The suspended chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa is Thursday morning having a taste of many of the experiences many guests of his agency have had in his custody – waking up in confinement without as much as a clue of what is happening in the world around him.
The once powerful EFCC boss surrendered himself for interrogation by Nigeria’s secret police, the State Security Service (SSS) barely hours after it emerged he had been suspended by President Bola Tinubu.
Earlier on Wednesday, the office of the Secretary to the Government of Federation (SGF) had said in a statement signed by Willie Bassey, Director of Information, said Bawa’s suspension resulted from “weighty allegations of abuse of office levelled against him.”
Without giving details of the allegations against Bawa, the statement said the anti-graft official needed to step aside “to allow for proper investigation into his conduct while in office.”
According to the statement, Bawa has been directed to “immediately hand over the affairs of his office to the Director, Operations in the Commission, who will oversee the affairs of the office of the Chairman of the Commission pending the conclusion of the investigation.”
Bawa had received an unusual invitation from the SSS a few hours after Tinubu suspended him on Wednesday.
According to a statement by the DSS, “the invitation relates to some investigative activities concerning him.”
The statement by Peter Afunanya, the Public Relations Officer of SSS, said in a statement was tweeted via the agency’s Twitter handle at 10.48 pm on Wednesday.
It said Bawa “arrived for interrogation a few hours ago.”
It is unclear in what DSS location Bawa is being held and precisely what he is being interrogated for but presumably he honoured the invitation at the SSS headquarters in Abuja from where Mr Afunaya issued his statement on Wednesday.
Two weeks ago a confrontation ensued between SSS and EFCC over their shared building at 15 Awolowo road in Ikoyi Lagos.
During that tiff, SSS operatives blocked EFCC staff members from resuming work in the building in the hours-long stand-off which took place 30 May.
Last month, the immediate-past governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, accused Mr Bawa of demanding $2 million as a bribe from him.
But the EFCC denied Matawalle’s allegation.
The anti-corruption agency in May revealed that Mr Matawalle was being investigated by it for a N70 billion fraud.
Leadership succession at the EFCC since its inception in 2003 has always been steeped in controversies.
In 2021, Bawa took the helm at the commission under similar circumstances after his predecessor, Ibrahim Magu, was suspended from office by then-President Muhammadu Buhari, over allegations of corruption.
Bawa became the second major appointee of former President Muhammadu Buhari to be suspended by Tinubu.