EFCC raises the alarm on sponsored anti–Bawa protests, fingers corrupt persons as mastermind

Kayode Ogundele
Kayode Ogundele

Today, February 14, 2023, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, or EFCC, issued a warning over the actions of an enigmatic coalition of so-called civil society organizations that have recently started a campaign of public rallies demanding the ouster of EFCC Chairman Abdulrasheed Bawa.

Wilson Uwujaren, a spokesperson for the Commission, claimed the group’s actions were intended to tarnish the EFCC Chairman and incite the public against the Commission during a press conference in Abuja.

He stated that, contrary to the claims of the group that they were motivated by the need to strengthen the fight against corruption, the “group have no interest in the fight against Corruption and their allusion to disobedience of court orders by the EFCC chairman is an alibi to manipulate facts around judicial pronouncements and processes to pitch the public against the Commission”

The EFCC spokesman said, information available to the Commission, indicates that the group is sponsored by persons under investigation by the Commission and have been mobilized and mandated by their paymaster to embarrass the person of the chairman through choreographed street protests across the country until he is removed from office.”

He noted that “It is significant that this group found its voice after the EFCC launched an investigation into the mindless looting of the treasury of one of the states. This same group shouted that the Commission lacked the power to investigate the theft of the state’s resources. Their latest dance in the market square came a few hours after family members of a sitting state governor were arraigned at an Abuja court for allegedly stealing the state’s funds”.

Uwujaren expressed concern that the specter of the hired crowd, hired CSOs, etc. are blemishes on our social fabric and a blatant example of how pervasive corruption is in every aspect of our society.

He urged the people to dismiss this group’s campaign because they do not truly speak for the millions of Nigerians who want to see advancement in the fight against corruption.

Addressing the claims that the Commission had been disobeying court orders, the EFCC spokesperson reiterated that the Commission has never, and will not take any steps to undermine the judiciary. “As a law-abiding institution, EFCC has conducted all its activities within the ambit of the law. Where judicial decisions were made against it, it has never resorted to self-help but availed itself of remedies under the law as it did in the instant case of committal orders of the court”, he said.

He stressed the importance of pointing out that the first order, dated November 8, 2022, was made in reference to a 2018 ruling, three years prior to Bawa’s appointment as the EFCC Chairman, when describing the facts behind the two committal orders against the EFCC Chairman. That he immediately ordered the release of the confiscated assets, a sport utility vehicle to the applicant, and started the process for the release of the sum of N40 million to the applicant after becoming aware of the judgment in June 2022. According to Uwuaren, who holds the court and the judiciary in high regard, this gesture does not demonstrate disrespect for them.

In the case of the last order by Justice R.O. Ayoola of the Kogi State High Court, Uwujaren explained that the court, in invoking Form 49, failed to take cognizance of a pending appeal of its ruling of November 30, which directed the Commission to produce a fraud suspect, one Ali Bello. “It also failed to transmit records of appeal to the Court of Appeal.

“The Commission believes it was denied a fair hearing as the alleged infringement of the rights of the applicant happened in Abuja which is outside the jurisdiction of the Kogi High court. As a law-abiding institution, EFCC approached the appellate court, for a stay of execution. This is a valid and lawful remedy by law and does not evoke any aura of impunity or disregard for the judiciary”, he said

He concluded that it was evident that those claiming that Bawa had a penchant for flouting court orders are simply up to mischief, but assured that the EFCC will not be distracted by this campaign of calumny “as we believe that this agenda will fail”



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