Foremost Human Rights Lawyers’ group, Global Integrity Crusade Network (GICN), has lauded the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for not giving in to blackmails but taking the path of justice and fairness, to confirm Rt. Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo as Minister.
The Senate, Monday evening, confirmed Rep. Tunji-Ojo, current Member representing Akoko North East/Akoko North West Federal Constituency of Ondo State, and 44 other nominees of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Some groups, including a Lawyer had been pushing that the Senate should not confirm Tunji-Ojo, due to alleged discrepancies on his Discharge Certificate of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
Addressing Journalists at the National Assembly shortly after the confirmation, Barr. Edward Omaga, President of the Network, and Director of Legal Services, Barr. Denning Akori, said they were at the Senate to monitor the proceedings for the group, having done preliminary investigations into circumstances surrounding the said NYSC certificate.
“One of the noblest things this 10th Assembly has done is not to condone mischiefs and blackmails. The Senate, though gives the public listening ears in matters of national concerns, but must also take its time to do proper investigation and crosscheck facts, so the institution won’t be misled.
“The nomination of Rep. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo and the controversies around it, is one that has caught our attention, knowing the calibres of people peddling issues around and calling on the Senate not to confirm him as Minister. We thank God the Senate did not listen to them. We hail the Senate for living above board.
“Rep. Tunji-Ojo, though we have not met him or had personal contact with him before now, but we understand has been a Member of the 9th House of Representatives and served as Chairman, House Committee on Niger DeltaDevelopment Commission (NDDC). He contested again in 2023 and won convincingly. In each of the elections, he submitted his details to INEC. Where were these elements then? Why didn’t they raise issues?
“We have taken the pains of doing some background checks and our findings are pointing towards the direction that the young man is being unjustly witch-hunted, for the simple reason that some people do not sanction his nomination.
“How long shall we continue to sacrifice competence and versatility on the altar of politics and sentiments?”, the Lawyers said.
The group vows to continue to assist the National Assembly and other institutions of Government in proper investigation and if any allegation is found to be true against anyone, no matter how highly placed, they would not also hesitate to drag such a person.
Speaking further, Barr. Omaga said, “Remember, in 2021, in suit FHC/ABJ/CS/732/2021 at the Federal High Court, Abuja, the Global Integrity Crusade Network urged the Court to order the arrest of Kemi Adeosun, a former Nigerian Finance Minister.
“We did that in good spirit, having done proper investigation of the alleged certificate forgery, even years after she had resigned. That’s to prove to you that we are not pro government. We are with the masses, but it should also be known that we would support the masses only when issues at hand are not clothed with political undertones.
“Just last week, a group of Lawyers who have been dragging the Executive Secretary of TETFUND, Sonny Echono, accusing him of corruption and even gave him ultimatum to resign; came out with a statement to apologize to Echono and even declared support for him, saying they had done investigation and noticed that they ‘were misled’. We need to be careful with such groups that would run to the press without doing proper X-ray” of their facts.”