HURIWA

HURIWA Urges Caution On EFCC Raid Of Dangote, Interrogation Of Bank Chiefs

5 months ago
3 mins read

Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to exercise caution in handling investigations about alleged irregularities in forex allocation to Dangote Group and others, by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The civil rights advocacy group made call while reacting to the controversies trailing the recent invasion of the corporate head office of Dangote Group in Lagos by the EFCC.

The rights organisation said the anti-graft agency should applied caution to avoid creating the wrong impression in the international community that even one of Africa’s best organised corporate entities is lacking in transparency and accountability.

The group also called on the Commission to exercise highest level of discretion in interrogating heads of some commercial banks in Nigeria over the alleged financial fraud rocking the  Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation which has resulted in the suspension of the minister, Betta Edu by President Bola Tinubu.

HURIWA said the sensational media coverage of the invitation and interrogation of some banks CEOs by the EFCC is not in the 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 the banks lack quality control and are willing tools used by politicians to do their dirty biddings.

“This kind of information is not very good because this may undermine public confidence in the banks,” the group said.

READ ALSO: N585m, N37bn Graft: EFCC Releases Betta Edu, Sadiya Umar-Farouq On Bail

The CEOs and MDs of Zenith Bank, Providus Bank, and Jaiz Bank were reportedly 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 National Social Investment Programmes Agency, (NSIPA) and the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu.

HURIWA however stated that in as much as no person whether legal entities or individuals are above the laws of Nigeria, “the 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.”

The rights group added that the officials of the EFCC must at all times be very circumspect to avoid creating erroneous impressions that may have lasting negative impacts on the status and good corporate image of such businesses and high profile employers of labour.

HURIWA asserted that the raid of  Dangote Group corporate office in Lagos was targeted at creating embarrassment to the company

“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.

“We think the EFCC must go about their work without a lot of fanfares and dramatisation,” HURIWA said.

The management of Dangote Industries Limited had said it was ready to assist the Commission in its investigations.

The company in a statement disclosed that it received a letter from the EFCC on December 6, 2023, requesting details of all the foreign exchange allocated to it by the Central Bank of Nigeria from 2014 to the present.

Describing the request from EFCC as not being peculiar to Dangote Group, the Company management said: “We understand similar letters were sent to 51 other Groups of companies requesting for same information spanning same period.”

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, the same man whose arrest was sensationalised in the media, has reportedly 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.

HURIWA further observed that the EFCC had in the past inundated Nigerians with information that most past governors were involved in large scale corruption while in offices and even drew a list of almost 20 of such governors, but 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 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 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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