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Anti-corruption CSOs, constitutional lawyers petition Buhari, demand probe of EFCC under Bawa

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. Allege ‘Bawa’s modus operandi causing serious concerns among Commission’s officials’

. Ask President to direct IGP to effect his immediate arrest

. Uncover EFCC’s plan to sponsor launch of ‘attack organisation’ against perceived enemies

 

Scores of Anti-corruption Organisations and constitutional lawyers in Nigeria, on Thursday, submitted a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari, protesting what they described as brazen disobedience of court orders by the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa; alleged reckless politicisation of the Commission under his watch and his continued stay in office, in spite of a court order committing him to prison for contempt.

 

In a press statement signed by Spokesperson for the over 130 CSOs, including more than 20 Constitutional lawyers, Olufemi Lawson, the activists disclosed that they had also submitted a copy of the petition to the Inspector-General of Police.

This, according to them, is “to intimate the Police authorities that a convict cannot be allowed to be walking freely without being reined in as ordered by the Courts.”

They called on President Buhari to immediately suspend Bawa to restore confidence in the capacity of the commission to truly fight financial crime; direct the IGP to effect his arrest in line with a court order; and commission an enquiry into the workings of the EFCC, its present engagements and happenings within the agency.

The activists said, being anti-corruption crusaders themselves, they could not stand by while the EFCC boss allegedly makes a mess of Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, noting specifically that his modus operandi in the Commission was reportedly “causing serious concerns and disgust among the top hierarchy of the Commission.”

In the petition, a copy of which was made available to the press, the activists stated, “It is on the basis of the continued perpetration of illegality in the EFCC, that we promptly alerted the Nation to it, issuing a 7-day ultimatum to the Inspector-General of Police to effect Bawa’s arrest and make him face justice.

“It is worrisome that weeks after we issued this ultimatum, Bawa is still walking free, continuing the perpetration of illegality that has become the identity of the EFCC.”

They listed the alleged unruly activities of the EFCC under Bawa to include “arrests without valid warrants, detention of suspects beyond the duration allowed by the courts, seizure of properties belonging to suspected persons before any such declaration by a court of competent jurisdiction, rascally handling of suspicions of financial crime that appear like witch-hunting, and brazen disobedience of court orders, among others.”

“Aside from the above, the EFCC under Bawa is also quickly becoming a cesspool of internal corruption with several reports of corrupt practices going on within the Commission.
There are allegations of age falsification to remain in office beyond the statutory limit of civil service regulations, involving very senior officers of the commission.

“If a government agency expected to fight crime is found going about its business in a manner that mimics witch-hunt and rascality, while also being unable to deal with corruption going on within its own workforce, we fear that the Nation may slide into some real crisis of confidence in our systems,” the petition said.

The anti-corruption activists also disclosed that they had uncovered plans by the EFCC to sponsor the launch of a faceless organization, led by “discredited activists”, for the purpose of laundering Bawa’s tainted image before the incoming administration takes charge.

“At the said launch of the organization, the plan is to call on the Commission to seek the services of INTERPOL to harass perceived opponents of some political godfathers and other unpatriotic government officials, to whom we believe Bawa defers,” they said.

They recalled that, upon his nomination for the position of the Commission’s chairman in 2021, several groups of Nigerians had opposed the appointment of Bawa, based on what was described as his antecedents.

According to the petition, the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), in a letter dated 18th February 2021, had asked the National Assembly to reject Bawa’s nomination as EFCC chair, based on several controversies that characterised his tenure in previous positions in the EFCC, giving the grave implication of such, on the exalted position.

In the light of the aforementioned, the anti-corruption CSOs urged President Buhari to: “Direct the Inspector-General of Police to immediately effect the arrest of Abdulrasheed Bawa in compliance with a subsisting order of the court and make him face the full consequences of his actions, based on court orders that we are sure he is aware of, but has refused to act upon.

“Commission an enquiry into the workings of the EFCC, its present engagements and happenings within the commission.

“Immediately suspend Mr Bawa as head of the Commission to restore confidence in the capacity of the commission to truly fight financial crime and purge itself of bad elements while discharging its job.

“Order an immediate overhaul of the commission and where necessary lobby the National Assembly to amend the EFCC Act to make the structure less prone to high-handedness and make the Chairmen answerable to the laws of the land.”

The ‘Bawa Must Go’ protests, which continued on Tuesday 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 120 notable leaders of Anti-corruption CSOs.

Barr. Mogbojuri Kayode of the Citizens Rights Advocacy Group (CRAG), is also leading over 20 constitutional lawyers in the protest.

 

 

PRESS STATEMENT
(16-03-2023)

BAWA NOT FIT TO REMAIN EFCC CHAIRMAN

In continuation of our advocacy for the maintenance of the sanctity and inviolability of the rule as related to our nation’s judiciary, we have submitted a petition to the office of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, today, March 16, 2023, in Abuja, to further drive home the point that impunity cannot be allowed to thrive at any level of governance institutions.

A copy of the said petition has also been submitted to the Inspector-General of Police in order to intimate the Police authorities that a convict cannot be allowed to be walking freely without being reined in as ordered by the Courts.

For the umpteenth time, we wish to reemphasize that our primary interest is in protecting our Judiciary from heads of government agencies with anarchist mentality of reckless impunity. Such opprobrious indiscretions have no place in a democracy.

It is in this regard that we appreciate and commend President Muhammadu Buhari for his decisive action on the recently contrived complications vis-a-vis the Supreme Court judgment on the Naira swap policy. Mr. President’s exemplary stand against purveyors of impunity in his government shows him as a true Democrat and an astute statesman.

It is in this same wise that we call on him to ensure that all renegades against the rule of law in his government are firmly reined in, the latest example being the outgoing Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, who seems to be totally oblivious of the workings of governance with regard to separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary while his modus operandi with the Commission is allegedly causing serious concerns and disgust among the top hierarchy of the Commission.

We are not unaware of the targeted sponsored attacks by the Commission against our patriotic interventions, including the planned launching of a faceless organization, led by discredited activists whose stomachs are their God, for the purpose of continuing to launder Bawa’s tainted image. At the said launch of the organization,  the plan is to call on the Commission to seek the services of INTERPOL to harass perceived opponents of some political godfathers and other unpatriotic government officials, to whom we believe Bawa defers.

As veteran credible activists, no amount of threats or compromising overtures can dissuade us from the genuine cause that we have embarked on to ensure that our Judiciary is not rubbished by power in the service of political machinations, and to ensure that politics has little or no space in the discharge of EFCC’s duties.

Metro

Breaking: Domestic staff sentenced to death for killing employer, daughter

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An Ikeja High Court has sentenced a domestic staff, Joseph Ogbu, to death by hanging for killing his employer, an 89-year-old woman, Ajoke John and her daughter, Oreoluwa in Lagos State.

NAN reports that Justice Modupe Nicole-Clay held on Monday that the prosecution had sufficiently proven the 3-count charge bordering on murder and armed robbery against the convict.

Nicole-Clay held today that the defendant confessed to the crime as he self-confessed living with the deceased and he was the only witness of the incident.

Nicole-Clay said, “He killed Adejoke by strangling her and Oreoluwa by stabbing her to death as defence didn’t raise objection to the admissibility of the confessional statement, there’s no doubt that the defendant confessed to the crimes.

“The defendant couldn’t give an explanation as to what he was doing with all the stolen items he was found with at about 2 am on the date he was arrested.

“This court has found Joseph Ogbu guilty of these heinous crimes and you’re hereby sentenced to death by hanging. May God have mercy on your soul.”

The convict, while gesticulating, begged the court for mercy.

He said in pidgin English, “the mama no die for my presence. I beg for mercy.”

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Breaking: Popular actor arrested for beating his wife

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Zimbabwean Actor Jerome Galiao who played Dr Nyasha Mugari in “scandals” has been arrested for beating his wife. 

 

H-Metro reported that the 38-year-old actor was taken into custody on Monday, March 27, at Linden Police Station in Randburg. His case is under reference number CAS 280/3/2023, and he is expected to make a court appearance today, March 28, on charges of domestic violence.

 

A source told the publication;

 

“Jerome is in police custody in Randburg. He was arrested last night for domestic violence. He is in the cells and will appear in court on Tuesday (today). You can contact SAPS for more information. This is not the first time he has bashed her.”

 

When Jerome’s wife, Nerissa Mema, was contacted, she declined to comment, insisting that she needs some privacy.

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Metro

158 Anti-Corruption CSOs, activists to Buhari: Time to sack Bawa is now

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Nigerians across various sectors have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to, in the few days left for his administration, strive to leave a legacy of a functional system where there is respect for the rule of law and all actors act only in full compliance with the Constitution, Acts of the National Assembly and all other laws of the country.

Delegates from 158 Anti-Corruption Civil Society and Non-Governmental Organisations, faith-based groups, youth and community-based organisations, who gathered in Abuja at a one-day national conference on Sunday, said the anti-corruption efforts of the Buhari administration would eventually be assessed by the conduct of key officials, especially those saddled with the responsibility of taming corruption in Nigeria.

After exhaustive deliberations by the expanded gathering with keynote address by the Dean, Faculty of Arts, Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Prof. Wasiu Ademola Oyedokun-Alli,
and presentations from speakers, including the Chairman of the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, Debo Adeniran, among others, the Conference adopted a communique, which specifically expressed concern that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, under the leadership of Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, had allegedly become a cesspool of internal corruption, among other diverse issues.

While congratulating Nigerians on the outcome of the various elections, the Organisations faulted the Independent National Electoral Commission for not keeping strictly to the promises made to Nigerians.

They, however, condemned what they described as the various attempts by some politicians and people of vested interests towards pushing the country dangerously to the edge of the slope, particularly the promotion of ethnic and religious divisions among Nigerians.

The communique said, in line with genuine concerns among informed Nigerians, “Conference restates that a convict, as Mr. Bawa is seen to be currently, according to the judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction,  which has not been vacated, cannot continue to preside over an important law enforcement agency like the EFCC established to fight corruption.”

Delegates from the 158 organisations also alleged that Bawa’s actions as a public officer had been high-handed, prejudicial, contemptuous of Nigerian courts and oppressive to the human rights of persons under the EFCC investigation, while also condemning, in its entirety, his “deliberate disobedience of court orders.”

“Conference expressed gross dissatisfaction with the Naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria which in the last three months has crippled economic activities and put Nigerians under unprecedented and untold hardship due to the scarcity of the local currency as well as the incessant failure of the online banking system,” the communique stated, adding that there must be consequences for the needless hardship Nigerians were made to contend with in the face of a policy that was not well thought out.

On anti-corruption efforts, the communique said,
“Corruption undermines growth, erodes trust in governments, fuels support for extremism and hinders the fight against poverty and inequality. Therefore, we as Nigerians, have a responsibility to prevent, detect and expose any form of corruption. In fighting corruption, we cannot, but also be mindful of the dictates of our laws, as a country under a democracy.

“The war against corruption in the country, particularly under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, has its milestones, prospects and challenges, hence, the need for us to consciously review same, while also setting an agenda for the incoming administration in the country. The subject of corruption and the war against it is of crucial importance to us, as stakeholders, in the Nigerian project.”

The organisations also demanded that states and other tiers of government must set up genuine machinery towards cooperating and consolidating the efforts of the Federal Government in tackling the various security challenges presently facing the country.

They admonished the incoming administration to work hard to ensure that Nigerians remain united in peace and justice to all.

The National Conference was convoked to discuss the State of the Nation, covering several fundamental issues, especially as they affect education, security, corruption challenges and other general interests.

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