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EFCC fails test of objectivity – Part 2

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Under the Nigerian laws, letter of invitation by an agency of government is not the same as a warrant of arrest, search warrant, or warrant of house arrest.

This is a grave threat to the principle of separation of powers with the ulterior aim of forcing a regime change in the leadership cadre of the Senate.

Readers would recall that the presidency has since marked Ekweremadu, the Deputy Senate President as a persona non grata simply because he belongs to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, but got elected by a bipartisan and an increasingly independent parliament relying on Section 50 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria.

Recall again that the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki was made to pass through a tortuous three-year trial over alleged false declaration of assets, which the larger population of Nigerians saw as politically motivated.

He was recently acquitted by the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

Recall that the presidency arraigned the Senate President and his Deputy, in 2016 over false charges of forgery of Senate Standing Rule only to withdraw it when it was clear they could not establish anything against them in court.

Men of the Nigeria Police Force from the Inspector-General of Police’s office also invaded the official guest house of Ekweremadu in May 2017.

Nothing was found after thorough search. Basically, the bulk of the staff in the operations department of EFCC are police operatives.

The misuse of the anti-corruption agencies is a present threat to the nation’s democracy.

The continuous deployment on illegal duties of the armed security forces targeting certain principal officers of the national assembly is a clear violations of section 34 (1) (a); section 35 (1) and section 36 (1) of the constitution of Nigeria.

Section 34 (1) (a): “Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person, and accordingly – no person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment”;

35(1) “Every person shall be entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of such liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure permitted by law – in execution of the sentence or order of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty;

by reason of his failure to comply with the order of a court or in order to secure the fulfillment of any obligation imposed upon him by law;

for the purpose of bringing him before a court in execution of the order of a court or upon reasonable suspicion of his having committed a criminal offence, or to such extent as may be reasonably necessary to prevent his committing a criminal offence”;

36 (1) “In the determination of his civil rights and obligations, including any question or determination by or against any government or authority, a person shall be entitled to a fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court or other tribunal established by law and constituted in such manner as to secure its independence and impartiality.”

This is the constitutional function of the police- “The police shall be employed for the prevention and detection of crime, the apprehension of offenders, preservation of law and order, the protection of life and property and the due enforcement of all law and regulations with which they are directly charged and shall perform such military duties within or without Nigeria as may be required of them by, or under the authority of, this or any other act.”

There is really no doubt that the current leadership of EFCC has become deeply involved in partisan politics in pursuit of the advancement of the political interest of president Buhari.

The Acting Chairman has been seen wearing a campaign badge of the incumbent president.

The EFCC has immediately gone after Benue and Akwa Ibom State governments and used illegal means to freeze their accounts.

Personally, I have a strong feeling that since the acting chairman failed to secure confirmation following his indictment by the Department of State Services, he may have it at the back of his mind that his continuous stay in office is at the discretion of the president and so he may have the desire to try to pay back for the show of extra ordinary good will in keeping him (Ibrahim Magu) back on his job even when constitutionally he can’t be confirmed as substantive chairman of EFCC.

The Senate had on many occasions demanded his removal but the presidency resisted.

Akwa Ibom and Rivers State administrations and also Benue State governor have all voice out the same accusations of partisanship against EFCC under Ibrahim Magu.

EFCC said it was investigating what Benue governor does with security votes but it has not ask all those who use security votes including Buhari what they do with their security votes which in any event is unconstitutional.

However, the EFCC has attempted to debunk the well-grounded evidence of lack of professional objectivity in the way they have gone on with pre-meditated attacks of political rivals of the president.

When the result of the disputed Ekiti State governorship poll came out and the incumbent was said not to have retained the slot for the PDP, the EFCC issued a tweet in which the agency threatened Mr. Ayo Fayose even as they taunted him that his immunity will soon be over and EFCC would come after him.

Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, however, tepidly dismissed the speculations that the anti-graft agency is being used to witch-hunt the perceived enemies of President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government.

According to him, “The EFCC will not, and does not engage in witch-hunt.

Our activities are in line with international best practices.

“In all that we do, we are indeed, guided first by the fear of God and patriotism to our fatherland and the rule of law.

“I will continue to discharge my duties solely by the fear of Almighty God, the overriding interest of our fatherland, Nigeria and the rule of law.”

Sadly, the Executive arm of government has continued to arm-twist the national Assembly and using all sorts of illegal means to undermine the constitutional authority of this legislative body.

The National Assembly should have insisted that the EFCC respects the due process of the law.

Nigerians must insist on the adherence strictly to the due process of the law by EFCC. This will help save our rapidly dying democracy.
Concluded.

• Onwubiko heads Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA).


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