Press Release
Anti-Corruption Civil Society Groups Demand Transparency in Detention of Former EFCC Chairman AbdulRasheed Bawa

Anti-Corruption Civil Society Groups Demand Transparency in Detention of Former EFCC Chairman AbdulRasheed Bawa

August 13, 2023… Group of prominent Anti-Corruption Civil Society Groups have voiced deep concern regarding the suspension and detention of AbdulRasheed Bawa, the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The groups, have raised critical issues and call for transparency and fairness in the process.

Bawa, who previously led the EFCC’s operations, was apprehended by the Department of State Services (DSS) on June 14th. Of particular concern is the absence of formal charges or explanations surrounding his detention till date. The groups strongly condemn this lack of transparency or public engagement on this action, emphasizing that such actions undermine the fundamental principles of justice and due process that the nation holds dear.

In a press statement, the groups highlighted that accusations against Bawa have emerged from politicians currently aligned with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s cabinet and political party. The coalition acknowledges the significance of these allegations but remains cautious about their timing and potential political motivations. It asserts that the pursuit of justice should not be overshadowed by partisan interests and calls for a thorough and unbiased investigation, and prosecution of the suspended Chairman, in case of established serious crimes. 

Drawing attention to a disconcerting pattern with the EFCC headships, the groups noted that past chairpersons such as Nuhu Ribadu, Farida Waziri, Ibrahim Lamorde, and Ibrahim Magu have all faced contentious dismissals from their position. 

The indefinite detention of AbdulRasheed Bawa without proper trial raises even more serious concerns and distatesful. The coalition argues that this extended detention, devoid of due process, not only damages the credibility of the anti-corruption crusade but also raises doubts about the motives behind these actions.

The groups contend that this situation sends an alarming message about the nation’s dedication to eradicating corruption. It prompts reflection on whether the anti-corruption battle remains effective when those leading the charge are subjected to vague accusations and prolonged incarceration. Additionally, this incident prompts questions about the impartiality of the justice system and its vulnerability to political influence.

Furthermore, the coalition highlights the persistent trend where no EFCC chairman has completed their term without facing allegations from politicians and subsequent removal from office without indictments. This pattern of accusations raises suspicions about the motivations underlying these claims and the potential repercussions for the legitimacy of anti-corruption initiatives.

The group’s statement poses a critical question: Is Bawa’s detention indicative of corruption pushing back against the progress made in the anti-corruption movement? The group, however calls upon relevant authorities to promptly address these concerns, conduct a transparent and equitable investigation, and uphold the principles of justice and the rule of law that are foundational to the nation’s prosperity.

As the nation awaits further updates on this unfolding narrative, the Anti-Corruption Civil Society Groups emphasizes the importance of scrutinizing the circumstances surrounding AbdulRasheed Bawa’s suspension and detention. The questions raised by the coalition resonate with public discourse, urging a comprehensive exploration of the matter.

Olanrewaju Suraj
Human and Environmental Development Agenda, Lagos

Mohammed Bougei Attah
Procurement Observation and Advocacy Initiative, Kaduna

Auwal Musa Rafsanjani
Civil Society Legislative and Advocacy Centre, Abuja

Rev. David Ugolor
Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, Benin