A civil rights group, African Network for Environmental and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, on Thursday called on President Goodluck Jonathan to sack Tony Nyiam from the Presidential Advisory Committee on the proposed national dialogue and prosecute him for his verbal attack on Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, during a sitting of the Committee in Benin.
The group also demanded apology from Mr. Nyiam to the governor and the people of the South-South geopolitical zone. They accused Mr. Nyiam of bungling the discussions in Benin, adding that his actions were an embarrassment, which spoke volumes of the motives for the national dialogue.
The Executive Director of ANEEJ, David Ugolor, in a statement issued in Abuja, alleged that Mr. Nyiam was working in concert with some political thugs. Mr. Ugolor also said the sitting ended abruptly due to the Mr. Nyiam and company’s inability to respect or condone the alternative view expressed by Mr. Oshiomhole.
“If historical antecedents of Col. Tony Nyiam is anything to go by, we recall his active participation in a coup d’état led by Gideon Gwarzo Okar, which sought to topple the Ibrahim Babangida dictatorship in 1990; he was later pardoned by the Abdulsalami Abubakar regime.
“It is, therefore not surprising that such a character could jump up from his seat, as an organiser of the consultation, to shout down a serving state governor, who was only expressing his personal opinion.
“We condemn Col. Tony Nyiam’s actions and we call on him to tender a public apology to Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Nigerians of the South South extraction. We therefore call on President Goodluck Jonathan to sack Col. Tony Nyiam (rtd) from the committee and prosecute him for violating the right of a citizen, a serving state governor for that matter, for expressing himself in an honest and frank manner,” Mr. Ugolor said in his statement.
He added that Mr. Nyiam’s action had exposed much of the fears of many Nigerians towards the proposed national dialogue.
“The choice of personalities like Nyiam as member of the presidential Advisory committee truly speaks volumes of what is to come out of the proposed national dialogue. His presence in the committee is ironical, this is because Nyiam’s antecedents betrays a national dialogue,” Mr. Ugolor stated.
“In a democracy, there is freedom of speech and no individual or group can volunteer to violate the rights of other citizens from expressing themselves in the preparation of a national dialogue that, in itself, seeks to bring people together to express themselves.
“We now wonder what the planned conference seeks to achieve if people are expected to say only what the committee wants to hear. We are left with the impression that the planned national dialogue will not be different from others previously organised national jamborees where public funds are brazenly wasted on unprofitable ventures.”