CSOs and Human Rights Lawyers Urge EFCC to Uphold Anti-Corruption Principles

Civil society organisations (CSOs) and human rights lawyers have issued a collective call to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), urging the agency to uphold Nigeria’s image by refraining from prioritizing political battles that undermine President Bola Tinubu’s administration’s robust anti-corruption policy.

Representatives from numerous CSOs, operating under the umbrella of the Committee for the Defence of Democracy and Rule of Law, expressed concerns over what they perceived as the EFCC’s fixation on specific targets, aggressive media trials, and cozy relationships with opposition figures. They warned against allowing the EFCC to be manipulated into serving as a tool for political vendettas.

Barrister Kayode Mogbojuri, Co-Convener of the Committee, spoke on behalf of over 100 CSOs at a press conference in Abuja, stressing that the EFCC must resist becoming embroiled in political witch hunts orchestrated by disgruntled politicians seeking retribution against opponents or perceived enemies. Mogbojuri advised EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, to insulate the agency from undue political influences.

The activists cited the handling of corruption allegations against former Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, as an example of potential political witch hunts. They criticized the timing and apparent haste in the charges, noting discrepancies that suggested a lack of due diligence. Additionally, they raised concerns about the EFCC’s assertion that Bello was “at large,” without prior notification of an invitation, further indicating potential political persecution.

The CSOs highlighted the EFCC’s disregard for a court order restraining action against Bello, raising questions about the agency’s commitment to the rule of law. They warned that such actions could attract domestic and international suspicion regarding the EFCC’s motives, potentially undermining its credibility.

While expressing support for the fight against corruption, the CSOs emphasized the need for the EFCC to operate professionally and independently, devoid of political interference. They urged the agency to focus on its constitutional mandate without succumbing to political pressures, which could jeopardize its effectiveness and erode public trust.

In conclusion, they urged the EFCC to prioritize professionalism over political expediency to maintain the integrity of Nigeria’s anti-corruption efforts under the Tinubu administration.

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