Amid plot to remove the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, from office by some forces in the country, the Conference of Nigeria Parties (CNPP) and the Coalition Of National Civil Society Organisations (CNCSOs) have called on President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, not to fall for the antics of those they described as Anti-Bawa elements.
The CNPP and the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in a statement issued on Thursday in Abuja and jointly signed by the CNPP Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu and the National Secretary of the CNCSOs, Alhaji Ali Abacha, the groups noted that from their investigations, “allegations against the EFCC chairman were mere concoctions and at best, imaginary.”
They stated that “the plots to frustrate the anti-graft war in Nigeria, as seen in the last few weeks, through consistent attacks on the country’s anti-graft agency, the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and its Chairman, Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, remain worrisome.
“We almost believed what we have now discovered to be tissues of lies against the EFCC chairman and the commission itself, especially the alleged $300,000 said to have been spent by Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa for Sheraton Hotels accommodation for himself and his family in Jedda and Mecca during lesser Hajj.
“Some groups alleged that Mr Bawa spent $15,000 for 10 days per room and paid for 6 rooms, which they totalled to be $300,000 and considered same far above his means as a public servant.
“First, from the face value of the allegation, the mathematics is faulty because the figures were hurriedly generated to blackmail the executive Chairman of the EFCC. If we go by the allegation, it is obvious that figures being quoted cast serious doubts on the entire allegation.
“If the EFCC Chairman truly booked 6 rooms for himself and his family at the cost $15, 000 as being alleged, the total will be $90, 000 per day and in 10 days, it will total $900, 000 and not $300, 000 being bandied about. Therefore, anyone who believes the allegation can believe anything.
“Secondly, our independent findings show that Mr. Bawa neither spent anything close to $900,000 nor the $300,000 for accommodation.
“We therefore challenge anyone with contrary view to make available his or her evidence.
“Equally amusing is the accusation by the outgoing governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, that the EFCC Chairman demanded $2 million as a bribe from him. He has been challenged by the EFCC about a week ago to produce the evidence of such request for the alleged bribery sum but he is yet to make his evidence public.
“It has, therefore, become very obvious that the attacks of the EFCC Chairman are sponsored by politicians who are now going for the jugular of Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa to get him out of the way.
“All conscious Nigerians will notice that the attacks on the EFCC as an anti-graft commission and the Chairman of the agency as a person have been incremental since it became public that the EFCC has concluded plans to go after some outgoing governors and other public officials after May 29.
“EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, had in March this year revealed the readiness of the commission to nab corrupt elected officials and government appointees, specifically saying that arrests would be made immediately after May 29.
“With about 18 outgoing governors and their deputies under the EFCC radar, it is expected that corruption will fight back, which is what has been happening in the last few weeks.
“Besides targeting those to be picked at the end of this administration, Bawa also disclosed that at least two ministries are currently under the radar of the commission for fraudulent activities that border on procurement processes.
“These are some of the forces behind the Bawa Must Step Aside campaign.
“We therefore urge the President-elect Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu not to start on a wrong footing by being a victim of the desperation of thieving politicians who want to mislead him into sacking Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa as EFCC Chairman.
“Suspending Mr Bawa under any guise will certainly send a wrong signal to Nigerians and the international community that the incoming administration will be corruption-friendly.
“We equally call on conscious political class and the Civil Society to rise up in defence of anti-graft war in Nigeria and support the EFCC to recover our stolen commonwealth which has been stashed away by corrupt politicians and their allies in Nigeria and in foreign lands.
“We demand for an end to the ongoing campaign of calumny against the person of Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa and the EFCC as an anti-graft agency.
“We hereby urge the EFCC Chairman and all operatives of the commission not to be deterred by the calculated attempts to use the media to intimidate and frustrate them in their avowed determination to arrest and prosecute all corrupt politically exposed individuals, including governors and others officials of government after May 29 handover date”, the statement concluded.