The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), has condemned the victimization and humiliation of heads of anti-graft agencies by both the executive and legislative arms of the federal government.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Monday 9th of November, 2015 announced the unceremonious removal of the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, thus bringing his reign as the country’s anti-graft head to an abrupt end amid, albeit, fraud allegations. Lamorde’s sacking came few weeks to the end of his four-year tenure.
It’s worth recalling that CACOL once called on the Federal Government to refrain from supporting the humiliation of Heads of anti-graft agencies and panels, noting that such practices is fast becoming a regular trend especially when highly placed public exposed person is under investigation or prosecution.
The Executive Chairman, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran, said, “One thing that such reckless sacking would engender is the fear of good people serving at anti-corruption, investigative panels or regulatory agencies as chairman or head. It has been established that when you fight corruption, corruption fights back and these corrupt elements are ruthless when they have to fight back.’’
Adeniran also expressed dissatisfaction over the sacking of Lamorde just days before the expiration of his tenure as the EFCC chairman, “more so when he had not been found guilty of any wrongdoing in spite of the allegations against him. If the system has tolerated him up till this point, why wouldn’t they give him the couple of days before the expiration of his tenure?
“We should recall that both Nuhu Ribadu and Mrs Farida Waziri were humiliated out of office in similar circumstances while investigation and prosecution of some highly placed government officials both at the national and state levels were going on. The same pattern plays out in the National Assembly where heads of committees that tried to probe corruption allegations have been humiliated one way or the other.”
Speaking further the anti-corruption crusader sited a handful of experiences; he noted that “apart from Nuhu Ribadu and Madam Farida Waziri, we have Hon. Ndudi Elumelu who headed a similar probe into the power sector (NIPP); Herman Hembe, the Chairman of House of Representatives Capital Market Committee probing the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC); Faruk Lawal who probed the issue of Petroleum subsidy; Sam Saba, Chairman of Code of Conduct Bureau, was also probed while a case of false assets declaration was going on at the Code of Conduct Tribunal against the Senate President and recently, a group, Mission for Peace and Development Initiative, was reported to have filed a suit before the Federal High Court, Abuja seeking an order removing the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar, on grounds of alleged corruption.
“If in the course of performing their statutory duties, they are accused of wrong doings, they should be made to complete the assignments they are handling, get to a logical conclusion before they are prosecuted or made to quit the office because quitting the office abruptly will be more of advantage to the accused persons than to the cause of justice. And getting the heads of these agencies and panels out of the way might be the only reason why the complainant or their cronies could have accused the heads of agencies investigating or prosecuting them so that the process of getting the criminals diligently investigated and prosecuted may be truncated”. Adeniran stressed.
Emphasizing that his Coalition is not holding brief for Larmode, or for these heads of agencies and panels, we believe that the substance of their findings i.e the cases they are pursuing before their own issues came up should be prosecuted first before they are hunted. While those that were been investigated never faced the law, it is those who headed the body that investigated them that were harassed and maybe humiliated into submission. If such a practice continues, people of good conscience would not want to serve in such agencies and panels as nobody would want to commit his life and career to projects that is most likely to ruin such life and career.” “Interestingly”, Adeniran continued, “none of such so-removed heads of anti-graft institutions had been found truly guilty of the charges leveled against them till date!”
“These heads of agencies and panels could have been given the benefit of the doubt; if they had earlier been found wanting they would not have been appointed to head such sensitive bodies where high level of integrity is required. The confidence of integrity that was reposed in them should be allowed to hold sway until the contrary is proven. The anti-corruption war in Nigeria can neither be effective nor sustained where there is no security of tenure and the leaders of the anti-corruption agencies are subjected to summary dismissal.” Adeniran concluded.
Acting Media Officer, CACOL
10th November, 2015.
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