*Cautions CAC against registering counterproductive CSOs
By JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
To drive home its point if demands being made are not met, the Northwest Coalition of Anti Corruption has said that it will not hesitate to mobilize one million man march in each of the North West states, to fight those seeing the removal of Abdulrasheed Bawa as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) .
This was expressed at a press briefing in Kaduna on Saturday, with the text read by Executive Director, Corruption Trackers Initiative, Comrade Hamza Abidin.
“The Northwest Coalition of Anti Corruption will not hesitate to mobilize one million man match in each of the North West states to protest against this corrupt officials,” the group said.
The coalition of Northwest Anticorruption civil society organizations which is an umbrella body for all Anti-corruption CSO in the Northwest, created to foster harmonious working relationship among CSO’s and to share information on how better to support government in fighting corruption, frowned at what it described as protest by a CSO, calling for the sack of EFCC Chairman.
“A protest led by a CSO, calling for removal of EFCC CHAIRMAN and to tarnish the good image of the current EFCC Chairman is not what the civil society organization stood for but adhere to the rule of law and the constitution is our utmost goal and objective.
“The EFCC chairman has a constitutional duty to perform, please we urge the CSO to challenge authority base on rule of law and constitutional provisions,” Corruption Tracker Initiative said.
They explained that Corruption Tracker Initiative has been collaborating with EFCC in the fight against the common enemy called corruption.
They therefore, urged other civil society organization to trend on that part of honour.
“The Northwest coalition of Anti-corruption wish to categorically state as follows:-
We call on president Muhammadu Buhari as a matter of urgency to direct the Attorney General, Security Chiefs and other relevant authorities to give the EFCC every necessary legal support to do their work without intimidation or blackmail.
“We call on inspector general of police to swing into action with immediate effect to uinravel those corrupt public official behind this campaign of blackmail and such persons should face the wrath of the law,” Abidin said.
This group under the leadership of Comrade Abidin explained that the roles played by civil society organizations are prominent.
“It is not unexpected that they are sometimes referred to as the fourth organ of government or as a crucial “third” sector. Whereas John Keene, who was mentioned by Mahmood Mamdani, described civil society as “A sort of political association which places its members under the influence of laws, secured peace, order and good government”.
“Promotion of democratic values: In modern democracies, the democratization process is viewed as being equated with the emergence of civil society organizations.
“Encourages the state to be responsive, responsible, and good stewards of its resources
Objective policy analysis and advocacy:
‘Through their policy analysis and advocacy, civil society organizations may support and advance good governance.
Building social capital and enabling citizens to identify and articulate their values, beliefs, civic norms, and democratic practices are among other primary functions which include mobilizing specific constituencies, particularly the vulnerable and marginalized sections of the masses, to participate more in public affairs and development works to improve the wellbeing of people and emphasize the following roles of civil society organizations:
Intervening and warning: bringing up urgent issues, such as responding to harm done to individuals or groups, as well as risks to the democratic system and civil rights;
“Naming and shaming” pushing and reminding, such as that certain law should be passed or measures should be taken.
“Supporting the implementation of real reforms, such as adopted laws, international agreements and/or court rulings,” the coalition pointed out.
While extolling the virtues of EFCC chairman, they recalled that in 2004, Abdulrasheed Bawa began working for the EFCC as an Assistant Detective Superintendent (ADS).
“He was chosen in October 2015 to lead the commission’s inquiries against Diezani Alison-Madueke, a former minister of petroleum resources, and her accomplices.
“He has participated in the prosecution of offenses such as money laundering, bank fraud, official corruption, and advance fee fraud. He is the current EFCC chairman who is the youngest. He received training from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN), and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
“Abdulrasheed Bawa revealed that the anti-graft organization has taken back almost N30 billion from Idris Ahmed, the suspended former Accountant General of the Federation (AGF).Ahmed is being prosecuted by the Commission for an alleged N109 billion fraud.
Giving a breakdown of the achievements of the anti-graft body from January to December, 2022, he gave other recoveries as N134,33,759,574.25, $121,769,076.30, £21,020.00, €156,925.00, ¥21,350.00, CFA300,000.00 among others.
“Bawa also revealed that over 3,615 convictions were recorded within the period, adding that the administration is serious about its anti-corruption programme. The EFCC boss announced that following the nationwide auction of forfeited automobiles, it will be followed by the disposal of over 150 houses to interested buyers.
“The civil society organization and the rule of law are faced with a scenario in which the ruling class’s dedication to the rule of law is at odds with their preferred leadership style.
“The executive branch of government and occasionally the legislature have demonstrated that the process of equality and supremacy of law is still being fully ingrained in Nigeria’s democracy by the arbitrary abuse of positions of authority and non-compliance with judicial rulings. CSOs have persisted in their efforts to expose these systemic inconsistencies, nevertheless,” they said.
They tasked the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to be more rigorous in registering CSOs in Nigeria.