More Troubles For Suspended EFCC Chair

Suspended chairperson of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, is now facing interrogation by Nigeria’s secret police, the State Security Service (SSS)

This followed his suspension of by President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday over graft allegations.

Godwin Emefiele, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor was similarly fired and arrested on the orders of President Tinubu.

The SSS’ statement, which was tweeted via the agency’s Twitter handle at 10.48 pm on Wednesday, said Mr Bawa “arrived for interrogation a few hours ago.

Director of Information in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Willie Bassey, had in a statement Wednesday evening said Tinubu approved the indefinite suspension from office of AbdulRasheed Bawa, as Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The latest suspension gale, according to Bassey, is to allow for proper investigation into his conduct while in office.

“This follows weighty allegations of abuse of office levelled against him. Bawa has been directed to immediately handover the affairs of his office to the Director, Operations in the Commission, who will oversee the affairs of the Office of the Chairman of the Commission pending the conclusion of the investigation”, statement says.

Before this latest development in the unfolding Tinubu opera, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), a civic group, said lawyers are raising concern about an alleged act of impunity by President Tinubu in suspending Emefiele.

Unnamed lawyers, according to PLAC, are saying that Tinubu should have acted in line with the legal provisions of section 11 of the CBN Act 2007.

The section requires that a CBN Governor may only be removed upon a vote of two-thirds of the Nigerian Senate.

This is coming as Nigerians are keenly watching how Executive-Legislature relations will play out, as well as how effectively the 10th National Assembly will carry out its work of legislation, representation and oversight.

Continuing, PLAC that has Clement Nwankwo, a lawyer, as its Executive Director, says lawyers are contending that failure to respect this legal requirement for Emefiele’s removal perpetuates the impunity of Executive powers and violates due process.

“It is hoped that President Tinubu will take steps to comply with the legal requirements of the CBN Act by asking the Senate to approve Emefiele’s removal”, the group says.

Continuing, the group says Emefiele will undoubtedly have a lot to say to prosecuting authorities on what role he played in pursuing what he called currency redesign project that inflicted incredible hardship on citizens, causing deaths of human beings and businesses, in that undertaking On Friday, June 9, President Tinubu suspended Emefiele from office as CBN governor.

He was subsequently arrested by officials of the Department of State Services (DSS) and taken into custody in the DSS office in Abuja.

Emefiele who had served a first term of five years, had the second term renewed in 2019 and was due to complete this in June 2024.

His term as CBN Governor has, however, been very controversial. He had been accused of running the CBN in a very unprofessional manner.

Bank customers complain that he carried over willful practices of commercial banks into the CBN.

He had been appointed CBN Governor from his position as Managing Director of Zenith Bank, one of Nigeria’s largest commercial banks.

Bank customers complained that commercial banks’ activities in exploiting charges on their accounts heightened under Emefiele.

Rampant bank charges against customers’ accounts were rife ranging from SMS alert charge, stamp duty charge, ATM card maintenance charge, account maintenance charge, electronic transfer charge, cash deposit and withdrawal charges, etc.

The CBN governor had also been accused on a macro level of inflicting damage to the banking sector.

He allowed banks on a free rein of exploitation of customers’ deposits; he dabbled into politics and also joined the Executive arm of government in persecuting those the government accused of participation in the October 2020 EndSARS protests.

Some of the alleged ring leaders of the protests had their accounts frozen, with some of commercial banks penalized for providing banking services to these protesters.

In blatant disregard of professionalism and the requirement of non-partisanship that his position demanded, Emefiele reportedly tried to run for the office of President, with some fronts purchasing a nomination form for him to contest in the primaries of APC for the 2023 general elections.

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