Coalition accuses Bawa over selective prosecution, violation of fundamental human rights

▪︎▪︎says chairman’s anti-corruption war at gun point

A coalition of civil society and anti-corruption groups on Saturday, accused the Executive Chairman of the Economic Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa, of being biased with prosecution and constantly violating fundamental rights of Nigerians.

In a statement, jointly signed, adopted, and endorsed by some pro-democracy and human rights groups, which includes Arewa Transparency and Democratic Youths Initiatives, Northeast Youths Assembly (NYA),
Centre for Rights, Justice and Democratic Integrity(CRJD),Middlebelt Forum for Good Governance (MFG),Southeast Coalition for Leadership (SCL), and Southwest Alliance for Innovation and Good Governance (SAIG).

The statement read; “There is a universal consensus that power is transient, power is ephemeral, and power is temporary, but the EFCC Chairman is not aware and, as such, lives in a fools paradise and acts pedestrian.

“The use of power in the ancient, medieval and gestapo style in which the EFCC operates is indeed shameful and a disgrace to Nigeria in the comity of nations and should be a major concern to the present administration as well as well meaning Nigerians and the international community.

“Watching what has been going on in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) since the appointment of Abdulrasheed Bawa, one cannot help but feel sad that something sinister is wrong somewhere in the management of the Commission, the inefficiency and incapacity of Bawa to steer the direction of the agency professionally.
“The selective anti corruption crusader in Bawa and his lacklustre performance in office would help to determine his place in Nigeria’s corruption battle. He came, saw but failed to make a difference. His greatest odds are himself, and posterity will judge him harshly for self-inflicted blunders and failures.
“Indeed, his greatest undoing is his inability to resist the tendency for selective prosecution of accused persons, pre-emptive trial of suspects undergoing investigation, and conferring above-the-law status to questionable individuals working within and outside the Commission.

“There are several instances where Bawa’s EFCC became the accuser, prosecutor, and the judge in handling certain cases. Such cases are all above the online media, including Saharareporters.

“We are therefore giving Bawa 24 hours ultimatum to honourably resign from office or be ready to face mass action against his continuous stay in office to be coordinated by the Coalition for Pro-democracy/Human Rights groups and Coalition of Nigerians against corruption.

“We shall organize a protest match to the EFCC’s office and other select offices of the Commission and anti- graft agencies across Nigeria to register our disapproval with the grave disobedience to the judgement of the Federal High Court and other Courts sentencing Mr Bawa for contempt.

“We are ready to work with the incoming leadership of the EFCC in order to prevent rights abuses, contempt of courts, and disobedience to court orders in the future.

“We shall network with relevant stakeholders in the anti-graft war to undertake objective analysis of their operations nationwide and institute the conscience of unbiased approach to the struggle against corruption in our country – Nigeria.

“The public perception of the EFCC as a tool for settling political scores, vandetta, and prejudicial trial of accused persons under Bawa leadership must be corrected urgently.

“Thus, the EFCC should now investigate, arrest, and genuinely prosecute all persons in Federal Government agencies whose conduct was detrimental to dipping hands in public treasury. Including government officials who personalized public tilt and others involved in stamp duty remittances saga. The current selective prosecution, framing up of some persons and other obnoxious practices against the principles of fair play, equity, and justice, can no longer be tolerated.

“We make bold to state that there are monumental cases of corruption at the federal level than states and local governments. Indeed, the lion share of the monthly generated and federal allocation are domiciled with federal government.The EFCC should use their energy on serious issues and not witch-hunting individuals and state governments not in their good books or perceived enemies.

“The current selective application of the anti corruption campaign is unacceptable to the democratic loving Nigerians. The EFCC should investigate the circumstances surrounding the inflationary cost of their new headquarters in Abuja. The process must transparently disclose the identity of the contractor and the reason why the contract was executed to the tune of almost N30 billion contrary to the original moderated cost approved .

“Henceforth, EFCC must obey the laws of land because they are also the creation of the law. Our laws state that no citizen should be arrested and detained for more than a specific period without being charged to court.

“The high handed style of breaking people’s houses in a gestapo like style must not repeat itself anywhere in our country. The same EFCC under Bawa never demonstrated such impunity on a known figure notorious for soiling their hands with stamp duty funds and economic sabotage. An offence is much more grevious than other cases involving paltry amounts.

“It is not acceptable for the EFCC to continue to violate the rights of Nigerians with impunity under the guise of fighting corruption. We shall resist any attempt to take us back to the era of military dictatorship.

“We shall constitute Human Rights/Pro-democracy Tribunal for the trial of government officials who violate the rights of Nigerians, disobey court orders, aid mischief against innocent citizens, selectively handle cases of politically exposed persons, that have acted with indecency and impunity in the discharge of their assigned duties. We shall undertake this onerous responsibility and ensure that fundamental rights of Nigerians are not violated for selfish and parochial political interests pseudo democrats and their running dogs “Transient Manipulators of Political Power” in contemporary Nigeria.” It added.

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