Anti-Corruption: Conference of Northern CSOs Condemn ‘Paid Protests’ Against EFCC Chairman

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The Conference of Northern States Civil Society Networks has condemned protests against the Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa.

That was part of the resolutions of the conference of Northern State CSOs in Kano on Thursday.

In a communiqué jointly signed by Ibrahim Waiya and Amb. Ibrahim Yusuf, chairman and secretary respectively, as well as chairmen of all CSO networks in the 19 northern states, the coalition said the groups protesting in some parts of Lagos State do not represent civil society organizations from all over the country, and they did not in any way share in their opinion calling for the sacking of the EFCC Chairman.

“As professional career civil society actors, we are disturbed by the emerging trend where some political leaders occupying exalted positions in some states would stoop too low, to sponsor some civil society organizations to organize protests against a public servant, who is empowered by law to undertake a crusade against corrupt persons, in Nigeria.

“Unfortunately such corrupt leaders have not only embezzled public money belonging to their State, but have also allowed their immediate family and relations to embezzle billions of public money, meant for the people of their State.

“One of such states has been placed as one of the most backward in all indices of development.

“We wish to use this medium to inform such political leaders that they have no hiding place, and no amount of hiring the civil society organizations staging protests on some streets could save them and their families alleged to be involved in corruption from the hand of the law.

“The most unfortunate behavior of those kind of civil society organizations, is their tendency of allowing themselves to be misled by some politicians without recourse to humanity, service to the nation as well as duty towards the promotion of a genuine course such as fight against corruption and corrupt practices.

“We therefore as Conference of Northern State Civil Society Networks representing states based civil society networks/coalitions from the Nineteen Northern States and FCT, wish to categorically put on record that, the groups protesting in some parts of Lagos State do not represent civil society organizations from all over the country, therefore, are not speaking for us or on our behalf, and we do not in any way share in their opinion calling for the sacking of the EFCC Chairman,” the communiqué read.

The coalition said as ambassadors of the EFCC and anti-corruption crusaders, they have so far appreciated the milestones achieved under the stewardship of Abdulrasheed Bawa, as the Chairman of the EFCC.

“The current leadership of the EFCC has not only changed the approach on the fight against corruption but have also systematically introduced more durable reforms, such as increased number of qualified manpower, encouraged the culture of training and retraining of the staff, for more professionalism and effective discharge of the duties, imbibed human relations standard, improved standard of internal mechanism on staff discipline and administration for best practices, as well as increased integrity of the institution, in and outside the country.

“In pursuance of the mandate of the EFCC on the fight against corruption in Nigeria, according to the data provided by the Commission, the agency was able to achieve the following:

“A total conviction of 2,220 from January –December, 2021, the highest in the history of the Commission

“In subsequent year, the total conviction stood at 3,785 that is from January – December, 2022

“Recovered One Hundred and Fifty Two Billion, Eighty Eight Million Six Hundred Ninety eight Thousand, Seven Hundred and Fifty One Naira, Sixty Four Kobo in 2021

“Three Hundred and Eighty Six Million, Two Hundred and Twenty Thousand, Two Hundred and Two Dollars in 2021.

“Two Hundred and Sixty Billion, Four Hundred Million, Eight Hundred Thousand, One Hundred and Thirty Eight Naira, Ninety three kobo in 2022

“Five Hundred and Nine Million, Five Hundred and Thirty Eight Thousand, Four Hundred and Forty Four Dollars.

“It is on this note, we feel the imperative need to specially acknowledge the efforts of the current leadership of Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) led by a focused, energetic and vibrant youngman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, the EFCC Chairman, who in his ingenuity has gradually institutionalized a whistleblowing system that has exposed several conduits of financial embezzlement among government officials (civil servants and elected officials) across the country.”

The Conference of Northern States Civil Society Networks urged the leadership of EFCC to continue on its current path of chasing the corrupt elements in and within the power irrespective of tribe, religion and region to rid the country of corruption, and to bring them to book.

They also called on the EFCC leadership to be alert on the after-currency naira redesigned effects, to avoid hoarding of the new notes and other misgivings by financial institutions and politicians across the country.

The coalition called on President Muhammadu Buhari to disregard and completely ignore the calls for the sack of the EFCC chairman by the paid protesters as it is being sponsored by a State Governor that himself and immediate family members are enmeshed in alleged corruption.

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