BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
The governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to extend its invitations to state governors for investigations into alleged corruption and abuse of office, to officers of the presidency and members of the Federal Executive Council.
He made this known on Wednesday in a statement obtained by our correspondent.
The governor noted that his attention was drawn to a statement credited to the Chairman of the EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa, wherein he claimed he has sent invitations to all outgoing governors and commissioners in a bid to commence an investigation into alleged corruption and abuse of office perpetrated by them while in office.
He added that, while this is appropriate and commendable because it’s important for political office holders to account for their actions in office and EFCC is imbued with the power of investigation, however, this power must be exercised judiciously.
Matawalle said, “The investigation must be holistic and not selective. It is in this respect that the recent invitations and pronouncement by the EFCC Chair is imbalanced, incomplete, hypocritical and unnecessarily skewed.
“This is counterproductive to the anti-corruption crusade itself, that is if Malam Bawa is actually committed to one.
“In a bid to help the obvious knowledge gap and inertia exhibited by the EFCC Chair, the probe should be all-embracing and cover all officers.
“I demand that the EFCC chair extend similar invitations to officers of the Presidency and members of the Federal Executive Council, which is the highest tier of government in the country,”
Matawalle further demanded that the EFCC Chairman, Bawa, recuse himself from the investigations, and also surrender himself for investigation.
This was as he alleged that he and other eminent Nigerians have evidence of corrupt practices, breach of public trust and abuse of office against the EFCC boss and the commission led by him.
Matawalle added, “In furtherance of my desire to engender a broad-based investigation and an enlargement of the fight against corruption, I will also demand that Abdulrasheed Bawa excuse himself and surrender himself for investigation, as I and some eminent Nigerians have evidence of corrupt practices, breach of public trust and abuse of office against him and the commission led by him.
“Importantly, he needs to come clean with Nigerians on the way and manner he has prosecuted the anti-corruption fight. He needs to explain among others how seized assets by the EFCC are being sold without adherence to due process.
“He should explain, for instance, how he has assumed the role of the plaintiff, prosecutor and jury and how he has executed his brand of plea bargaining with suspected criminals and saboteurs of the Nigerian economy and agenda who instead of being put on trial, are walking freely all over Nigeria.”
The governor further noted that the EFCC boss would only be taken seriously, when he does all that he requested, and becomes open, non-selective and all-embracing with his invitation.
“It is only then will serious-minded officers who have served the people selflessly and meritoriously and are not opposed to an examination of their books, and indeed Nigerians generally take him seriously.
“Without this, it is just a case of another person in government who has some explaining to do himself over allegations of corruption, high-handedness and abuse of office now asking others to account, by so doing, merely giving Nigerians comic relief from the present challenging times they are experiencing,” Matawalle added.