Attempts to murder the Chairman, Human Environmental Development Agenda, (HEDA Resource Centre) Mr Olanrewaju Suraju is a major setback in the fight against corruption in Nigeria, a pioneer Nigerian media rights group said on Wednesday.
The Journalists for Democratic Rights, (JODER) in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Mr Adewale Adeoye said the armed invasion of Mr Suraju’s home by five armed men with the obvious intention to kill him mocks the image of the country in the comity of nations.
The group asked President Mohammadu Buhari to show personal interest in the sordid Tuesday armed attack involving Suraju who leads Nigeria’s most outstanding anti-corruption organisation.
JODER said the Nigerian police authority owes the local and international community the obligation to investigate the armed invasion and ensure the perpetrators are arrested and made to face the wrath of the law.
‘It was a clear case of murder attempt with a high degree suspicion that the actors are agents of corrupt individuals fighting back to defend sleaze and mismanagement of public funds a battle that has been the centre piece of Mr Sujaru’s decade long anti-corruption campaign’ Adeoye said.
He said JODER and thousands of human right groups home and abroad stand with Mr Suraju and his organisation at this moment of turmoil.
‘We are concerned about the fact that Mr Suraju brought the campaign against corruption in the OPL 245 scam into the front burner of international discourse. We are aware of his yearly documentation of high profile corruption cases.
There is an almost irreversible temptation to trace the murder attempt on him to corrupt individuals which he has exposed for the heinous crimes against humanity unless the police prove otherwise.’
The armed men invaded Mr Suraju’s home around 2.3am. They threatened to kill him. They stole his phones, his car key and private materials some belonging to his wife and children. All these happened in the presence of his little children that watched in awe guns pointed at their father.
JODER said the attack has further confirmed the fear that Nigeria is fast becoming one of the most dangerous places to live especially for those who have chosen the career to fight injustice and lift the country from her stupor.
Similarly, the United Action for Change, UAC also condemned the attack and invasion of the residence of Mr Lanre Suraju a frontline civil rights and anti- corruption crusader and a ranking member of United Action for Change, by heavily armed goons who traumatised him and his family and carted away valuable assets and information on the 28th day of March, 2022.
According to a statement issued in Lagos by Michael Popoola Ajayi, the group’s Secretary, “The well-armed goons numbering about 5 used sophisticated equipment to violently gain access to Mr Suraju’s house at about 2:17 am on Monday 28th March 2022 and subjected him and his family to the worst form of harassment, intimidation and physical assault and also went away with valuable assets which include but not limited to: vital documents, 1 Samsung phone, 2 iPhones, 2 iPads; 2 Macbook pro laptops, a Dell laptop, a Toyota Corolla 2014 car, jewelries, ATM cards, cars keys, Bank Tokens”.
Mr Ajayi said: “We condemn this heinous invasion which is viewed by us as part of the orchestrated efforts by very powerful persons in the country on whom his anti-corruption crusade has impacted negatively to silence him”.
“We therefore call on the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Abiodun Alabi to unravel the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
In the circumstance, we call the federal government and its relevant agencies to put in place mechanisms to protect whistleblowers if its much-mouthed fight against corruption is to be taken seriously as actions of criminal elements like this that deliberately singled out Mr Suraju for attack in his community may discourage other patriotic Nigerians from speaking out against official corruption in our polity.