From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has advised the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Simbi Wabote, to step aside following an allegation of corruption levelled against him by a Nigerian-based US journalist, Jackson Ude.
HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, argued that it was wrong for Wabote to remain in office, adding that he should excuse himself pending the outcome of his case with Ude in the United States of America.
Onwubiko, at a press briefing in conjunction with the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), yesterday in Abuja, added that he should disclose the source of the money he is using to hire legal representatives in the United States.
“We are here specifically because we have watched with dismay and shock the revelations emanating from the ongoing legal battle between the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Wabote and a U.S. based Investigative Journalist, Mr. Jackson Ude.
“While we hold no brief for any of the two, we are particularly concerned as to why Engr. Wabote has continued to remain in office despite damning allegations of abuse his office, corruption and now allegation of perjury against the Executive Secretary both in Nigeria and in the United States.
“He has continued to engage in the alleged abuse of office by particularly using the Board of NCDMB and its spokesperson to issue media release in a case he is suing as an individual in his personal capacity.
“We have cause to ask the said public office holder to tell Nigerians how he pays his legal fees in the USA.
“To the best of our knowledge, the NCDMB is not joined in the defamation suit against the journalist, which is pending in the U.S court and should not be responding for Engr. Wabote in the media.
“In the same vein, it is our view that it is also wrong for Engr. Wabote to continue to enjoy the perks of office.”
He added, “We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately suspend Engr. Simbi Wabote from office as the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board until the conclusion of the investigation by the EFCC and the CCB.
“This has become very necessary as Engr. Wabote’s continues stay in office may undermine justice even in the matter he reportedly filed in the USA.
“Due to the international dimension of the case as a result of the ongoing legal battle between Engr. Wabote and the United States based journalist, it has become expedient that President Muhammadu Buhari gives teeth to his administration’s anti-corruption war by ordering the immediate suspension of Engr. Wabote and a thorough investigation of allegations of corruption and abuse of office against him.
“We also reiterate that the 21-day ultimatum issued by the CNPP and a coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs), demanding the resignation of Engr. Wabote subsists.”