BY JULIET EKWENUGO
Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide has called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to convoke a panel to investigate all bribery allegations labeled against the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The call is coming in the face of a recent claim by the Zamfara state governor, Bello Muhammad that the anti-graft Czar demanded $2 million bribe from him.he agency had invited the governor on allegations of N70 billion fraud, against which Muhammad told the EFCC to also investigate the Presidency officials on corruption-related cases.In reaction, the EFCC confirmed that it is investigating the Zamfara state governor for alleged N70bn fraud.Ever since, there has been a constant flow of allegations of misconduct against the EFCC and its Chairman.
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council, in a statement by its National President, Okwu Nnabuike, on Sunday, said in parts that Zamfara Governor’s allegation “… opens limitless opportunities for corrupt bargaining and self-enrichment by the operatives of EFCC under Bawa’s watch.”
“Based on the foregoing, it is time for Bawa to pack his luggages and step aside as the Chairman of the EFCC. We even expected that he should have resigned on his own volition judging by some weighty allegations against him,” the Youth Council stated.
“In the past couple of days, we in the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide have watched with dismay the drift currently going on at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.”Needless to say that we are not so surprised owing to the fact that in the not so distant past, we had raised the alarm that the EFCC czar, Abdulrasheed Bawa, was merchandising the anti-graft commission.
“This came to the fore when he unleashed the commission on Senator Ike Ekweremadu, a victim of circumstance, who was then facing charges in the United Kingdom. The EFCC under Bawa has never charged Ekweremadu for any crime, but while the lawmaker was in far away UK, he rushed and misled a Nigerian court to confiscate all his properties”.
Thank God that the court later reversed itself. This is just one of the major unholy and sponsored jobs of the EFCC under Bawa.”In the history of the EFCC, no chairman of the commission has ever come under public scrutiny in such a short period of time like Bawa. The same goes for many of the staff under him, justifying the aphorism, ‘like father like son’.
A few days ago, it was even reported that two of the staff members killed another colleague while they were fighting for exhibits. This shows how dirty the commission has become.
“Since the Zamfara State governor, Bello Matawalle’s recent outburst exposing corrupt practices against the Abdulrasheed Bawa, more damning allegations also crept up that some of the Commission’s officials simply negotiate with suspects, get assets and cash retrieved and do plea bargains.
“We are also aware that EFCC is undertaking a selective invitation to outgoing Governors in Nigeria while exempting other government officials who have loads of petitions against them, while also being unable to deal with the corruption going on within its own workforce”.
“Apart from the corruption fight taking a nosedive under Bawa, it is also no longer news that the EFCC under him has totally become a tool for political witchhunt, it is now merely being used to settle political scores.”Based on the foregoing, it is time for Bawa to pack his luggages and step aside as the Chairman of the EFCC.
“We even expected that he should have resigned on his own volition judging by some weighty allegations against him.”However, since he is obstinate about towing the path of honour.
“We advise President Muhammadu Buhari to do the needful by purging his government of all the ridicule brought upon his avowed anti-corruption stance by Bawa and the EFCC under him.”We join the call for Bawa to leave office and face investigations in accordance with the standard practice globally for officials who had been accused of gross misconduct to step aside while investigations were conducted to ascertain the veracity of the allegations the way his predecessor Ibrahim Magu did.
“We insist that all allegations must be thoroughly investigated by a technical Commission of Inquiry to dig into the modus operandi of EFCC investigations in the last three years by thoroughly analysing records of arrests, investigations, outcomes and final closure of each incident and individual suspects and how the matters were eventually dispensed with.
“But should Buhari fail to do so, the President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu should consider it as one of his very first assignments- to make Bawa step aside and face investigation.
This is the only way Nigerians would rekindle their hope on the anti-graft commission,” Ohanaeze said.