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HomeNEWSEFCC Vs Yahaya Bello: CSOs/Kogi Youths drag EFCC before Senator, Reps Committee...

EFCC Vs Yahaya Bello: CSOs/Kogi Youths drag EFCC before Senator, Reps Committee over Rights Violation, Threatens Commission With Court Action

No fewer than 64 Civil Society Organizations operating under the auspices of Coalition of Civil Society Groups in conjunction with Kogi Youth Consultative Assembly have dragged the anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC to the Senate Committee on human rights over alleged intimidation and harassment of peaceful protesters in Abuja.

In a petition to the Senate Committee signed by Dr Clement Nduka, the Convener of Coalition of Civil Society Organizations in Nigeria, it says the recent occurrences in the country is portraying EFCC as an establishment of the government being used as tools for oppression, suppression, intimidation, harassment as well as for perpetration of illegalities.

They also said the actions of the commission threatens the country’s human rights records before the international community and portrays the nation as a people with no confidence in our judicial system, hence resort to self-help.

The groups described as a cause for worry the forceful dispersing of protesters at the Commission’s Headquarters in Abuja who had come to demonstrate against what they call media trial and persecution of former governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello.

They called on the Senate and House of Representatives Committee in Human Rights to institute panel of enquiries to look into this ugly trend with a view to recommend punitive measure for whoever that erred on the matter.

The petition reads in part, “On the other hand, Distinguished Senator, the other group, a coalition of Civil Society Organizations and Kogi Youth group who came with placards, banners with different inscriptions suggesting that the commission carry out their national assignment within the confines of our constitution were brutally harassed, dispersed with teargas and gunshots.

“According to the protesters which EFCC may have perceived as pro-Bello had merely taken their demonstration to Commission’s headquarters to submit a letter, urging it to explore the judicial system to pursue its case instead of media trial against Yahaya Bello and several other high profile Nigerians whose integrity, name and characters have been assassinated and maligned by same EFCC but later won their several cases, an action that have been severally condemned as unprofessional and unnecessarily dramatic.

“The protest according to our findings was largely peaceful and just as the leaders were approaching to submit their protest letter, officers of the commission started firing teargas, releasing their dogs on the demonstrators and dispersing them with gunshots.

“That is not all Distinguished Senator, their vehicles, especially the ones rented from Abuja Urban Mass Transit were destroyed, journalists attacked, and some passersby injured as everyone scampered for safety following the unprovoked attacked by those who ordinarily should protect them.

“Apart from their paper placards calling on the EFCC to go courtroom to advance case as against playing to gallery in the camera lens, nothing incriminating was found in any of the protesters, raising questions as to what prompted the EFCC and its official to unleash an unprovoked attack on harmless protesters? Does this give credence to the assumption that EFCC is only interested in persecuting and not prosecuting Yahaya Bello and most of the people they have investigated and tried in court but later won?

“Their action is in sheer contravention and outright violation of the Chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution as amended which confers every citizen with the Right to personal liberty, Right to fair hearing, Right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, Right to freedom of expression and the press, Right to peaceful assembly and association and Right to freedom of movement.

“The action of officials of the Commission is also in violation of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights which declares that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

“It further states that they are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

“These were all brazenly observed in the breach by the EFCC and its officials and it casts our dear country in a negative light when x-rayed in the lens of our Constitution and existing international laws which our great country signed up to.

“The Commission did not deny its unprofessional conduct against the coalition of Civil Society Organizations, journalists and passersby who witnessed the disturbing episode. Their defence has only been that the demonstrators were “unruly” without a single trace of evidence, bearing in mind that there are video clips of everything that transpired on the said day.

OUR DEMANDS

“1. That this honourable and noble Commission should immediately set up a panel of enquiries to look into this ugly trend with a view to recommend punitive measure for whoever that erred on the matter

“2. That the honourable Committee should invite the Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ola Olukoyede to appear before it to answer to the issues raised.

“3. That the honourable Committee should extend invitation to the Reporters of Africa Independent Television (AiT), Arise Television and all journalists on ground who were also victims of the barbaric attack by an institution like EFCC.

“4. That the honourable Committee extend invitation to the drivers of the Abuja urban Mass Transit who drove some of the damaged vehicles who have been suspended by their employers, Abuja Urban Mass Transit due to the unfortunate action of EFCC to destroy their buses

“5. That the honourable Committee should invite manager of the filling station beside the EFCC Headquarters whose station and customers on queue for fuel were badly harrased, attacked and two arrested by the Commission.

“6. That the honourable Committee should such other things that will promote justice, fairness and rule of law in this case

“As distinguished Senators and responsible Committee members who are known for defending the rights of Nigerians where they have been breached, we are counting on you as the last hope of the common man to get justice in the interest of our nation and defence of the defenceless in the society. While we anticipate your usual kind consideration of this, please accept the assurances of our solidarity towards nation building”.

 

 

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