Afenifere Demands Babachir’s Arrest

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Shola Oyeyipo

Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, thursday said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is selective in its operation by not arresting former Secretary General of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, alongside former Director General of the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA), Mr. Ayodele Oke.

The EFCC, last Wednesday invited the former NIA boss for questioning in relation to about $43.45 million found in a house allegedly belonging to his wife, Folashade Muhammed in Ikoyi, Lagos.

President Buhari had ordered the sack of the two men following a review of the report of a panel headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, which investigated allegations against them.

Reacting to the development on behalf of Afenifere, the group’s Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, said while it is appropriate that Oke should be investigated if he had been indicted by the Osinbajo panel, “we are however surprised that the EFCC has not extended a similar invitation to Mr Babachir Lawal.”

He said: “Inviting one and leaving the other has brought to the fore again the charge of selectivity with picking and choosing those to prosecute over corruption in the land which led a serving Senator to observe that insecticide comes handy when allegations of corruption are raised against some people and deodorant deployed when it is the turn of others.

“We insist that for the perception not to become stronger that the anti-graft war develops strong teeth against the vulnerable and toothless against the sacred cows, the EFCC must invite Lawal as it goes after Oke.”

Odumakin said Afenifere’s demand “is consistent with our avowed commitment to accountability which informed our position at our monthly meeting three days ago that Mr Abdurasheed Maina, the pension scam fugitive surreptitiously reinstated by top officials of this administration must be arrested and prosecuted and all those who facilitated his reinstatement punished.”

Afenifere suspects foul play, noting that “Following public outcry that the presidency should hand the former officials to the EFCC for prosecution after their sack, spokesmen of the administration have been speaking in forked tongues about presidency not teleguiding the anti-graft war and that the agency would exercise its discretion.

“Now the EFCC has exercised that discretion to invite Oke sparing Lawal who was initially protected by the presidency and defended after he was indicted by the Senate for fraud.”

Both Oke and Lawal were investigated by the same panel, suspended the same day and sacked the same day by the presidency.