Sack Bawa! EFCC Has Derailed, Now a Political Tool Under His Leadership - CACOL, others tell Buhari
By Ed Malik, A /ed@ddnewsonline.com/
posted February 10, 2023

Over 40 anti-corruption Civil Society Organisations gathered in Lagos on Friday to protest what they described as the incessant disobedience of court orders by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) under Abdulrasheed Bawa and the seeming politicization of the agency’s activities.

The anti-corruption CSOs alleged that the EFCC, under Bawa, had chosen to become an institution known for brazenly disobeying orders of courts in such a manner that not only undermine the institutions of Nigeria’s democracy, but also indicates a contradiction to the anti-corruption agenda of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, and came to a conclusion that Bawa must be sacked for the Commission to recover its past glory.

The bodies, led by the Chairman, of 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, 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 the Commission’s boss, 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 witch-hunt 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 ‘rule of men’ predominate,” they added.

While insisting that “he who comes into equity must come with clean hands”, the CSOs specifically stated, “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. It is ironic that 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,” they maintained.

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FULL TEXT

EFCC’S CONSISTENT DISOBEDIENCE OF COURT ORDERS IS A RECIPE FOR ANARCHY; A CALL FOR THE IMMEDIATE SACK OF MR ABDULRASHEED BAWA.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

Gentlemen of the Press,

Comrades and Compatriots

About 50 anticorruption Civil Society Organizations are gathered here today to address an existential issue concerning Nigeria’s anticorruption crusades that are becoming disturbingly skewed to suit political interests.

It is with the deepest concern and a feeling of national embarrassment that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, under the leadership of Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa EFCC has chosen to become an institution known for brazenly disobeying orders of courts in such a manner that does not only undermine the institutions of our democracy but also indicate contradictions to the anti-corruption agenda of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Aside from the EFCC’s penchant for disobedience of lawful court orders, it has gotten to the embarrassing height that the chairman of the Commission, Mr. Bawa, has been convicted to prison terms on about three different occasions within the space of one month for a clear breach of the extant orders of the Court.

We must at this point make it clear that any form of disobedience to lawful orders of the court is not only an act of monumental corruption but also indicates a dangerous signal to the institutions of our democracy and the memories of those who sacrificed their lives for the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria.

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’ predominate.

It is even more worrisome that this blatant disobedience of valid court orders by the Bawa-led EFCC is coming on the heels of efforts by stakeholders to galvanize more support for the war against corruption in the country.

We note that by the continued disobedience of the orders of the Court, Mr. AbdulRasheed Bawa and the EFCC have displayed utter contempt for our courts and the country’s judicial system. It is ironic that 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. What is more, he who comes to equity must come with clean hands.

It is further recalled that the courts have severally cited the EFCC and its chairman for contempt, even as stiff damages have been awarded against the commission, thereby dissipating scarce public resources.

We hereby demand that President Buhari takes immediate steps to ensure that EFCC does not derail its avowed commitment to the rule of law and respect for the fundamental rights of citizens by removing Mr. Bawa as the Chairman of the Commission.

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 witchunt 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, impartiality, and professionalism in that?
For the EFCC to recover its past glory, it must retrace its steps with the president overhauling its leadership by firing Mr. Bawa and his leadership team.

Enough is Enough!

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