The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has said the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, is the best gift to Nigeria’s anti-corruption fight.
This is contained in a statement signed by the HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko.
Onwubiko described as surprising the calls for Bawa’s removal, arguing that his track record as helmsman of the EFCC speaks volumes.
He urged Bawa to remain resolute and committed in the discharge of his constitutional duties adding that HURIWA, in conjunction with other well-meaning Nigerians had passed a vote of confidence in respect of the activities of the commission..
“Bawa is such a fine officer and gentleman whose career cannot be blighted by politicians who looted their states.
“His rise to national prominence led to his being listed among Nigeria’s Under 50 Leaders in Public Service, alongside other government appointees including Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad of the Rural Electrification Agency, Hadiza Usman of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Elijah Onyeagba, Nigeria’s ambassador to the Republic of Burundi among others.
“HURIWA is therefore astound that such a shining star will come under the vicious attack of prominent Nigerians and propagandists endeavouring to cover up their fraudulent tracks,” he stated.
He commended Bawa for facilitating the extradition of corrupt persons who were hiding in Nigeria after committing crimes in other parts of the world.
He called on Nigerians and media to ignore traducers and not allow corrupt officials to achieve travesty of justice.
“The media needs to help the commission by calling out any cases where the judiciary has created the leeway for the travesty of justice,” he said.
He urged Bawa not to be discouraged but to remain astute and committed to his determined, committed and visionary leadership.
It will be recalled that some civil society organisations demanded the sack of Bawa, over what they called his disregard for court orders. They also accused him of politicisation of the EFCC.
The “Bawa Must Go” protests are being led by the chairman, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, Debo Adeniran; executive director of Zero Graft Centre, Kolawole Sanchez-Jude, and the chairman, Coalition Against Corruption and Bad Governance, Toyin Raheem.
Others are the executive director, Centre for Public Accountability, Olufemi Lawson; spokesperson for the Transparency and Accountability Group, Ayodeji Ologun; director, Activists for Good Governance, Declan Ihehaire; and Ahmed Balogun of Media Rights Concern, among others.
However, in a swift reaction, the EFCC attributed the protests calling for the removal of its chairperson, Bawa to individuals smarting from their investigations for corruption.
The commission’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, described the protesters as “rented crowds” and said the commission would not be distracted by their demonstrations.
He said the information available to the commission, “indicates that persons under investigation by the commission sponsor the group.”
He also said the persons “have been mobilised and mandated by their paymaster to embarrass the person of the chairman through choreographed street protests across the country until he is removed from office.”
The minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Sheuri, described the minister as unique and special.
Shehuri dedicated achievements recorded in the sector, especially in rice production to management and staff of the ministry and said.