A coalition of civil society organizations on Monday accused the Executive Chairman of the Economic Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, of being disrespectful and disdainful, to the Nigerian judicial system.
In a statement jointly signed, adopted, and endorsed by some pro-democracy and human rights groups, which includes Agenda for Good Governance, Centre for Policy Development and Leadership,
Com Jude Ogah Obayi, Arewa Voters Assembly, Coalition of Civil Societies Against Corruption, United Nigerians Forum and Conscience Group,
It read; “We are well known for our principled stand on matters of democracy, human rights, rule of law, and good governance since the struggle against military dictatorship in Nigeria.
“We are highly piqued that Democracy in Nigeria, for which many had lost their lives to enthrone, is being disrespected by rascals and fellons parading themselves as government officials. The same band of adventurers who hijacked the anti graft crusade in our country for their selective war against corruption and persecution of perceived political opponents. They are the characters debasing the very laudable ideas, which gave many hope of a vibrant nation during the inauguration of the Buhari administration.
“We have chosen to address this press conference in solidarity with the recent contempt of court judgement given against Abdulrasheed Bawa of the EFCC by a competent court of jurisdiction. We must say that we have seen in some steps taken by Bawa as not only disrespectful but disdainful to the Nigerian judicial system.
“We recall the invasion of the Abuja residence of Chief Rochas Okorocha in a gestapo manner by operatives of the EFCC under the leadership of Bawa. That Bawa, who orchestrated the misadventure, can not comply with the order given by a court of competent jurisdiction is spewing nonsense in an attempt to circumvent justice. Just a few months ago, a similar court of competent jurisdiction gave another guilty verdict on Bawa for the contemptuous behaviour of disrespectful magnitude against the court.
“At this juncture, let us state that Abubakar Malami, the Minister of Justice is frustrating the enforcement of the court order against Bawa by frustrating all moves to bring him to justice in compliance with the valid order of the courts.
“We also frown at Malami’s collaboration with Bawa well known tendency for sweeping major constitutional – sometimes criminal matters professing to deal with them after self interpretation. Contempt of court is a very serious act that can not be overlooked by any sane judicial officer, law enforcement agencies, or any minister in the temple of justice. Sadly, today, Bawa is going about as if he is above the law, a situation which emboldened the likes of Godwin Emefiele of the CBN to instigate an unprecedented voodoo monetary policy, economic and banking arson worth billions of dollars and trillions of arson against the help less Nigerian citizens.
“We are aware of the several underhand dealings going on under the present leadership of Bawa. Ranging from the appointment of compromised individuals as departmental heads, wrongful arrests of suspects, inconclusive investigation of cases, selective arrest of suspects, persecution of perceived individuals, among others. There are several cases of failed investigations, lack of diligence in prosecution, and bungling of cases undertaken by him, among others. A case involving a former Northern Governor and the sales of seized trucks loaded with oil in Rivers State are evidence of the atrocities stated above.
n the past, operatives that infringed on the rules were merely removed to go and enjoy their loot rather than being there prosecuting, even when top military Generals were prosecuted. Unfortunately, what is obtainable under the current tainted lame duck leadership is the promotion and elevation of operatives that committed all sorts of infractions.
“We are afraid, and we have every reason to say so, that since Bawa refused to submit himself to the custodial service authorities, he should resign forthwith. He doesn’t have moral authority any longer to prosecute any suspect standing trying to trial for corruption investigated by the EFCC. It is ridiculous, scandalous and embarrassing that the same Bawa who arrested Senator Nwaboshi, a serving member of the red Chambers from Delta State for evading the justice, is the same person hibernating and refusing to comply with an order of the court bordering on contempt of court of competent jurisdiction.
“We are aware that any person sentenced by any competent court in our land ensures compliance with the order by submitting self to custodial service facility. It is after the submission that the convict can apply for stay of execution, appeal, or even serve the sentence as pronounced by the court. Therefore, in this case, Bawa doesn’t have a choice but to obey forthwith.
“We urge President Muhammadu Buhari to resist the temptation of standing aloof in the present circumstances, while the fabric of Nigerian democracy is being undermined by Malami, Bawa, Emefiele and their ilk. Their syndicates have been accused of large-scale embezzlement of tax payers funds running into billions of naira and allegations of bribery, self enrichment, and display of lifestyles above visible means of income.
“Under Bawa’s leadership and collaborators, politically exposed persons and financial rogues elements are being provided with soft landing while perceived rivals are being persecuted and court orders disobeyed. To think that Bawa would ever obey the contempt of court order against him requires some kind of leap of confidence and faith that many Nigerians, for us, don’t have.
“The EFCC, as presently constituted, is reeked with moral and financial burden. President Buhari’s anti corruption campaign which has already received national and international acclaim may suffer credibility problems should the President continue to sit atop an anti graft agency whose green horn head doesn’t obey court orders, treats judicial system and human rights with disdain and contempt while doing nothing about corrupt and lawless sick kick other than to cover up their wrong doings under the pretext to enjoy Villa soft landing.
“Lastly, let us put it on record that no power is conferred on anyone, no matter how highly placed, to override the court on the issue of contempt, except and only the court. As far as issues of this nature are concerned, there is no room for resorting to self-help. The only choice left to Mr. President in the present circumstances is to ask Bawa to turn in his resignation letter for bringing the administration and its anti graft crusade to disrepute and contempt. The anti corruption mantra of President Buhari would be called to question whether Bawa should be allowed to stay a day longer in office.” It added.