By Enyeribe Ejiogu
A group, Young Professional Alliance For Change, has condemned what it described as absurd and unacceptable approach of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in the anti-corruption crusade.
The group made this observation in reaction to “the unguarded desperation by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) in the execution of the mandate,” noting that EFCC has become “best known for arresting suspects and detaining them even before carrying out any form of investigation,” stressing that when it actually conducts any investigation, the exaggerated story of the arrest would be immediately released to the media while the accused is instantly branded guilty.
Buttressing its disapproval of the way and manner the agency operates, the group cited the recent arrest of Mrs Esther Ogbue-Nnamdi, the former managing director of the Petroleum Products and Marketing Company (PPMC), and currently the managing director of NNPC Retail Limited, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, whose official residence and office were ransacked, purportedly in search of evidence to authenticate a petition written against her.
In a press statement signed by its General Secretary, Chukwudi Ifediora, and made available to Sunday Sun, the group said: “The arrest of Mrs Ogbue-Nnamdi and the ransacking of her office and residence were based on a fictitious petition written by some desperate contractors who believe that her due process adherence at the PPMC had deprived them of opportunity to carry out business as usual. “The principal reason for her arrest was the falsehood contained in the petition that she built and furnished a N1.2 billion mansion in Maitama District, Abuja, within two months. This is absolutely untrue because it is on record that the building in question is the official residence of the accused rented for her by the PPMC. It is not her personal property.
“One would have expected the EFCC on receiving the petition to take steps and crosscheck with the appropriate agencies of government, including the Federal Housing Authority, the ownership of the property. This was not done.”
While stressing that the on-going anti-corruption crusade initiated and spearheaded by President Muhammadu Buhari deserves support from every Nigerian, as the country has gained a better standing in the comity of nations, the group however said: “We owe a duty to Nigerians and this administration to ensure that only the right thing is done. EFCC must not be desperate to make news. It must be desperate to do what is right in line with the law establishing it and in line with the 1999 Constitution.
“Arresting and detaining innocent people before carrying out the required investigation is wrong and unacceptable. This is not how to fight corruption. Such approach is not only absurd and unacceptable; it is at variance to the EFCC Act, and of course, the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“It is wrong to assume that anybody who serves in public office is a thief. In this country, we still have some patriotic citizens who value their names and professional ethics more than illegal wealth. From records available to us, Mrs. Ogbue- Nnamdi is one of such Nigerians who values her name.”