KOGI : 10 anti-corruption bodies back Agbakoba, Urge President Buhari to call EFCC to order

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Ten frontline anti-corruption activists have supported the position of a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Dr Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) against what they described as politicisation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

They said that the Commission’s recent actions against the Kogi State Government, portray EFCC as a “compromised political tool”.

In a statement jointly signed by the Executive Chairmen of Centre For Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, Debo Adeniran; Secureworld and Liberty Initiative for Peace and Co-National Spokesperson of the Coalition of United Political Parties, Comrade Mark Adebayo; Executive Director, Africa Labour Research Centre, Biodun Sowunmi; Executive Director, Centre For Public Accountability, Comrade Olufemi Lawson, and a legal practitioner, Barr. Emeka Igwe.

Other signatories are: Comrade Toyin Raheem, Chairman, Coalition Against Corruption and Bad Governance, CACOBAG; Comrade Akinbiyi Omoleye, Secretary, Zero Corruption Movement, ZECOM; and Comrade Ishola Adeshina, Kill Corruption Coalition, among others and made available to newsmen in Lokoja on Tuesday.

The Activists said the EFCC’s job was not tidy as it had given a loud impression that there was a political axe to grind with the State beyond the mandate of the Commission.

The statement which was titled, “EFCC Must Stop Acting Like a Compromised Political Tool” insisted that there were numerous instances where the Commission had shown itself to be outrageously selective in its investigations, arrests and prosecutions.

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They said, “We unequivocally stand with Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, in his observations and call on the EFCC to review its operational methods in a way that will not compromise its founding principle.

“It must eschew every manner of political patronage and manipulation, which are bound to destroy its public perception locally and internationally. The Kogi issue that Dr. Agbakoba, SAN, alluded to is one case too many. There is a strong suspicion that EFCC has a particular interest to cause chaos in Kogi State by its unnecessary and reprehensible fixation on the state and its affairs.”

“We call on the EFCC to shed its political toga and concentrate on its constitutional mandate of fighting corruption and leave politics to politicians. We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the EFCC to order before it destroys the impressive achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari in the area of fighting corruption, which is acknowledged as unprecedented even by his most vehement critics,” they noted.

The statement reads, “This Press Release by committed anti-corruption activists has become incumbent in view of some of the activities of the Economic and Financial Crimes has engaged in to which the learned silk, Olisa Agbakoba, has recently called attention to.

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“To start with, it is necessary to state that we have always been on the side of the EFCC as we have even collaborated on a number of cases because we have to work together to actualize our collective mandates of fighting corruption that has become a malignant cancer on the country.

“The EFCC is an indispensable institution in the battle against corruption.  However, we cannot look away if the Commission goes out of its primary assignment to stray into things unexpected of it.

“The general and particular concepts of the idea behind the formation of the EFCC does not envisage an agency that would make itself susceptible to political machinations and vendetta. Unfortunately, this has become a serial engagement of the Commission almost from inception as it was seen to be misused by the Executive arm of government to witch-hunt perceived political enemies of the government in power. It does seem that other powerful interests who wish to attack their political opponents also resort to using the EFCC to act at their behest.

“We unequivocally stand with Barrister Olisa Agbakoba in his observations and call on the EFCC to review its operational methods in a way that will not compromise its founding principle.

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“It must eschew every manner of political patronage and manipulation which are bound to destroy its public perception locally and internationally. The Kogi issue that Dr. Agbakoba alluded to is one case too many. There is a strong suspicion that EFCC has a particular interest to cause chaos in Kogi State by its unnecessary and reprehensible fixation on the state and its affairs.

“As the legal luminary stated, it is not among the constitutional mandates of the EFCC to dictate to the country’s subnationals – the states – what their priorities in terms of fiscal application of their resources should be. That qualifies the Commission as a meddlesome interloper which has lost focus by shading shadows while the substance of its mandate escapes justice.

“There are numerous instances where the Commission has shown itself to be outrageously selective in its investigations, arrests and prosecutions.

“We call on the EFCC to shed its political toga and concentrate on its constitutional mandate of fighting corruption and leave politics to politicians. We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the EFCC to order before it destroys the impressive achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari in the area of fighting corruption which is acknowledged as unprecedented even by his most vehement critics.




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