• Friday, June 14, 2024
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BusinessDay

Activists protest against misuse of EFCC for political agenda

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On Saturday, scores of activists took to the streets of Lagos, protesting what they called the misuse of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to attack political opponents. They said that opposition forces were manipulating the EFCC to target perceived enemies.

The protesters, under the banner of over 80 Human Rights Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), known collectively as Citizens Action Against Lawlessness, expressed their concerns about calls for anarchy in a democratic setting. They specifically highlighted ongoing efforts to malign former Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, urging the EFCC to disregard these “sponsored, desperate calls” and follow the rule of law.

The activists argued that those demanding the EFCC ignore court proceedings and arrest Bello were not only ignorant of the rule of law but also being used by political actors to undermine the integrity of the Commission. They commended the EFCC for heeding the advice of reasonable, unbiased Nigerians and correcting past mistakes by respecting legal processes.

Segun Abegunde, Co-Convener of the Joint CSOs platform and Coordinator of the South West Progressive Youths Organisation, spoke passionately at the rally. “This group has previously spread falsehoods against judges, prominent figures close to President Bola Tinubu, and APC governors. Now, they’re targeting the EFCC boss with baseless allegations. The EFCC must see through this and not fall into their trap.”

Abegunde stressed that the situation was not about corruption investigation but political persecution. “Some anarchists even went to the EFCC Zonal office, demanding military force to attack Bello’s residences. There are rumors they might use fake soldiers to cause maximum damage.”

The activists believe the ultimate goal of these “anarchists” is to provoke a crisis that could lead to a state of emergency in Kogi State. They view the relentless pursuit of Bello as a revenge mission for a failed political agenda, and a way for his enemies to settle scores.

The group called on President Bola Tinubu to ensure security agencies remain vigilant, warning that nothing must happen to Yahaya Bello or his family. “Let the courts decide Bello’s fate. We demand due process and say no to political persecution,” Abegunde declared.

They urged the EFCC to focus on its mandate without succumbing to political pressure. “The EFCC should sharpen its anti-graft focus and ignore those trying to use it for political attacks. We stand by the EFCC to carry out its duties within the law,” the activists concluded.