*demand President Buhari investigates commission
*challenge EFCC to investigate NIMASA
*allege commission looking other way in investigating NIMASA following sponsoring of EFCC Chairman’s siblings
*say cases should be treated on merit
By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
A group, Arewa Lawyers Progressives Forum has warned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chairman, and it’s Chairman, Mr. Abdul-Rasheed Bawa to desist from engaging in acts that would drag the respected image of the commission to disrepute, while charging President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently investigate activities of the EFCC.
The group expressed this in a statement signed on its behalf by Abubakar A Kurawa Esq, made available to newsmen on Thursday November 17, in which they said they can’t sit and watch injustice meted on citizens by Bawa-led EFCC.
“As progressives members of THE BAR from the NORTH, we can’t sit back while such injustices are being meted. We call on Mr. Chairman to treat cases on their merit and size.
“On this note, THE AREWA LAWYERS PROGRESSIVES FORUM is calling on The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and it’s Chairman, to desist from any act or omission that will drag the Agency’s name in the mud and subject their activities in disrepute.
“We also call on President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of necessity, constitutes a committee to investigate all the heavy allegations against the Chairman of EFCC.
“This is very important in order to clear the doubt of Nigerians on the Chairman and the Commission. If at the end it turn out the Chairman is innocent the President may reinstate him back,” they said. while warning that if the President fails to address this issue, they plan to go to court for an Order compelling the him to do so.
“We will also embark on peaceful protest and conference to ensure that the President heed to our demands,” they threatened.
The group in the statement titled, “A LAWYERS PROGRESSIVES FORUM PRESS RELEASE POLITICIZATION OF THE ACTIVITIES OF EFCC AGAINST SOME PERSONS AND IN FAVOUR OF OTHERS: A CALL TO INVESTIGATE BAWA AND HIS TENDENCIES OF SELECTIVE TREATMENT OF SUSPECTS” insists that the EFCC was established to investigate and prosecute, not to serve political interests.
“It’s no longer news in Nigeria that EFCC, an agency established by the law to investigate and prosecute economic and financial crimes, has in recent times, derided into political persecution, media trial and selective treatment of cases.
“Time without number the agency tend to pursue cases not with the aim of nipping corruption in the bud, but with the clear intent of scoring cheap political points, to the exclusion of serious cases which if diligently investigated would have unravel huge cases of financial crimes against the state.
“So many cases of alleged economic sabotage and embezzlement, cases which under normal circumstances deserves the strong search light of the commission are being ignored only to pursue trivial matters targeted at some individuals,” the group said.
The lawyers cited an example of such cases which if investigated properly, may open up one of the biggest heist in history as the case of NIMASA where an allegation is made against the DG for diverting humongous amounts of money.
“The DG himself in a letter even, asked the commission to investigate the allegations thoroughly, and to be prosecuted if found wanton, yet the commission swept the matter under the carpet without doing the needful.
“Suddenly, some documents became viral in which the same NIMASA is seen to be sponsoring three siblings of the EFCC Chairman for a graduate programme abroad. So many are of the opinion that, probably that may be the reason why EFCC turned a blind eye on case of that magnitude.This is just an example of one of so many cases.
“As young Nigerians we are bothered because we see the appointment of BAWA as milestone. In matters of governance, we rejoice because Our pair is heading an important agency like EFCC, but the scorecard of the Chairman is fast eroding our jubilation. We are no longer certain whether in future such great opportunities will come to young people.
“There is no doubt that the main reason why EFCC are mostly losing their cases in court is due to their penchant for selective treatment, lawlessness and more often, total disregard to the established principles of the Law.
“We are by no means trying to defend proven criminals, we harbor no sympathy for such elements, but we are talking about doing things the right way. A spade must always be called by its name,” the group declared.