OPEN LETTER: DON’T CONFIRM ABDULRASHEED BAWA’S APPOINTMENT AS EFCC CHAIR UNTIL HE CLEARS HIS NAME OF ALLEGED CORRUPTION ALLEGATION; APPEAL TO THE NIGERIAN SENATE
Thursday, February 18, 2021
Senator Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan
The President of the Senate
Federal Republic of Nigeria
National Assembly Complex
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), is an aggregate of human rights, community based, and civil society organizations and individuals with an anti-corruption and openness in governance agenda across Nigeria. It is a non-political, non-religious, non-sectarian and non-profit organization registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC.
We have been watching as events unfold since the suspension of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as the Chairman of The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
However, we are disturbed by the recent development in which Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa was announced by the Presidency as the new head of the anti-corruption agency.
We are therefore constrained at this point in time to bring to your attention our critical reaction to the nomination of Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa as the Chairman of EFCC.
While recognizing the President’s constitutional prerogative and right to make appointments in accordance with Paragraph 2(3) of Part 1, CAP E1 of EFCC Act 2004, the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership considers it a service to the nation, by providing information that might be helpful to your ratification in that regard.
We would like the hallowed chamber of the Senate to note the following contradictions before screening the newly nominated chairman of the EFCC:
A. The Chairman Designate was alleged to have diverted 224 forfeited trucks while he was the Port Harcourt zonal head of the commission.
B. He was also alleged to have been involved in oil theft sometime in the past.
C. Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa is also rumored to be a cousin to Abubakar Malami, the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation who traduced Ibrahim Magu (the suspended Chairman of EFCC).
D. According to EFCC Establishment Act, Section 2a (ii) the Chairman to be appointed should: “be a serving or retired member of any security or law enforcement agency not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police or equivalent”. Such equivalence in the EFCC is Grade Level 15, while Bawa is on Grade Level 13.
E. The EFCC Law is an Act of National Assembly hence Senate must not over rule itself by breaching a critical provision in the appointment of EFCC Chairman.
F. Since Mr. Ibrahim Magu was suspended and not sacked, we expect the Presidency to come out with a white paper on Justice Ayo Salami’s panel set up in July 2020 to investigate various allegations of wrongdoing against Ibrahim Magu. The panel had since submitted its report to the President on November 20, 2020. Till date, we are still expecting a white paper on the recommendations of the panel. We would also want to know the fate of Ibrahim Magu.
G. From inception of EFCC, the story of the termination of the appointment of virtually all the former heads of the agency seem to be the same. It looks like the position is fast becoming a “use and dump” position wherein the end of the tenure has been determined from the beginning.
It is gratifying that President Muhammadu Buhari, at various fora, having recognized the need to tackle corruption head-on, one would have expect him to appoint a person of impeccable character to head the anti-corruption agency.
It is against this background that CACOL is appealing to the Senate to please take the pains to dig deep into Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa’s record of overall performance as well as that of corruption allegation leveled against him.
Howbeit, if the rumour making wave in some quarters, which has also been confirmed by some sections of the media is anything to go by, we would say Nigerians’ hope for a corruption free society has been dashed with the nomination of Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa as the Chairman of The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Going by our corporate policy, CACOL ordinarily does not react to speculations but given the grave implication of having to keep quiet, only to speak up after such appointment must have been ratified, would only amount to crying over spilt milk, we deem it necessary to use this medium to sensitize you on this development.
It would be noted that CACOL never shirked its basic responsibility of blowing the whistle on issues centering on corruption in whatever form or guise in governance. We have been doing this and we will continue to do it until we have a corruption free society of our dream which we will all be proud of.
We must state here that we are not out to witch-hunt anyone; rather we are only serving as the voice of the voiceless and of course, the whistle-blower.
We also would like to sensitize you to the spill-over impact that mass protests and petitions from relevant quarters that might trail such appointment if eventually made, may have on this esteemed administration; this is why we consider it pertinent for you to do the needful by engaging in the necessary in-house cleaning ahead of the exercise.
We and other well-meaning Nigerians wish this administration success in your quest to bring about that comprehensive change that we have all been yearning for.