Day 4: Over 120 CSOs petition National Assembly, insisting EFCC boss must leave office, serve his prison term
By Ed Malik, A | ed@ddnewsonline.com |
posted February 15, 2023

. Say ‘Nigerians know hired CSOs when they see them’

The protests by over 100 frontline Anti-corruption Civil Society Organisations, against alleged “Politicisation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Disobedience of Court Orders and Infringement on Human Rights of Nigerians”, continued on Tuesday, as the activists vowed never to be intimidated by what they described as fresh falsehood being peddled by the anti-graft agency.

The protesters, who marched through the streets of Ikeja and converged on the Lagos State House of Assembly, Alausa, noted that the majority of Nigerians were intelligent people, who could easily differentiate between a genuine cause and sponsored ones, adding that there was no going back on the call for the removal of the EFCC boss, Abdulrasheed Bawa.

The activists alleged that the EFCC had resorted to cheap blackmail to divert the thinking of the public away from its lawlessness, pointing out that this had only compounded the Commission’s problems and further exposed the dangerous political agenda of its Chairman.

The CSOs said they had uncovered plans by Bawa and his alleged sponsors to raise supposed CSOs, who they would back with live coverage, to demonstrate “fake solidarity for an EFCC boss that had clearly become an embarrassment to Nigeria.”

“We are waiting for them. We don’t expect them to fold their arms. But no amount of falsehood can cover the truth. Bawa came in through vendetta and he is unleashing the same on perceived opponents of his godfathers. We have seen that 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,” Director, Activists for Good Governance, Declan Ihehaire, said.

“We have been in this struggle for close to a week now. All we want is for Bawa to leave that office so the Commission can be sanitized. He is clearly unfit to head EFCC. He that comes into equity must come with clean hands,” he maintained.

According to him, there are God-fearing EFCC officials that are in solidarity with the CSOs, “who have said they are tired of being used as witch-hunting agents and are praying for the success of the struggle.”

A spokesperson for the Transparency and Accountability Group, who spoke shortly after the protesters arrived at the Lagos Assembly, queried how Bawa, “who does not respect the rule of law or believe in fair hearing would say that he was not given a fair hearing before the contempt ruling.”

He said, “What we are agitating against is his disobedience of the courts and the brazen politicization of the EFCC. The IGP should immediately effect his arrest in line with the court ruling.

“Before Bawa can appeal against a court order sending him to prison, he must obey the order first. This is settled in law. Recently, the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, directed ASUU to first comply with an order of the National Industrial Court ( NIC) directing them to suspend their strike before their appeal could be heard.

“Also, just last week, the EFCC itself arrested Senator 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,” he insisted.

He disclosed that the CSO leaders were at the Lagos State House of Assembly to submit a petition on Bawa’s disobedience of court orders and the politicization of the EFCC to the National Assembly through the Speaker of the state Assembly.

“All we are telling him is obey our courts, let us preserve the integrity of our legal system. If the Head of a frontline anti-corruption agency is being manipulated and controlled by a few people in the political space, and he is breaking the law with impunity, it portends danger for our Democratic system and the wellbeing of the society at large,” Funmilayo Jolade Ajayi, of the Community Women Initiative, added.

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

“So, definitely, a serial violator of the court order is not fit to be the Head of an agency that is supposed to sanitize the society.”

The ‘Bawa Must Go’ protests are being led by CACOL Chairman, Debo Adeniran; Executive Director, Zero Graft Centre, Kolawole Sanchez-Jude; Chairman, Coalition Against Corruption and Bad Governance, Toyin Raheem; Executive Director, Centre for Public Accountability, Olufemi Lawson; Spokesperson for the Transparency and Accountability Group, Ayodeji Ologun; Director, Activists for Good Governance, Declan Ihehaire; and Ahmed Balogun of Media Rights Concern, among over 100 notable leaders of Anti-corruption CSOs.

His explanation of why he has refused to obey

know the traits of sponsored or hired CSOs,

In the response of the Debo Ad niran group, let them say it’s obvious who is being sponsored. Those who have the money to pay for tv live coverage are obviously being bankrolled by those who support impunity and lawlessness.
Our main concern is the rule of law and obedience to court orders.  Bawa cannot use corruption to fight corruption.  Disobedience to lawful court order is corruption

which began on Friday, and continued on Tuesday, with

‘Bawa Must Go’ protest continues in Lagos, as more anti-corruption CSOs join CACOL, 100 others in a mass rally

. A serial violator of a court order is not fit Head EFCC – Debo Adeniran

Nigeria’s foremost Anti-corruption Civil Society Organisations, numbering over 100, again, trooped out on the streets of Lagos, on Monday, with thousands of their members and supporters, in continuation of their “Protest Against Politicisation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Disobedience of Court Orders and Infringement on Human Rights of Nigerians.”

Monday’s protest was the third since the top activists began their call for the sack of the EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, on Friday.

They insisted that EFCC, under Bawa, had turned itself into a sensational media agency, churning out deliberate misinformation on almost a daily basis to strengthen a political cause, adding that responsible CSOs would not fold their arms and watch the country’s global anti-corruption outlook slip into a mess “all in the name of the anti-democratic tendencies of a few recalcitrant leaders.”

The ‘Bawa Must Go’ protesters, were led on Monday by the Chairman, of the Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership, Debo Adeniran; Executive Director, of Zero Graft Centre, Kolawole Sanchez-Jude; Chairman, of Coalition Against Corruption and Bad Governance, Toyin Raheem; Executive Director, Centre for Public Accountability, Olufemi Lawson; Spokesperson for the Transparency and Accountability Group, Ayodeji Ologun; Director, Activists for Good Governance, Declan Ihehaire; and Ahmed Balogun of Media Rights Concern, among others.

When asked why the CSOs wanted Bawa to quit, the Chairman of CACOL, Debo Adeniran, said Bawa had to be removed because he had allegedly become an embarrassment to the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

According to him, a serial violator of the court order is not fit to be the Head of an agency that is supposed to sanitize society.

Adeniran, a foremost Nigerian anti-corruption activist, said, “We are not only asking him (Bawa) to quit, we are asking the authorities to remove him because he has become an embarrassment to the fight against corruption. Any act of dishonesty is corruption. Anything that is against the law, that is deliberately done with impunity is corruption. It doesn’t matter how you feel about a case. Even if it is a drunken judge that gives a verdict on any issue taken to the court, you are bound to obey the court order.

“For several years, we have criticized the military regimes and civilian administrations that have ruled us with impunity. Impunity comes when the court is no longer seen as an arbiter between the people and the provisions of the extant laws. We rely on the courts to adjudicate matters of conflict between the people and the system. And anytime anyone runs against the system, it is also the court that will adjudicate.”

“A situation whereby somebody is so powerful, somebody is so influential, somebody sees that he has a larger than life image and decides that he is not going to respect our law courts or the laws of the land, it is against the rule of natural justice, it is against the ethos of democratic practice, it is against the principles of human rights. So, definitely, a serial violator of the court order is not fit to be the Head of an agency that is supposed to sanitize the society,” he declared.

The anti-corruption CSOs also hinted that they would petition the Chief Justice of Nigeria to demand that until the court order to arrest Bawa is effected, “no court should entertain any EFCC case henceforth.”

Other leaders of the CSOs, who took turns to speak with the media claimed that some EFCC officials had confided in their members that they were not happy that the Commission appeared to be focusing mainly on settling political scores than confronting its big mandate.

“You can’t run to the same courts you disrespect to get a judgment for your cases. And you can’t also choose which court judgment to obey. If Bawa has been committed to prison, he has no business being in the office right now. And someone who has flouted the order of the court on several occasions cannot head an agency as sensitive as EFCC.

“Some of their officials had confided in our members at different times that they were not happy that the Commission appears to focus more on settling political scores than actually confronting its big mandate,” Executive Director, of Centre for Public Accountability, Olufemi Lawson, said.

On his part, Spokesperson for the Transparency and Accountability Group, Ayodeji Ologun, noted, “Many cases of genuine corruption are left unattended under Bawa. He came on board through vendetta and he has proved in the period he has been in office that he might have been appointed to serve as a tool for political assault on opponents of his sponsors.”

Other CSO leaders present at the protest were Ochiaga Jude, Centre for Ethics and Good Governance; Barr. Cletus Okedube, Barr. Johnson Areola, Barr. George Sanda, among a host of other notable activists, lawyers, and women’s rights NGOs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *