EFCC’s Actions Inimical To Yahaya Bello’s Safety – CSOs

EFCC’s Actions Inimical To Yahaya Bello’s Safety – CSOs

Again, some frontline anti-corruption civil society organisations (CSOs) have said with the way the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had handled its case against the immediate past governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, especially the threats from the lawyers and the commission’s boss, it was justifiable to say that Bello’s life might not be safe in the custody of the agency as being expressed by his supporters. “And we believe this is a legitimate fear.”

They advised the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to toe the path of the rule of law and not continue to give credence to the impression that its mandate is being politicised by some interests.

The CSOs said such intentions are neither patriotic nor altruistic.

The groups said the ongoing controversy surrounding the commission’s handling of its allegations against the immediate past governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, “connotes nothing but that.”

The scores of activists, who gathered in Lagos yesterday for a press conference on the state of Nigeria’s fight against corruption, noted that “the principle of justice presupposes that its scales are always balanced and it is blind to personality, creed, gender, race or status.”

They specifically pointed out that what had led to the overheating of the polity was a simple factor – unwillingness of the EFCC to obey a court and follow the due processes of law.

“If the EFCC had gone ahead to defend its appeal against the Kogi State High Court’s order without the premeditated drama of attempted arrest of a citizen who had a subsisting Court order against such action, we will not be here today,” they said.

The chairman, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), Debo Adeniran, who led other CSOs at the press conference, said, “The question will still remain a subject of legal interrogation whether charges filed against a subsisting court order can stand the test of legal scrutiny. 

If a court of competent jurisdiction has ruled that you must stay action on a particular matter pending the determination of the matter before it but that action was executed in spite of that order, one wonders how valid such charges could be in the long run.

“If your enemy falls victim of injustice today and you are happy and mute, when the same hand of injustice slaps your friend tomorrow, you will be under no moral or legal obligation to be angry or complain because society will remind you of the saying that ‘what is good for the goose is equally good for the gander’. Worse still, you may even eventually become a victim of the same hand of injustice that you once celebrated.

“In this hazardous duty of rights activism, we are under permanent obligation to speak and rise up against injustice even if the person concerned is our mortal enemy or even a total stranger. It does not matter to us your religion, your ethnicity, your status in the society, whether rich or poor, powerful or powerless, popular or obscure; our commitment to the cause of justice is a perpetual  service to humanity for which no sacrifices, including insults, blackmail and deliberate misrepresentation of facts can be too heavy for us to bear. It is our cross. Some of us have carried this cross for over four decades.

“They say there is no morality in politics. We say there is no sentiment in justice and rule of law. Every citizen is equal before the law and must be seen to be treated equally,” he said.

The activists added, “In the current matter between the EFCC and the immediate past governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, our position remains that the due processes of law be followed to the letter and unconditionally. 

The press conference was attended by Comrades Debo Adeniran, Olufemi Lawson, Declan Ihekiare, Gbenga Soloki, Abdullahi Usman, Funmi Jolade, Shina Loremikan, Akeem Olanrewaju, and Gbenga Ganzallo.

Also in attendance were Comrades Ochiaga Jude, Hakeem Sowole, Kolawole Egunsebi, Shina  Ishola, Leke Adebanjo, Peter Olayinka, Fola Akinola, Musiliu Adeajo, Mmeje Chukwudi, Samuel Olatoyin, and Rotimi Akinade, among others.


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