HURIWA urges National Assembly to investigate EFCC over alleged abuse of power
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has said it was worried by reports of alleged abuse of powers by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), urging the National Assembly to investigate the anti-graft agency.
In a statement yesterday in Abuja signed by the National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, the group said it has received dozens of petitions from lawyers on how the practice of law in Nigeria has systematically been criminalised by the EFCC under the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government.
HURIWA, therefore, said it would push for the establishment of a monitoring body like the Police Service Commission (PSC) to investigate cases of abuse of power by the country’s anti-corruption agencies.
It said: “We have noticed since 2015 that there is a growing phenomenon of officers of the EFCC engaging in deliberate clampdown on lawyers of certain individuals who may have some political differences from officials of the powers that be in Abuja.”
“In some of these sad developments we are understudying, it would appear that the anti-graft body has consistently embarked on politically motivated witch-hunt targeting certain politically exposed persons who were influential in the past administration of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or who may still be holding political offices that enjoy immunity in which cases the EFCC has already charged legal practitioners connected with such individuals for series of money laundering charges that on a more serious analysis are a smokescreen for political persecution.
“We have been told how lawyers working for prominent political opponents of the administration have been coming under persistent surveillance and reconnaissance missions by the EFCC and we intend to petition the National Assembly’s Committee on Public Petitions to investigate this dangerous development which does not augur well for constitutional democracy and may harm the legal profession in the country if left unchecked.”
It disclosed that it would soon publish the report of a scientific investigation it conducted to list out the most disturbing cases of how some legal practitioners either affiliated to PDP or have personal issues with some powerful people with connections to Abuja have faced horrendous media trials by the anti-graft agency.
It alleged that due to massive propaganda in the media by the EFCC, immigration officials in different international airports in London, New York, Germany, and Paris, among others, constantly harass the affected senior lawyers.