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Public officers should learn not to abuse office, says Olajengbesi

Public officers should learn not to abuse office, says Olajengbesi
June 15
12:31 2023

Pelumi Olajengbesi, an Abuja-based human rights lawyer, has advised public officers to learn from the suspension of AbdulRasheed Bawa as chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

On Wednesday, President Bola Tinubu suspended Bawa as EFCC chairman over alleged abuse of office and “to allow for a proper investigation into his conduct while in office”.

In a statement on Thursday, Olajengbesi, a civil rights lawyer and senior partner of Law Corridor, an Abuja-based firm, urged public official to desist from abuse of office.

The lawyer said the EFCC, under Bawa, violated fundamental human rights through reckless midnight raids on hotels and homes of “innocent citizens”.

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“The Gestapo style of EFCC operatives and their high-handedness under Bawa was unprecedented and crudely undemocratic, leading to loss of lives of innocent Nigerians and sheer embarrassment of many who were falsely labeled fraudster and whose residences were invaded in a commando style without search warrant,” Olajengbesi said.

“The brutal show of shame became a past time of the anti-graft commission under Bawa in flagrant contravention of Section 37 of the CFRN, 1999 (as amended) which guarantees the right to privacy of the citizens, their homes, correspondence, telephone conversations, and telegraphic communication.

“The modus operandi of the EFCC under Bawa’s two-year and four-month reign was to break into people’s homes and hotel rooms in a commando-like fashion, kill in some instances, and arrest in most cases, without any evidence after which it now begun investigation. Whereas the standard procedure is the other way round like EFCC’s equivalent in the United States — the Federal Bureau of Investigation which works with sufficient evidence before arresting suspected fraudsters.

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“The suspension of Bawa by the president and his probe by the Department of State Services is a welcome development for all lovers of human rights and democratic tenets. There is no doubt that corruption is a monster and must be tamed but professionalism and civility in the country’s anti-graft fight are non-negotiable.”

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