Abuja-based law firm, Law Corridor, has said Gestapo raids should not be the pastime of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In a statement on Friday, the Lead Partner of the law firm, Henry Kelechukwu Eni-Otu, said the decision of the new EFCC chairman, Ola Olukoyede, banning sting operations at night time was a welcome development.
The law firm charged the new boss of the anti-graft agency, who was appointed and confirmed last month not to toe the path of his predecessor, Abdulrasheed Bawa, whose tenure as EFCC boss witnessed many alleged abuses of human rights through reckless midnight Gestapo raids on hotels and homes of innocent citizens.
The law firm also knocked the EFCC for the lack of due diligence in the unlawful arrest of some students of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, who were wrongly labelled as suspected internet fraudsters.
Recall that 69 persons were arrested and labelled as suspected internet fraudsters but the anti-corruption commission on Wednesday later released 58 of the arrested persons identified as OAU students after protest by their colleagues.
However, the law firm said, “The ban of midnight raids by the new EFCC boss is a welcome development. This has been our cries and that of many civil rights advocates for years.
“However, the ban on midnight stings by the new EFCC chair must be sustained beyond mere rhetorics to sanitise the EFCC and set the anti-graft agency on the right path.
“Truth be told, the Gestapo style of EFCC operatives and their high-handedness under Bawa was unprecedented and crudely undemocratic. This led to the loss of lives of innocent Nigerians and sheer embarrassment of many who were falsely labeled fraudster and whose residences were invaded in a commando style without search warrant.
“Gestapo and commando-like operations should be the pastime of EFCC operatives in deliberate contravention of Section 37 of the CFRN, 1999 (as amended) which guarantees the right to privacy of the citizens, their homes, correspondence, telephone conversations, and telegraphic communication.
“The Bawa days must not be allowed to return under any guise.”
Bawa, who assumed office on February 24, 2021 was removed on June 14, 2023 and put in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) for over 100 days before his recent release.