Bawa-Must-Go protest continues in Lagos as over 120 CSOs petition National Assembly

‘Nigerians know hired CSOs when they see them’


The protests by over 100 frontline Anti-corruption Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) against alleged “Politicisation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Disobedience of Court Orders and Infringement on Human Rights of Nigerians”, continued on Tuesday, as the activists vowed never to be intimidated by what they described as fresh falsehood being peddled by the anti-graft agency.


The protesters, who marched through the streets of Ikeja and converged on the Lagos State House of Assembly, Alausa, noted that the majority of Nigerians were intelligent people, who could easily differentiate between a genuine cause and sponsored ones, adding that there was no going back on the call for the removal of the EFCC boss, Abdulrasheed Bawa.


The activists alleged that the EFCC had resorted to cheap blackmail to divert the thinking of the public away from its lawlessness, pointing out that this had only compounded the Commission’s problems and further exposed the dangerous political agenda of its Chairman.

The CSOs said they had uncovered plans by Bawa and his alleged sponsors to raise supposed CSOs, who they would back with live coverage, to demonstrate “fake solidarity for an EFCC boss that had clearly become an embarrassment to Nigeria.”


“We are waiting for them. We don’t expect them to fold their arms. But no amount of falsehood can cover the truth. Bawa came in through vendetta and he is unleashing the same on perceived opponents of his godfathers. We have seen that Ibrahim Magu was bundled out with lies so that Bawa’s godfathers can reign with impunity. The fixation on specific cases is glaring to informed Nigerians,” Director, Activists for Good Governance, Declan Ihehaire, said.


“We have been on this struggle for close to a week now. All what we want is for Bawa to leave that office so the Commission can be sanitised. He is clearly unfit to head EFCC. He that comes into equity must come with clean hands,” he maintained.


According to him, there are God-fearing EFCC officials that are in solidarity with the CSOs, “who have said they are tired of being used as witch-hunting agents, and are praying for the success of the struggle”.

Spokesperson for the Transparency and Accountability Group, who spoke shortly after the protesters arrived at the Lagos Assembly, queried how Bawa, “who does not respect the rule of law or believe in fair hearing would say that he was not given fair hearing before the contempt ruling”.

He said: “What we are agitating against is his disobedience of the courts and the brazen politicisation of the EFCC. The IGP should immediately effect his arrest in line with the court ruling.


“Before Bawa can appeal against a court order sending him to prison, he must obey the order first. This is settled in law. Recently, the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, directed ASUU to first comply with an order of the National Industrial Court ( NIC) directing them to suspend their strike before their appeal could be heard.


“Also, just last week, the EFCC itself arrested Senator Nwabaoshi for refusing to go to prison after he was sent there by the Federal High Court. This is despite his appeal against his sentence.”


“Appeal or no appeal, Bawa must report to Kuje prison. His appeal can’t be heard until he complies with the valid court ruling sending him to prison,” he insisted.


He disclosed that the CSO leaders were at the Lagos State House of Assembly to submit a petition on Bawa’s disobedience of court orders and the politicisation of the EFCC to the National Assembly through the Speaker of the state Assembly.


“All we are telling him is obey our courts, let us preserve the integrity of our legal system. If the Head of a frontline anti-corruption agency is being manipulated and controlled by a few people in the political space, and he is breaking the law with impunity, it portends danger for our democratic system and the wellbeing of the society at large,” Funmilayo Jolade Ajayi, of the Community Women Initative, added.


The Chairman, Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership, Debo Adeniran, had said: “A situation whereby somebody is so powerful, somebody is so influential, somebody sees that he has a larger than life image and decides that he is not going to respect our law courts or the laws of the land, it is against the rule of natural justice, it is against the ethos of democratic practice, it is against the principles of human rights.


“So, definitely, a serial violator of court order is not fit to be the Head of an agency that is supposed to sanitise the society”.


The ‘Bawa Must Go’ protests are being led by CACOL Chairman, Debo Adeniran; Executive Director, Zero Graft Centre, Kolawole Sanchez-Jude; Chairman, Coalition Against Corruption and Bad Governance, Toyin Raheem; 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 over 100 notable leaders of Anti-corruption CSOs.

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