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CSOs want Buhari to sack EFCC Chairman for disobeying court orders

 

Leadership nof various CSOs at the news conference

CSOs want Buhari to sack EFCC Chairman for disobeying court orders

The Coalition of Anti-Corruption Organisations has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, over alleged consistent disobedience of court orders.

Mr Olufemi Lawson, Convener of the coalition comprising about 50 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), and Chairman, Centre for Public Accountability, made the call at a news conference on Friday in Lagos.

Lawson said EFCC under Bawa allegedly had the penchant for disobedience of lawful court orders and had politicised activities.

He said Bawa had been convicted to prison terms on about three different occasions within the space of months for 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 is it 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.

“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 galvanise more support for the war against corruption in the country.

“We hereby demand that President Buhari take immediate steps to ensure that EFCC does not derail his avowed commitment to the rule of law and respect for fundamental rights of citizens by removing Mr Bawa as the chairman of the commission,” he said.

Lawson, who noted that disobedience of court orders must stop, said attempts by institutions of state to ridicule the country and make it seem like a lawless fiefdom must be resisted by all.

According to him, 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.

He said that some anti-corruption civil society organisations had submitted several petitions to EFCC which the commission had not acted on ” even when you sit with them to reason on the merits of those petitions.”

“Once there is a political interest the whole processes of investigation and litigation become politicised.

“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 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,” he said.

He said that every democracy in the world is rooted, planted and established on rule of law and there was no democracy that could survive without institutions respecting the rule of law.

He frowned at alleged EFCC’s flagrant abuse of court processes, rule of law and disobedience to the court orders.

Lawson said that the coalition wanted EFCC to be above board as an institution of the nation’s democracy obeying what the law and the court say.

He said that operatives of democracy should not be seen displaying contempt of the court order with impunity.

According to him, EFCC that always approaches court for order to detain corrupt suspect should not find it difficult to obey orders from same court.

He said that the commission should not be seen to be ridiculing the integrity of the nation’s judiciary but be neutral and professional in discharging mandate.

Also speaking, Mr.Ayodeji Ologun, the Spokesperson, Transparency and Accountability Group (TAG) said that the CSOs would not continue to watch the nation’s democracy going down the drain, saying, “whoever appointment to man the EFCC should be above board,”.

“Our judiciary is so sacrosanct because that is the last hope.

“When there are troubles in the legislature and executive, everybody comes to the judiciary as the last arbiter. We should not derail our democracy,” Ologun said.

Leadership of various CSOs including the Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), Zero Graft Centre, and the Coalition Against Corruption and Bad Governance, a) were in attendance.

Others in attendance were Activitists for Good Governance, Centre for Ethics and Good Governance, Media Right Concern, Centre for Socio-Economic Rights, among others.

 

 

 

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