Over 48 Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria on Tuesday, called for prompt, impartial and exhaustive investigation into the dastardly odd hour attack on the Lagos home of Olarenwaju Suraju, Executive Director, Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA).
It was gathered that in the early hours of Monday, March 28, 2022, Suraju’s residence was invaded by unknown armed men who broke into his residence, tied him and his wife up and subjected them to brutal and humiliating treatment in the presence of their children.
The attackers were also said to have taken away valuables such as phones, laptops, and a car.
In a petition to the Inspector General of Police, IGP Alkali Baba, signed by the CSOs and made available to TNC correspondent by the Executive Director, Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre, RULAAC, Mr Okey Nwanguma, they noted that the attack and the dispossession of the Surajus of sensitive personal items, have left the family traumatized and exposed them to further risks of the likelihood of invasion and illegal access to their private data including bank information.
“We, the undersigned representatives of key human rights and civil society organisations in Nigeria, received with utter shock and serious concern, news of the dastardly and condemnable attack on the Lagos home of Mr. Olanrenwaju Suraju, in the early hours of Monday, March 28, 2022 by unknown armed men,” it said.
The CSOs noted that it is apparent that the attack was targeted and political as, out of the estate’s over 200 houses, only Suraju’s house was broken into by the attackers.
They also revealed that the invaders made comments that gave them away as agents acting on behalf and at the behest of a politically exposed person or persons who had occupied public offices in Nigeria, whom Suraju’s and HEDA’s anti-corruption campaigns have affected unfavorably or not gone down well with.
“We also note that this attack is coming on the heels of the ongoing apparently malicious prosecution and harassment of Mr. Suraju for opening the can of worms on the Malabu deal, which named former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, as a beneficiary.
“This attack highlights the level of threats that anti-corruption activists face, as well as the extent to which desperate public officials accused of corruption and being called to account could go to silence those who muster the courage to demand accountability in the use of public resources.
“The invasion of the home of Suraju and attack on his family members is criminal and forebodes great danger to the safety of law-abiding and patriotic citizens who engage in legitimate campaigns for integrity and accountability in the management of public resources,” the group said.
They noted that if the grievous crime is not investigated and the perpetrators fished out and brought to account, the anti-corruption mantra of the Buhari-led government will end up as sheer hypocrisy and individuals and organizations genuinely committed to assisting the government’s touted commitment to fighting corruption, will be discouraged and corruption will finally kill the country.
The CSOs called on the Inspector General of Police to order a prompt, Impartial and exhaustive investigation with a view to identifying the criminal invaders and bringing them to account.
The statement read; “We call for adequate compensation to the Surajus for the violation of their rights to privacy, human dignity and to own property, among others.
“We also call on the IGP to guarantee the physical safety and psychological integrity of members of the Suraju family as well as members of staff of HEDA.”
Among the CSOs that signed the petition were-
- Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), Lagos
- Centre for Citizens’ Rights Lafia, Nasarawa State
- Grassroots Development Monitoring and Advocacy Centre
- Onyigbuo Stephen Uche, Private Citizen, Enugu State
- COMPPART Foundation for Justice and Peacebuilding – Akwa Ibom State.
- Initiative for Social Development in Africa (iSODAF)
- Initiative for Gender Equality and Advancement, Edo State.
- Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) –Lagos.
- Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution, Lokoja, Kogi State
- Bauchi human Rights Network
- IPSSED NETWORK NSUKKA, ENUGU STATE
- Vision Spring Initiatives
- Public Enlightenment Projects PEP, Abia State.
- Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women, Kaduna State
- African Youths Initiative on Crime Prevention, Lagos
- Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Abia State Branch.
- Smiles Africa International Youth Development Initiative SAIYDI Benin City, Edo State
- Nde Oduko Foundation, Abuja
- Parent-Child Intervention Centre (PCIC), Enugu.
- Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy & Development (FENRAD) Nigeria
- Centre for Transparency Advocacy, Abuja
- Koyenum Immalah Foundation, Asaba, Delta State
- Institutional and Sustainable Development Foundation
- Josemaria Escriva Foundation, Edo State
- Centre Against Injustice and Domestic Violence (CAIDOV)
- Public Enlightenment Projects (PEP) Abia State
- People’s Against Corruption and Injustice (PACI) Ogun State
- Human Right Advocacy & Monitoring Group (HURAMG)
- Sterling Law Centre, Abuja
- Partners West Africa-Nigeria
- Anthony Opara, The Difference Newspaper
- Legal Resources Consortium, Lagos.
- Justice for Peace and Development Initiative (JPDI) Lagos.
- Legal Defence and Assistance Project-LEDAP
- Vivacious Development Initiative (VIDI), Abia State.
- Community Outreach for Development and Welfare Advocacy (CODWA)
- Grassroots Democracy Network (GDN), Lagos State
- Eyeeoma Development Initiative (EDI), Abia State
- Women Environment and Youth Development Initiative-WOYODEV
- Young innovators and Vocational training initiative Kaduna
- Next Generation Youth Initiative International (NeGYII), Makurdi, Benue State
- Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development
- PLAYYA Nigeria
- Brain Builders Youth Development Initiative, Kwara State
- Habitatcare and Protection Initiative, Owerri Imo state
46.Saka Azimazi, private citizen
- Human Rights Social Development and Environmental Foundation (HURSDEF)
- Ace and Vanguard, Lagos