A Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSO) has called for the sack of the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, over the persistent issue of contempt of court.
According to the Chairman of the Centre for Public Accountability, Olufemi Lawson, the EFCC boss has made it a habit to consistently disobey court orders, which is why they are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack Bawa.
Lawson, at a press briefing on Friday in Lagos, claimed that the EFCC under the leadership of Bawa has a penchant for disobedience of lawful court orders.
He remarked that Bawa had been convicted to prison on about three different occasions within one month for a clear breach of the extant orders of the court.
Lawson advanced that the impunity consistently shown by the EFCC boss had continued to ridicule the country in the comity of nations and sabotage efforts at attracting foreign direct investment.
Worrisome, according to him, is the blatant disobedience of valid court orders by the Bawa-led EFCC, which is supposedly fighting against corruption in the country.
It has been reported on 6 February that a High Court sitting in Kogi State directed the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba to arrest Bawa.
The court gave the order following Bawa’s alleged disobedience to a court order.
The IGP was also ordered to remand Bawa to Kuje prison for the next 14 days until he purges himself of the contempt.
The presiding judge, Justice R.O. Ayoola in his judgement granted the application for committal to prison of the EFCC chairman for disobeying a court ruling delivered on November 30, 2022.
Reacting to the development, Lawson maintained that Bawa should be sacked if he decides not to respect the rule of law.
He submitted that “We must at this point make it clear that any form of disobedience to lawful orders of the court is not only an act of monumental corruption but is it also indicates a dangerous signal to the institutions of our democracy and the memories of those who sacrificed their lives for the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria.
“This culture of impunity as consistently exhibited by the EFCC chairman continues to ridicule Nigeria in the comity of nations and sabotage efforts at attracting foreign direct investment.
It is even more worrisome that this blatant disobedience of valid court orders by the Bawa-led EFCC is coming on the heels of efforts by stakeholders to galvanise more support for the war against corruption in the country.
We hereby demand that President Buhari takes immediate steps to ensure that EFCC does not derail its avowed commitment to the rule of law and respect for the fundamental rights of citizens by removing Mr Bawa as the chairman of the commission.
EFCC Gestapo-style regime of disobeying court orders must stop. Nigeria is not a banana republic. Attempts by institutions of state to ridicule the country and make it seem like a lawless fiefdom must be resisted by all. The EFCC seems to be allowing itself to be used as an instrument of a political witch hunt as it targets some individuals more than many others.”