A human right and pro-democracy group, the Human Right, Liberty Access, and Peace Defenders Foundation (HURIDE), has cautioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to desist from taking over the Sun Newspapers, owned by Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, former Governor of Abia State.
Sen.Dr. Orji Kalu, a Senator from Abia State, some weeks ago was convicted of corruption by a Federal High Cout sitting in Lagos.
The EFCC on the strength of the judgment had sent words to the management of Sun of their plan to take over the company.
But in statement in Enugu,Enugu state, the group wondered why the hurry by the EFCC operatives to take over the Newspaper, when the matter is still pending at the Appeal Court.
The group in the statement signed by Dede Uzor A Uzor, chairman of Board of Trustees of HURIDE,and Mazi Zacaus Unah Chief Media officer said we are not holding brief for those who abused their sacred mandate when in public office, EFCC should be circumspect and considerate in their attempt to take over the newspaper.
They said the anti-corruption agency should take into consideration the job of many journalists which are as stake if they take over the paper and bear in minds that Nigerians were already undergoing an extra-economic hardships in the country. They want to strangle The Sun Newspaper, the same way the Ex. Gov, Ken Nnamani’s properties was strangled to death including his cerebrated FM station among others.
“Given the fact that the media industry in Nigeria is in a difficult situation, with attendant lose of jobs, it will be disastrous for a paper like Sun which has hundreds and thousands of journalists across the country and others in its employ to be taken over by anti- corruption agency when the matter is a subject of litigation before the court of content jurisdiction ” said HURIDE.
They lamented that if the Sun Newspapers is closed, the South East and the entire Nigeria, which has been lagging behind in ownership of media industry and dessimination of information in the 21st century Nigeria inline with the International best practice would have been eroded and the people would totally lost its voice.
The group then appealed to the president Muhammed Buhari and his EFCC to weigh the economic, social and political implications of closing down The Sun Newspapers, especially this time when there is no job anywhere in the country.
HURIDE called on international coommunity, US,CANADIAN prime Minister, UN among other corporate organizations and stakeholders in the media industry and people of good conscience to prevail on President Muhammed Buhari and his EFCC not to take over the Newspaper but to save the jobs of hundreds and thousands of employees of The Sun Newspapers. Dede warned.