The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has said that it will launch a probe into the activities of the 38 soldiers who were compulsorily retired by the Nigerian Army.

The soldiers were retired last week by the military authorities following allegation of fraud in the arms deal.

A human rights group, Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Advocacy Centre, protested to the headquarters of the commission yesterday in Abuja, demanding the probe of the soldiers.

The chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, told the protesters that his office would look into their demands.

Represented by the Director of Publicity in the commission, Mr. Osita Nwajah, the EFCC boss said he would justice to the entire petition that comes before him and added that the one brought by the right group would not be an exception.

Magu said: “We commend the Human Rights and Advocacy Centre for leading the war against corruption. The war is total and it is not limited to individuals or organisations. It is not limited to any professional group. It is for every Nigerian.

“We are very encouraged by this solidarity visit and the request you have made. The Acting Chairman of the EFCC, a man of courage, who has demonstrated this by the mandate Nigerians gave him, will do justice to every petition that comes before him.

“This petition you have brought before him will not be an exception.”

Leaders of the rights group, Adah Douglas and Barrister Oboh John, who spoke on behalf of the group at the anti-graft agency’s office, said that the Nigerian Army had taken a stand and therefore had no reason to doubt them.

The group said that the sack of top corrupt army officers was timely and inevitable having been carried out in accordance with the Armed Forces Act, Cap A20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

The group told the EFCC chairman that the proper thing the Federal Government of Nigeria ought to have done ab initio was to out rightly dismiss the affected officers and hand them over to the EFCC for prosecution, particularly due to their involvement in the defence procurement fraud.

The group said: “This would have paved way for recovery of billions of naira and serve as deterrence to other criminally minded public officials. We are even more worried by the emerging facts that the sacked officers are hell bent on using their illegally acquired wealth to disrupt the fragile peace we are presently enjoying in Nigeria.”

The group called on the EFCC to arrest the sacked army officers and activate Sections 28, 29 and 34 of the EFCC (Establishment) Act 2004 by tracing and attaching all their assets and properties as well as freezing their bank accounts in the interim.

They said: “That the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission should press charges of corruption and economic crimes against the sacked army officers. When they are eventually convicted, the Commission should ensure the confiscation and forfeiture of their illegally acquired assets and properties to the Federal Government of Nigeria pursuant to Section 30 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004.

“That Mr. President must be wary of the monstrous plans by the sacked officers in conjunction with other top officers hiding within the military and paramilitary to throw Nigeria into unimaginable crisis.

Every attempt to truncate our democracy and return Nigeria to the dark days of military rule must be resisted.

“That all local and international sister Civil Society Organizations must brace up to the challenges of wrestling Nigeria out of the greedy hands of the sacked “officers” who in their hay days in service were actually “politicians”. The quest for justice for the innocent souls lost to the dreaded Boko Haram sect as a result of corruption and ineptitude of these shenanigans must be sustained.”

The protesters, numbering about 500 marched to the Unity Fountain where they are holding a sit out till evening and with a demand to occupy the EFCC headquarters after one week, if the commission fails to act.

EFCC Chairman Ibrahim Magu

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