Arewa Youth Consultative Forum Knocks EFCC Over Alleged Harassment Of Matawalle


    *says 3,000 contempt cases hanging on the neck of EFCC


    A frontline group in Northern Nigeria, the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) has frowned at recent actions taken by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against the Governor of Zamfara State, Mohammed Bello Matawalle, describing it as targetted at pulling him down, while warning that such embarrassment should stop.

    AYCF expressed this in a statement signed by its National President, Alh Yerima Shettima, made available to our correspondent on Saturday November 12, 2022.

    “We have been following closely the action of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) hasty moves to nail another Northern Governor, Mohammed Bello Matawalle. We feel duly concerned to call out the EFCC, led by Abdurrashid Bawa to desist from this repeated embarrassment of starting what it cannot finish,” AYCF said.

    The group said that the EFCC as an institution of public service that is crucial to sanitizing Nigeria, should not be pulled down by the actions of one man.

    “In view of this Northern governor’s unpleasant experience with this anti-graft agency, we wish to declare as follows:-

    The current EFCC led by Abdurrashid Bawa is losing steam too fast, compared to what obtained during the era of Nuhu Ribadu, Farida and Lamorde. This is a very worrisome standard and the current leadership of the agency must fasten its belt and stop this downward slide in operational standards.

    “We totally reject the strategy of media trial because it downgrades not just the operational standards of the agency but it amounts to deliberate policy of intimidation.

    “In a democratic setting such as Nigeria’s, the Rule of Law is an essential ingredient because it strengthens the constitutional rights and privileges of all Nigerians, unlike in a military dictatorship,” the statement said.

    They averred that the EFCC is meant to be an agency of uncompromising standards that should be a reflection of Nigeria’s domestic and international image in the fight against corruption.

    AYCF said that it is on record that Governor Matawalle has been able stabilize Zamfara State more than his predecessors.

    “There is some peace in the state today because of his modified security strategy. Is the EFCC now deliberately trying to undermine these laudable achievements by launching a media trial in broad daylight?

    “Why would Belsha Printing Press that Matawalle established before he even became State Governor be shut down now? What kind of law gave the agency the powers to shut down a private business that predates the owner’s emergence as governor?” The group queried, adding that, “This is really distractive for a Governor giving Zamfara his best shot”.

    They pointed out that it is interesting to them as a group, why those targetted for media trial are Northerners.

    “Why should this selective approach be seen in an agency that is supposed to be national in outlook?” They further probed.

    The group noted that as much as they will not stop the EFCC chairman from doing his job, they urge President Muhammadu Buhari to call him to order.

    “We know the President’s respect for law and order and we are sure he wouldn’t want this contemptuous attitude of the EFCC chairman to undermine the image of the current administration.

    “The issue of contempt on the side of the current EFCC is becoming too much and we have credible information that many Nigerians that the EFCC Chairman has intimidated, are planning to institute legal action against the agency.

    “We thought the recent court judgement that ordered he should be remanded in prison would serve as a warning for his series of actions that amounted to courts contempt. In other countries, where courts really mean business, nothing would have stopped the EFCC Chairman from going to prison following such a court’s verdict.

    “Credible intelligence at our disposal has shown that there are no fewer than 3,000 contempt cases hanging on the neck of the EFCC because of the Chairman’s approach to issues. This is getting out of hand.

    “Most importantly, Nigeria is not a Banana Republic and the EFCC Chairman should bear this in mind. Let the world know that we are, as citizens and activists, watching the activities of the EFCC and rating their performance as an institution of public service,” the statement said.

    They therefore, adviced the EFCC that it should strive to project its original image of an agency meant to fight corruption, using the instrumentality of the law, under a democratic atmosphere.

    ” The agency should always do their homework well before making their presence in the media on any matter.

    “The current case of Zamfara State Governor, Mohammed Bello Matawalle is unacceptable, a smear on decorum and misapplication of the instruments of checkmating official corruption.

    “That the Governor is insisting that his residence should be searched by the EFCC, means he has nothing to hide and that the agency has not done its homework well.

    “This is worrisome and a repeat will have dire local and international consequences for Nigeria’s image. Ours is not the only country in the world that has an anti-corruption agency and we should not be seen to be a reflection of the opposite,” the group warned.


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