Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State yesterday threw his weight behind the handcuffing of the national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Olisa Metuh, as he appeared before a court, saying there was nothing wrong with restraining him (Metuh).
The Nigerian Prison Service on Tuesday put handcuffs on Mr. Metuh as it brought him before a Federal High Court in Abuja for hearing on his bail application in the ongoing trial over alleged receipt of N400 million from the embattled former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
The handcuffing of the opposition PDP’s spokesman did not go down well with leadership of his party, which slammed the All Progressives Congress-led federal government for the development.
Defending the handcuffing of Mr. Metuh by prison officials, Oshiomhole, while speaking during a meeting with the new council of the state chapter of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Benin City, said if those accused of lesser crimes are handcuffed and paraded by the police and get no sympathy from the public, the PDP spokesman and others, accused of diverting huge public funds, should not have sympathy.
Here is a transcript of the governor’s remarks, according to his spokesperson, Peter Okhiria.
“I want to appeal to the media to join President Buhari in fighting the anti-corruption war because if we don’t, and we allow these people to harass the president to silence, all of us are in trouble.
“I saw some headlines querying why should Metuh be in handcuffs? If people who steal he-goats, dried grass cutters are in handcuffs; I have been to the police station several times and I see young men who rob not more than N500,000 in handcuffs, they are paraded and made to seat on the floor. Why should certain set of criminals be treated as if they are not suspected criminals and serious crimes at that?
“When you all reported lavishly how under the former president, the former defense chief set up a military tribunal to try soldiers who ran away from battle field and they were condemned to death, it was only Femi Falana who was consistent in fighting their case. Those are Nigerians who were to be killed for running away because they couldn’t confront a Boko Haram that was well armed while they were asked to go and fight with their bare hands and we were told that weapons, ammunitions and everything had been provided.
“When Borno Governor said, ‘look, our Armed Forces are fighting with bare hands’, he was told to shut up. Now it is clear from current revelations that the money that would have been used to arm these young men who joined the army with pride and who on a good day have the courage to fight not only at home but abroad, but because they didn’t have arms, they ran away. They were sentenced to death. Thanks to Buhari, some have been commuted now to various terms of imprisonment which I applaud and I think even that one should further be reviewed, they should summit their uniform but remain free people.
“Now, those who shared that money, this is not the usual security money, this is special appropriation to fight Boko Haram, $2.1 billion, people just shared it, everybody was using their son, co-opting young children into this while other people’s children were sentenced to death. And anybody who partakes in that and they put him in handcuffs, they say, why should he be in handcuff because he is an elite and the media will report it without also showing us pictures of some Nigerians whose fathers are not known, but are not less Nigerian than any of us, who are always not only in handcuffs but are put on the floor in various police stations and paraded even before they are charged to court and we all look at them and turn to the next pictures, it doesn’t attract a commentary.
“Why should some criminals just be celebrated even when we all can feel the amount of damage, the consequences of their rascality on our collective well-being? I think the media should support the President. This is not President Buhari’s fight, and you know he had reminded us that if we don’t kill corruption, it will kill us. Now corruption is fighting back”.