Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on Tuesday continued their protest against the flagrant disobedience to court orders by the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa.

Those under probe behind calls for Bawa’s sack, says commission

The activists insisted that Bawa must be sent to prison for disobeying court orders, as pronounced by a High Court.

The over 100 CSOs, whose representatives started the protest against the EFCC four days ago, took a petition against Bawa to the National Assembly.

They condemned what they called the politicisation of the EFCC, disobedience of court orders, and infringement on the rights of Nigerians.

Marching on the streets of Ikeja, the Lagos State capital, the protesters went to the House of Assembly, where they said an alleged fresh falsehood being peddled by the anti-graft agency would not faze them.

The protester said they were at the House of Assembly to submit a petition against Bawa to the National Assembly through Speaker Mudashiru Obasa.

They insisted that the EFCC boss must be remanded in Kuje Prison, as ordered by a competent court.

While the Lagos protest was going on, there was a pro-EFCC rally in Abuja by those defending the commission’s boss from getting sanctioned for his disobedience to court orders.

At the protest ground in Ikeja, the Director of Activists for Good Governance, Declan Ihehaire said: “Bawa came in through vendetta and he is unleashing the same on perceived opponents of his godfathers. We have seen that (former EFCC Chairman) Ibrahim Magu was bundled out with lies so that Bawa’s godfathers can reign with impunity. The fixation on specific cases is glaring to informed Nigerians.

“We have been on this struggle for close to a week now. All we want is for Bawa to leave that office so the commission can be sanitised. He is clearly unfit to head EFCC. He that comes to equity must come with clean hands.”

Transparency and Accountability Group’s spokesman Ayodeji Ologun wondered how Bawa, who “does not respect the rule of law nor believe in fair hearing, would argue that he was not given fair hearing before being convicted for contempt”…

He added: “Just last week, the EFCC itself arrested Senator Peter Nwabaoshi for refusing to go to prison after he was sent there by the Federal High Court. This is despite his appeal against his sentence.

“Appeal or no appeal, Bawa must report to Kuje Prison. His appeal can’t be heard until he complies with the valid court ruling sending him to prison.”

A representative of Community Women Initiative, Funmilayo Jolade Ajayi, said all the activists were demanding was for Bawa to obey court orders so that the integrity of the legal system could be preserved.

Chairman of Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), Debo Adeniran, said: “A situation whereby somebody is so powerful, so influential, has a larger-than-life image and decides that he is not going to respect our law courts or the laws of the land is against the rule of natural justice. It is against the ethos of democratic practice, it is against the principles of human rights.”

Also, the EFCC and over 30 CSOs have raised the alarm over alleged sponsored attacks on the anti-graft agency and its chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa.

Addressing reporters yesterday in Abuja, EFCC spokesperson Wilson Uwujaren attributed the alleged sponsored attacks on Bawa to those he called some elements in Kogi State government, following the arrest and ongoing prosecution of relatives of Governor Yahaya Bello.

At another briefing, Convener of over 30 CSOs, Dominic Ogakwu, said a protest in solidarity with the EFCC would be held next week.

Uwujaren said the intention of anti-Bawa protesters was to blackmail the commission’s chairman and force him to resign.

“The group, through press conferences and staged street protests, has been calling for the sack of the EFCC Chairman for alleged disobedience of court orders. They claim they are motivated by the need to strengthen the fight against corruption.

“Contrary to these claims, the EFCC wishes to alert the public that these groups have no interest in the fight against corruption and their allusion to disobedience of court orders by the EFCC chairman is an alibi to manipulate facts around judicial pronouncements and processes to pitch the public against the commission.

“Information available to the commission indicates that the group is sponsored by persons under investigation by the commission and have been mobilised and mandated by their paymaster to embarrass the person of the chairman through choreographed street protests across the country, until he is removed from office.

“It is significant that this group found its voice after the EFCC launched an investigation into the mindless looting of the treasury of one of the states…”




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