HURIWA Calls For Caution Over EFCC’s Raid Of Dangote, Quizzing Of Bank Chiefs


Following the controversies trailing the recent invasion of the corporate head office of Dangote Group by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has called for caution on the part of the anti-graft institution so as not to create the wrong impression in the international community that even one of Africa’s best organised corporate entities is lacking in transparency and accountability.

The rights group has also called for the highest exercise of wisdom and discretion on the part of the EFCC even whilst the anti-corruption body has reportedly interrogated some Chief Executive Officers of some of the largest and most successful brands in the commercial banking industry over the financial scams tearing down the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation which has resulted in the suspension of the minister in charge of that sector, Betta Edu.

HURIWA, in a statement signed by its national coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, on Wednesday, said the sensational media coverage of the quizzing of some of the biggest banks in Nigeria by the EFCC is not in the commercial and economic interest of Nigeria just as the Rights group said the anti-graft body need not leak such sensitive information to the public space for media effect and for boosting of the dwindling public image of the EFCC because such information may pass the wrong signals that our banks lack quality control and are print to be manipulated by politicians to do their dirty bidding.

Quoting credible news sources, HURIWA recalled that the CEOs and MDs of Zenith Bank, Providus bank, and Jaiz bank were allegedly invited by the EFCC and quizzed over their alleged role in facilitating the alleged N44 billion fraud and the N585 million scam involving Halima Shehu of the social investment coordinating office and the minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu.

HURIWA, however, stated that in as much as it is noteworthy that no person whether legal entities or individuals are above the laws of Nigeria, but at the same time, the Rights group pointed out that sensational invasion of very successful business brands employing millions of Nigerians and corporate entities with external institutional and individual investment portfolios, could be very damaging to these strategic brands even as the Rights organisation said the officials of the EFCC must at all times be very circumspect so the very erroneous impressions aren’t created that may have lasting negative impacts on the status and good corporate image of such businesses and high profile employers of labour.

HURIWA agreed with the Dangote Group that the recent invasion of her corporate office in Lagos was targeted at creating the most maximum embarrassment just as the Rights group said although the newly appointed hierarchy of the EFCC may be in a mad rush to win the hearts and minds of Nigerians who are obviously no longer confident that the anti-graft bodies are complying with global best practices given the high rates of economic and sophisticated organised crime happening within the topmost echelons of political administration in Nigeria. HURIWA however thinks the EFCC must go about their work without a lot of fanfares and dramatisation.

HURIWA recalled that the Management of Dangote Industries Limited has doused the concerns of stakeholders following the visit to its Head office in Lagos by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) saying it was ready to assist the Commission in its investigations.

HURIWA recalled too that not long ago, one of the law enforcement agencies reportedly arrested a former MD of Nigeria incentive-based Risk sharing system for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) Aliyu Abdulhameed over alleged fraud running into billions of Naira but as at January 10th 2024, Nairametrics a business minded newspaper reported that the same man whose arrest was sensationalised in the media, has just been appointed a Non-executive Director of the Nigerian Aviation Handling company plc.

In this instance, the rights group wondered why the man was arrested and disgraced in the media only for the same man to become a top official of a national agency.

Besides, HURIWA said the EFCC had in the past inundated Nigerians with information that most past governors were involved in large scale corruption whilst in offices and even drew a list of almost 20 of such governors, but the rights group lamented that only two out of those erstwhile governors sensationally listed by the EFCC as corrupt were convicted by the court of law and even the duo who were convicted served only few years but were pardoned and freed by the former President Muhammadu Buhari.

In the media statement, HURIWA vowed to continue to support right-based and law-focused anti-corruption crusades of both the EFCC and the ICPC even as the Rights group maintains that sanitisation of Nigeria of the massive corruption in government offices, is strategic to achieving sustainable development in Nigeria.

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