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Over 100 CSOs protest to seek sack of EFCC Chairman


Over 100 CSOs protest to seek sack of EFCC Chairman

By Odunayo Odeja

Over 100 Anti-corruption Civil Society Organisations and thousands of their members and supporters staged a massive protest in Lagos on Saturday.

The group called for the removal of the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, over alleged continued disobedience of court orders.

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Leaders of the Anti-corruption groups, who began what they described as a “Week Long Protest Against Politicisation of the EFCC, Disobedience of Court Orders and Infringement on Human Rights of Nigerians” on Friday, said many CSOs called to join the struggle after the maiden press conference held in Lagos.

The CSOs were joined by senior lawyers at the rally, staged through the streets of Ikeja, through Ikeja City Mall, and ending at the Oregun Junction, in Ikeja, Lagos.

A spokesperson for the Transparency and Accountability Group, Ayodeji Ologun, who spoke on behalf of the anti-corruption CSOs, said the Coalition of Anti-corruption Organisations, could not watch the country’s legal system being bastardised by the selfish interests of a few, insisting that if Bawa was bent on playing politics, he should get a membership card from any of the political parties.

He said the need to press home their grievance strongly and call for the removal of the EFCC boss was founded on the realisation that some anti-democratic elements were drawing the civil societies back into the fight against corruption.

According to the CSOs, the fixation of the EFCC boss on certain individuals and institutions “when grievous petitions capable of bringing the economy down are left unattended, gives the anti-corruption war, under the leadership of Mr Bawa, a dangerously political colouration.”

Ologun said, “We are beginning to see anti-democratic elements within the Democratic process, who are daily drawing us back in the fight against corruption. This is a coalition of different civil society organisations against corruption. For a while now, we have observed the EFCC Chairman flagrantly disobeying court orders. And we believe that he who comes to equity must come with clean hands. If you are at the helm of affairs of an anti-graft body and you find it difficult to obey court rulings, such a person is a lawbreaker. You cannot be in charge of taming corruption in the county and you would be a culprit for disobeying the court order.”

“One of the essences of leadership is obeying the tenets of democracy and the rule of law and the key to that is court ruling. If Bawa has, in the last few months, continued to disobey court orders, he is unfit to sit at the helm of that body and we are calling for his sack,” he declared.

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