A Civil Rights Group, Transparency Coalition of Nigeria (TCN) has called on the President-Elect, General Mohammed Buhari to insulate the EFCC from being manipulated by politicians to witch hunt perceived enemies when he assumes office.
In a statement issued by its Secretary General, Mr Peter Gimba in Abuja on Tuesday, the TCN said it was concerned about the use of the EFCC for political purposes by the executive arm in years past, an act it said had undermined the credibility of the anti-crime commission and attempts to enshrine transparency in all government business.
‘The reasons for the establishment of the EFCC remains genuine and the case for the commission remains strong. However, the perceived use of the EFCC by the executive to muzzle or intimidate its real or perceived opponents into submission is a worrisome development that has diminished public confidence in the EFCC and raised questions about the government’s commitment to due process, accountability and transparency. TCN therefore calls on the President-elect, General Mohammadu Buhari to strengthen the EFCC and insulate it from political control, especially by those who seek to use the commission as a weapon of intimidation and blackmail targeted at political opponents”.
TCN claimed that the practice of using EFCC for political ends has led to a litany of unproven cases that some politicians are using to blackmail opponents who are victims of political persecution through the agency of the EFCC.
The group argued that the use of pending EFCC cases in hate campaigns against perceived political opponents further contributes to the erosion of public confidence in the commission apart from the injury inflicted on the reputation of the affected individuals. Continuing, TCN stressed that just as any accused person is innocent until proven guilty by a court of law, EFCC cases should not be taken as prove of wrongdoing on the part of the accused.
On the leadership of the forthcoming national assembly, TCN canvassed the election of principal officers with a known commitment to rule of law, due process, and transparency so that the legislative and the executive arms can work in tandem to stamp out corruption and impunity while instilling transparency in the country.
Stressing that National Assembly, especially the Senate, has members-elect with good track records of probity and transparency in their previous positions, the group maintained that the Assembly needs a leadership that is commitment to transparency and a willingness to open the legislative arm to greater public scrutiny and participation, in order to enhance public confidence in the National Assembly.