scam is seen as a challenge for the public to demand accountability.
“The Nigeria Air controversy is just one of the significant scandals linked to Sirika. In 2017, there were rumors that he spent $600,000 on logo design with a Bahraini company for the project, then named Air Nigeria, before it was halted. Sirika denied the specified amount but did not disclose the actual expenditure. Subsequently, between 2017 and 2018, the Federal Government allocated up to N800 million for the project’s revival.
“Sirika also faced criticism for allocating N12 billion to procure 10 fire trucks, translating to a staggering N1.2 billion per truck. These issues collectively contribute to a growing discontent with Sirika’s actions, prompting widespread demands for accountability.” The association therefore called for the arrest and thorough investigation of Hadi Sirika to address these allegations.
Furthermore, HURIWA demanded accountability from Sadiya Umar Farouq, the former Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Social Development, and Disaster Management, regarding the expenditure of funds allocated for social investment programs, particularly school feeding. The association cited a litany of allegations, including corruption, abuse of office, and mismanagement of social investment funds during her tenure, calling for her immediate arrest and investigation by the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“Nigeria’s humanitarian crisis worsened despite the ministry overseeing mega-budget agencies and intervention programmes. Sadiya Farouq underperformed, and her time at the ministry needs to be investigated. The new administration “cannot do anything satisfactory without interrogating, probing, and investigating what happened under that ministry,” HURIWA stated.
Hence, the association insisted that Farouq must provide explanations to the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) regarding alleged large-scale corruption during her tenure.
Expressing concern over the legal proceedings involving the embattled former CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, HURIWA emphasized the need for respect for constitutional rights to a fair and untainted trial. The association called for an immediate cessation of what it described as an orchestrated media trial against Emefiele.
HURIWA urged the relevant law enforcement agencies, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Department of State Services (DSS), to act swiftly and impartially in investigating these allegations. The association stressed the importance of upholding the rule of law and ensuring that those found culpable face the full consequences of their actions.