OPEN LETTER TO THE EFCC CHAIRMAN
Dear Mr Chairman,
I remain Ambassador Habeeb Whyte and I am still obliged with the responsibility that life placed on me to suggest a path towards developmental attempt especially where the State I hail from is concerned. I write this as a pen pusher that is ready to change the cause of his generation, using the pen and advocacy. I hail from Abeokuta where indigenes do not speak out of fear, but where they speak so that changes could be effected. My purpose comes with justification. In saying this, I am not trying to stir up wounds from any angle intentionally or accidentally, and I would like to avoid both situations. When you face a challenge that demands solution or a decision, you have two choices. You either emulate the example set by others or use your own creativity and intelligence to formulate a new idea.
I am quick to inform you sir that a man must first learn to live upon the less he could earn. If a man has not acquired more than a bare existence in the years, it is because he has either failed to learn laws that govern the building of wealth, or he does not observe the laws very well. The thoughts of a young mind; are bright lights that shine forth like the meteors that often make brilliant the sky, but the wisdom of age is like the fixed stars that shine so unchanged that the sailor may depend upon them to steer his cause. A lot of people have manipulated the truth to serve their needs, murdering those whose discoveries did not even serve their selfish ambitions. This is exactly what your Commission has done by denying vehemently the ugly incident that occurred in my hometown – Abeokuta. The Punch Newspaper through their Instagram page had posted the denial of your Commission over the incident that occurred on the 27th November, 2021 at Conference Hotels, Abeokuta. The Punch newspaper posted this on the 28th day of November, 2021 and it has generated a lot of comments which are NEGATIVE. Most of the comments now carry the tag, #EndEFCC.
True there are times when things happen which we have no control over but those are the times when we stand up and clinch to our hopes. As a civil rights activists and social crusader, I am obliged to say with emphasis that if care is not taken, the youths would be forced to mobilize a genuine protest against the Federal Government if the activities of the officials of your Commission is not checked. The incident of Saturday the 27th of November, 2021 at Conference Hotel, Abeokuta is a total abuse of the Human Rights and Policing laws at all level. Apart from the event of the day being a youth centered programme, the presence of the Ogun State Commissioner for Police and other dignitaries was enough to compel the EFCC team to thread and observe simple rules of engagement when it invades the venue of the Award ceremony. Most respectfully Sir, it was a total show of wit with young men and women being mobbed, harassed, tortured and cart away like bags of rubbish. A particular aged woman was battered on the basis of her using two phones. She was asked to unlock her phones and upon doing that she was slapped with no caution. Infact, young girls were stripped in the name of searching and a particular man was left half dead. The sporadic shooting and tear gas spraying never helped matters. It was a black day for the youths in attendance. This is a ceremony that had a lot of youths. A caution of decorum could have been exercised. The youths were harmless but your officials were harmful. I think it should be spelt out that not all youths are fraudsters. I have been a recipient of this Award in the past and I can say categorically that this is one of the few events hosted every year to celebrate outstanding youths of Ogun State. The invasion of your officials at this event does not only constitute a violation of human rights but constitute an attack on the economic rights of hoteliers to means of livelihood. “What is the essence of the right to life without means of livelihood? This invasion in no way would affect the business of the hoteliers. Your officials never stopped at the event hall but also forced their ways into the main reception of the hotel demanding that those that lodge therein should be ejected for the sake of arrest. This is impunity at its peak.
Sir, the degree of lawlessness demonstrated by the officials of EFCC cannot be condoned in any sane society. It is now of essence for the IGP, the Minister for Interior, the Senate President, the Speaker of House Reps, all stakeholders in government must necessarily call for the review of the operational code of the EFCC. It more important to modify such clauses that empowers the agency in question to perpetrate lawlessness and unbridled human rights abuse in the name of carrying out official duties. Even if there are intelligence reports warranting such invasion, it must be done in ways and manners that are not only civic but meets global best practices. Only this can portray our country, your Commission and its leadership in good light particularly at this time when our great country is facing security challenges enough to suffocate a nation but resilient. We cannot afford the woes of mean minds that abuse well defined institutions and put themselves above the laws of the land and their codes of conduct.
Sir, it is insulting for your Commission to deny the incident when lawyers are already at your Ikoyi office pursuing administrative bail for those arrested at the scene. I know you are not proud of the manner to which your officials have carried out their duties and that is what informed the decision of your Commission to deny the invasion. The news is all over the social media and it has put the Commission in another light before the entire world. I hope your officials would learn from the police brutality campaign that forced the youths to hold the country down. It is important that youmove fast to avoid the repetition of history. The Nigerian youths have not gotten over the brutalityof the officers of the Special Anti-robbery Squad. Please, do not allow your officials to move forward to the past. No one is above learning. Every Nigerian must remain consistent with an unwavering, unflagging and unalloyed commitment in the discipleship of the movement for the emergence of an egalitarian society. Every generation, out of relative obscurity, will discover its mission, whether to fulfill or betray it. It is time you discover yours s the current leader of the Commission. May all your efforts never go in vain by the conducts of your officials on duty. I would be glad if you consider doing the needful on this issue as raised. It is important and a matter of fact, urgent. This despicable trend must be immediately halted because if it continues, the Commission under your watch would lose its legitimacy and be made to face stern legal consequences. I hereby seek for the unconditional release of the innocent youths and properties that were carted away by your officials in accordance to the dictate of the law.
God bless you sir.
(Kings’ Ambassador Habeeb Whyte is a Lawyer, Author, United Nations Award winner, Africa International Arbitration Award winner, Coca cola/ The Nation Campuslife Award Winner, Promasidor Runner-up for the Best Future Writer in Nigeria, and Multiple Award Winner Legal Adviser – Police Community Relations Committee – Ogun State Chapter)
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