Some Nigerians have asked the Senate to reject the nomination of Abdulrasheed Bawa for confirmation as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday asked the Senate to confirm Bawa as the substantive Chairman of the anti-graft agency.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the Senate to confirm Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa as substantive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“In a letter to President of the Senate, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, the President said he was acting in accordance with Paragraph 2(3) of Part1, CAP E1 of EFCC Act 2004,” a statement by Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, read.
But some Nigerians on social media asked the President to rescind his decision on Bawa.
SaharaReporters had earlier reported a story by the Peoples Gazette of how the EFCC chairman-designate was arrested and detained by the anti-graft agency in 2019 for selling at least 244 trucks worth between N20-30 million each to his proxies at N100,000 per unit.
Bawa’s handling of dozens of petrol-bearing trucks that were confiscated from suspected looters was reported to have deprived the country of at least N4.88 billion in potential loot recovery.
The new EFCC chairman who was then in charge of the Port Harcourt zonal office allegedly abruptly auctioned the trucks in 2019 to his proxies at “ridiculous prices”.
While some of the 244 trucks have been declared as proceeds of corruption by the Federal High Court, Peoples Gazette learnt that forfeiture proceedings on most of them had yet to be concluded before Bawa sold them off.
Angered by the move, Ola Olukoyede, then EFCC secretary, confronted Bawa about the whereabouts of petrol tankers that were under forfeiture by the Port Harcourt zonal office in late 2019.
Olukoyede had received complaints that the deputy chief detective superintendent was tampering with seized assets that were still undergoing forfeiture proceedings in court.
“It is illegal to take possession of a citizen’s assets without a due process, which involves getting a federal judge to declare such assets as proceeds of public loot.
“He was asked to explain what happened to over 240 trucks that the zonal office was trying to secure their forfeitures, But he was unable to explain,” a source said.
The source said Bawa initially told Olukoyede that he got the directives to sell the trucks from the then acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, but he declined to write that claim in his statement.
“It turned out that he was just dropping names, or he was trying to protect Magu,” a source said.
“He refused to write it in his statement that it was Magu who sent him.”
The source said Olukoyede immediately called Magu, who was away on an official trip at the time, with details of what transpired in Port Harcourt. After concluding his findings, Olukoyede returned to Abuja, expecting Magu to take action upon his return from the trip.
When Magu returned, it was learnt he made an urgent trip to Port Harcourt, and Bawa was removed as the zonal head the next day.
“He was ordered to be detained in Port Harcourt for several days,” another source familiar with the matter said.
“He was then asked to report at the training school in Abuja, which we thought would be the end of his career.”
Reacting to the allegations, a Twitter user, @DanielRegha, said, “With all due respect I believe a lot of people are more qualified than Abdulrasheed Bawa to become the next EFCC Lagos branch boss; I see no reason why someone who was arrested & exposed for his criminal act should occupy such office. The govt should stop playing politics.”
Another user, @DigitalQueenn wrote, “A trained EFCC investigator who was also formerly arrested by Magu's EFCC for Oil Theft to replace Magu as EFCC Chairman. Wait, are you sure Ababakar Shakau's name won't be sent to the Senate for confirmation, just asking.”
@oduhj1 said, “If there is a Senate for Nigeria, the confirmation will be denied but there is none but a Buhari senate. Sad.”
@ola_olanath wrote, “Must we accept this appointment? Is it only the North that must head the EFCC? Have we all being tied in one place at the mercies of this bad governance? In sane democracies, the citizens have a say. But here, those in power do anything they like without looking back. Things have to change.”
@MichaelBiafra wrote, “Imagine people being selected from @NGRPresident since all this while; 1st it was chief of army staff who was fire for not leading the war against Boko Haram now someone who is official thief. Nigeria?”
“My country, my beloved country! A criminal appointed to pursue criminals. Let's see what the Senate will do,” @eebuchi said.