$2M Bribe Allegation: Ohaneze, Atiku, CSO Differ on Bawa’s Fate
The ongoing face-off between Zamafara State Governor, Bello Matawalle and the Chairman of Economic and Finacial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, has taken a new dimension, with Civil Society Organisations and youth groups, calling on the anti-graft agency boss to step aside.
On the other hand, an aide of Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Daniel Bwala, has decried what he described as an attempt to blackmail the chairman of the EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa.
One of the groups clamouring for the EFCC chairman’s removal, the Arewa Civil Society Organisations, yesterday said the EFCC chairman should resign or be fired over the alleged corrupt allegations.
In a statement yesterday, the chairman of the Coalition, Adamu Aminu Musa, noted that Abdulrasheed Bawa’s resignation at this point in time is sacrosanct in order to save Nigeria’s reputation.
“The fourth executive chairman, Mr Bawa, has been at the centre of so many corruption allegations even before his appointment as the chairman, which was believed to be surrounded by so many controversies and mysteries,” the statement alleged.
The statement added that Bawa operates like an emperor, using his office to intimidate, harass, and force people to do his bidding, including the banks, other government agencies, and innocent Nigerians, with the backing of his godfather, the Attorney General.
Adamu Aminu also alleged that Bawa forced the DG of NIMASA into sponsoring his family members to study abroad at the Centurion University of Technology and Management, Bhubaneswar, India.
He alleged that the EFCC chairman intimidated and harassed the NCC into giving his elder brother a job while he himself employed another member of his family in the EFCC’s Lagos Command.
Ohanaeze Youths Demand Bawa’s Removal
Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide, yesterday joined the growing list of those calling for the removal of the chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa.
The group made the demand in a statement signed by its National President, Mazi Okwu Nnabuike and made available to newsmen yesterday.
Nnabuike said the call became necessary as the EFCC was according to him drifting off its known credibility.
Okwu said the Igbo group was not surprised owing to earlier alarm that Bawa was compromised.
“This came to the fore when he unleashed the commission on Senator Ike Ekweremadu, a victim of circumstance, who was then facing charges in the United Kingdom.
“The EFCC under Bawa has never charged Ekweremadu for any crime, but while the lawmaker was in far away UK, he rushed and misled a Nigerian court to confiscate all his properties. Thank God that the court later reversed itself. This is just one of the major unholy and sponsored jobs of the EFCC under Bawa.
“In the history of the EFCC, no chairman of the commission has ever come under public scrutiny in such a short period of time like Bawa. The same goes for many of the staff under him, justifying the aphorism, ‘like father like son’.
“A few days ago, it was even reported that two of the staff members killed another colleague while they were fighting for exhibits. This shows how dirty the commission has become.
“Apart from the corruption fight taking a nosedive under Bawa, it is also no longer news that the EFCC under him has totally become a tool for political witchunt, it is now merely being used to settle political scores.
“Based on the foregoing, it is time for Bawa to pack his luggages and step aside as the Chairman of the EFCC. We even expected that he should have resigned on his own volition judging by some weighty allegations against him.
“However, since he is not ready to toe the path of honour, we advise President Muhammadu Buhari to do the needful by purging his government of all the ridicule brought upon his avowed anti-corruption stance by Bawa and the EFCC under him.
“But should Buhari fail to do so, the President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu should consider it as one of his very first assignments- to make Bawa step aside and face investigation. This is the only way Nigerians would rekindle their hope on the anti-graft commission,” Okwu said.
Don’t Blackmail EFCC Chairman, Atiku’s Aide Tells Matawalle
An aide of Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has decried what he described as an attempt to blackmail the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa.
Atiku’s media aide, Daniel Bwala, made the remark while reacting to the allegation against Bawa by Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State.
Matawalle had accused Bawa of begging him for $2 million.
In an interview with BBC Hausa, the governor claimed he was being investigated because he “didn’t offer the EFCC chairperson the money he requested from him.”
The EFCC, however, dismissed the claim, stressing that it would not be drawn into a mud fight with a suspect under its investigation for corruption and unconscionable pillage of the resources of his state.
Reacting to the development, Bwala said the attempt to blackmail Bawa was shameful.
Tweeting, Bwala wrote: “If you want to remove Bawa as EFCC chair, at least be honourable about it and do that honorably.
“The idea that outgoing governors and cabinet people are being investigated so you instigate one of the suspects to blackmail him is, to say the least, shameful.
“Bawa, apart from improving upon the successes of Magu, has taken the commission to a more professional outfit where he draws accolades from far and near and deserves honor, not blackmail.
“If you have evidence against him, follow the due process of the law rather than blackmail.”
Again, Tribunal Steps Down Obi’s Petition
For the third time, the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, was forced to step down hearing in the petition filed by Mr Peter Gregory Obi and the Labour Party, LP, against the election of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The petition was stepped down by the court following a poor schedule of documents being sought to be tendered to establish the allegations of malpractices during the February 25 presidential election.
At yesterday’s proceedings, the court discovered that the documents were not properly scheduled as ordered by the Court.
In the drama that ensued at the point of rendering the documents from the 23 local government areas of Benue, a lot of discrepancies were uncovered.
All efforts to reconcile the anomaly and reschedule the documents were unsuccessful as the errors were beyond immediate solution.
To save the situation, counsel to Obi and the Labour Party, Chief Emeka Okpoko SAN, sought to use documents not filed to conduct the proceedings, but the move was rejected on the ground of illegality.
In the end, the court stepped down hearing of the petition and ordered the legal team to go and re-file the schedule of documents in line with the provisions of the pre-hearing report.
The hearing of Obi’s petition had run into stormy waters three times, prompting the shift in the hearing of the petition.
At the time of this report, Peter Obi and the Vice Presidential candidate, Datti Baba Ahmed, were in the court as their lawyers were running helter-skelter to the Registry of the Court to file a new schedule of documents.
Meanwhile, the five Justices led by Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani hearing the petition have retired to their chambers to await when the legal team will put its house in order.
In Maiden Meeting, Crush Oil Thieves Now, Tinubu Orders Service Chiefs
By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
President Bola Tinubu, yesterday met with the Service Chiefs and heads of security and intelligence agencies and told them that he would change the security architecture of the country to blend with his philosophy to address the insecurity challenges across the federation.
The President also said as far as he is concerned, ‘Nigeria should not go on her knees as a result of security challenges while other countries are working, moving forward and recording tremendous achievements.’
Tinubu stated this in his maiden official meeting with Security and intelligence heads led by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor at the Presidential Villa, Abuja as the the National Security Adviser, NSA, Major Gen.Babagana Monguno (retd), who briefed State House correspondents after the meeting that lasted two hours, said the President has directed heads of security agencies to come out with their blue prints.
He ordered the security agencies to crush anyone involved in oil theft, stressing that his administration will not tolerate such menace.
“He is going to embark on a lot of reforms in terms of our security architecture, he is going to take a closer look at our misfortunes in the maritime domain, focusing particularly on the issues of oil theft, that as far as he is concerned, he is not going to tolerate oil theft wherever the problem is coming from it must be crushed as soon as possible,” he stated.
He has already mandated the security agencies to come up with a blueprint as far as he knows and as far as he concerned, he doesn’t have the luxury of time; and whatever changes will be made have to be done as soon as possible.
“The President also has decided that whatever ventures the armed forces are going to be engaged in, they must carry along those operatives in the theatre. They must be well fed, well kitted, motivated and given all that they require.
He said it was an appraisal meeting for the President to get briefing on the activities of the different security formations and for him to tell them his own philosophy and what he expects from the security heads.
“The President and Commander in Chief of the armed forces has just concluded a meeting of the general security appraisal committee consisting of the Chief of Staff, Service Chiefs, Inspector General of Police, and heads of the intelligence agencies.
“This is the very first meeting he’s had with the heads of the security agencies. The meeting lasted for two hours.
“Having been briefed by the participants of the meeting, Mr. President, addressed prevailing issues confronting the nation in terms of insecurity and also mentioned his own philosophy towards dealing with national security issues.
“First and foremost, he appreciated the armed forces and intelligence agencies and the wider paramilitary agencies for the work they have been doing in the past couple of years. Their sacrifice, their loyalty, and he also paid tribute to those who died in defending this country, from the great big menace of terrorism, insurgency banditry, oil theft, sea robbery, piracy, etc.
“The President has made it very clear that he’s determined to build on whatever gains that have been made and to reverse misfortunes and turn the tide in our favour.
“As far as he’s concerned, this country should not be on its knees struggling while other countries are working and achieving greater heights,” he said.
President Tinubu said in moving the country forward he needs the security agencies to redouble their efforts, stressing that his own philosophy is one of contemporary security measures dealing with the requirements of the time.
“He has made it very clear that he will not accept a situation in which our fortunes keep declining. And his own trajectory is that national security has to be coordinated, there has to be whatever…whether it is a basket system, but there must be a clearing house.
“All agencies must work to achieve one single purpose. Working at cross purposes and colliding with each other is not something that he will condone. He has made it very, very clear that all the security agencies must comply with the demands of coordination, with the demands of frequent consultations and also timely reports which must be acted on.
“President has said clearly that he will do whatever is within his powers to enable the operational elements but the intelligence agencies must also make their work easy for them by providing the type of intelligence that they require to carry out the assignment,” the NSA said.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has mandated his security chiefs to draw up a fresh blueprint that would guide security operations in the country.
Tinubu, who met with the security chiefs in the country for the first time since assuming office, yesterday, said he had a personal philosophy about how security issues should be handled for effective results.
Obi, LP Challenge Election Results in Rivers, Benue, Niger, 15 Other States
The Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the February 25 presidential election, Mr Peter Gregory Obi and his party confirmed to the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) yesterday in Abuja that they would challenge the election results in 18 states only.
They held that they would not dissipate energies in the states where they won convincingly and without any dispute.
However, at the end of proceedings, Obi and his party tendered certified electoral documents obtained from the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC in only six states.
The documents, mainly, Forms EC8A, election results from polling units were admitted as exhibits to be used to establish their alleged riggings and other malpractices during the election.
Presiding Justice of the Court, Haruna Simon Tsammani admitted the documents as exhibits after they were tendered by Chief Emeka Okpoko SAN who represented Obi and the Labour Party.
Meanwhile, INEC, represented by Kemi Pinhero SAN, issued the documents and certified them as genuine but dramatically announced its decision to object to the admission of the documents.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his Vice, Kashim Shetima, who are 2nd and 3rd respondents and represented by Adebayo Adelodun SAN in the petition challenging their declaration as winners of the election, also hinted to oppose the admissibility of the electoral documents.
Similarly, the All Progressives Congress, APC, represented by Chief Afolabi Fashanu, SAN, argued that it would raise objections against the documents.
Breakdown of the tendered and admitted documents showed that Forms EC8A were tendered in 15 Local Government Areas of Rivers State, 23 in Benue, 18 in Cross River, 23 in Niger State, 20 in Osun and 16 in Ekiti Local Government Areas.
A further hearing in the petition has been shifted to June today by the Court at the instance of the two petitioners.
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