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PANDEF alleges persecution of South South indigenes, asks Buhari to rejig EFCC

By Obinna Nwaoku, Port Harcourt
20 December 2021   |   2:52 am
PAN Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), yesterday, alleged persecution and harassment of persons from the South-South geopolitical zone by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

EFCC. Photo/TWITTER/OFFICIALEFCC

PAN Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), yesterday, alleged persecution and harassment of persons from the South-South geopolitical zone by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The group claimed “media trial” and persecution of former public office holders, particularly from the South-South zone and other parts of southern Nigeria, by the anti-graft agency, noting that such action is not only unethical but also despicable and irksome.

This was contained in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Ken Robinson, who asked the EFCC to stop the practice immediately, stressing that the law states that an accused is “innocent until proven guilty” by a competent court of law.

Robinson noted that the organisation would not condone corruption in any way, but decried the manner the EFCC carries out its operations.

According to him, the EFCC has continued to conduct its operations in a manner that depicts complete disrespect for the rule of law and fundamental human rights of citizens, as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

He further alleged that more disturbing is the selectiveness of the agency’s operations, noting that from 2016 to date, under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, no fewer than 30 high profile persons from the South-South geopolitical zone have been harassed and persecuted in the “court of public opinion”, rather than prosecution in competent courts of law.

He said: “Our people have continued to be maligned and denigrated by the EFCC and other state agencies; some have been hassled to death. These issues are well documented in the public sphere. Let EFCC stop persecuting our people!

“The case of retired Lieutenant General Kenneth Minimah, a former Chief of Army Staff, is one of the most preposterous. The periodic resurgence of so-called charges against Minimah and two other serving senior Army officers, in the media, since 2016, further substantiates concerns in the region that there is a determined schedule by antagonists of the South-South geopolitical zone and indeed the Niger Delta region to humiliate and discredit prominent persons from the region, to erode the zone of credible leadership.”

He described the situation as unacceptable, saying Nigerians must be treated equally.