Civil Society Organisations on Friday decried what they described as the incessant disobedience of court orders by the Abdulrasheed Bawa-led Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the seeming politicization of the agency’s activities.
This is as they called for the removal of Bawa, adding that his sacking will ensure the commission recover its past glory.
According to the PUNCH, the anti-corruption CSOs alleged that the EFCC, under Bawa, had become an institution known for brazenly disobeying orders of courts.
The action, the CSOs alleged, does not only undermine the institutions of Nigeria’s democracy but also indicates a contradiction to the anti-corruption agenda of the administration of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd).
The bodies, led by the Chairman, of the Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership, Debo Adeniran; the Executive Director, of Zero Graft Centre, Kolawole Sanchez-Jude; the Chairman, of Coalition Against Corruption and Bad Governance, Toyin Raheem; the Executive Director, of Centre for Public Accountability, Olufemi Lawson; and Ahmed Balogun of Media Rights Concern, among others, spoke at a press conference, themed: “EFCC’s Consistent Disobedience of Court Orders is a Recipe for Anarchy; A Call For The Immediate Sack of Mr. AbdulRasheed Bawa”.
Other leaders include Ologun Ayodeji, Transparency, and Accountability Group; Declan Ihehaire, Activists for Good Governance; and Ochiaga Jude, Centre for Ethics and Good Governance, among others.
According to the anti-graft bodies, aside from the EFCC’s penchant for disobedience of court orders, the situation has reached an embarrassing height where Bawa has been committed to prison more than once within two months for a clear breach of the extant orders of the Court.
They said, “EFCC’s Gestapo-style regime of disobeying court orders must stop. Nigeria is not a banana republic. Attempts by institutions of state to ridicule the country and make it seem like a lawless fiefdom must be resisted by all. The EFCC seems to be allowing itself to be used as an instrument of political witchhunt as it targets some individuals more than many others.
“Some of our organizations have submitted several petitions to the Commission, which it has refused to act on even when you sit with them to reason on the merits of those petitions. Once there is a political interest the whole process of investigation and litigation becomes politicized.
“The Commission seems only to act with gusto against perceived political enemies of some powerful political forces in the country rather than being neutral and professional. For instance, the Ogun state Assembly Speaker was bundled Gestapo-style to Abuja on corruption allegations while several similar petitions elsewhere have been left untouched by the Commission. Where are the justice, the impartiality, and the professionalism?”
“This culture of impunity as consistently exhibited by the EFCC Chairman continues to ridicule Nigeria in the comity of nations and sabotage efforts at attracting foreign direct investment. Investors only go to jurisdictions where the rule of law and respect for human rights are guaranteed while shunning countries where the ‘rule of men’ predominates.
“We note that by the continued disobedience of the orders of the Courts, Mr. AbdulRasheed Bawa and the EFCC have displayed utter contempt for our courts and the country’s judicial system. Ironically, these are the same courts the EFCC routinely runs to for orders which they zealously implement in the discharge of their mandate under the EFCC Act.
“It is not for EFCC and its leadership to pick and choose which court orders to obey or disregard. That is an invitation to anarchy.”