Rule of law: Over 130 CSOs, lawyers insist Bawa must go
Sleaze allegations against EFCC chair yet uncleared, says Adeniran
Not relenting, about 130 frontline anti-corruption Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), yesterday, resumed their call for the sack of the Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, over alleged politicisation of the Commission, disobedience of court orders and infringement on citizens’ rights, among others.
Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), Citizens Rights Advocacy Group, Zero Graft Centre, Coalition Against Corruption and Bad Governance, Centre for Public Accountability, Transparency and Accountability Group, Activists for Good Governance, Media Rights Concern and Committee for the Defence of Human Right (CDHR) are among the CSOs.
Joined by over 20 constitutional lawyers, led by Mogbojuri Kayode of the Citizens Rights Advocacy Group, the group noted that the desperation of Bawa to save his face after unlawful acts in office had taken a laughable turn, insisting that no amount of “purchased CSOs’ vote of confidence” would cover the truth about the abnormalities being condoned in EFCC under its current leadership.
According to them, the EFCC has become desperate to launder “a rapidly diminishing image of Bawa,” to the extent that the Commission’s spokesman signed a statement recently, informing Nigerians that a CSO had passed a confidence vote in its chairman.
Leaders of the struggle said it was a thing of honour that, despite the immense pressure mounted on leaders of the ‘Bawa Must Go’ protests to abandon their objective cause, over 120 of the main actors remained resolute while more joined in the interest of the rule of law.
The activists, however, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for bailing the country out of what they described as a judicial quagmire “by dissociating from any act of disobedience to court orders and making the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) comply with a Supreme Court order that extended the validity of old naira notes to December 31, 2023.”
Spokesperson for the coalition, Olufemi Lawson, stated: “As this is expected to ease the pain of the masses, we hereby call on the President to also wade into the seeming fixation of the EFCC on certain individuals and the desperation of the chairman to score cheap political goals through unwarranted media trials of non-convicted individuals in the country. He should direct Bawa to step aside until he purges himself of contempt as ruled by a High Court.”
Chairman, CACOL, Debo Adeniran, specifically noted that his organisation had, from the outset, alerted the National Assembly to the fact that Bawa was unfit for the post of EFCC chairman over alleged corrupt practices and his rumoured relationship with the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), who was believed to have masterminded the travails and eventually removal of Bawa’s predecessor, Ibrahim Magu.
According to him, Bawa’s alleged misconduct in office is a confirmation of CACOL’s fears of his being a misfit for the position.
Adeniran, who made copies of CACOL’s initial objection to Bawa’s appointment available to the press, said: “Till now, he (Bawa) has not cleared himself of all the allegations against him and he has been made to catch other people who committed offences that are not as grievous as the ones he has been accused of. On top of all of these, he has been behaving as if he is an authority to himself.
“We are now saying that, no matter how highly placed you are, no matter how influential you are, you still are duty-bound to operate within the confines of the laws of our own country. That is the Constitution.”