Don’t Let EFCC Set Zamfara on Fire, Activists Tell Buhari

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Muhammadu Buhari

Pro-democracy activists in Zamfara State, under the aegis of the Zamfara Unity Forum, have called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to warn the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to steer clear of the politics of Zamfara State in order to avert a major crisis.

In a statement issued yesterday and signed by Usman Bungudu, the convenor of the forum, the activists alleged that the anti-graft body has been contracted by politicians to intimidate and humiliate Mallam Daudu Lawal, whom the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has nominated as the consensus governorship candidate of the party.

“As we write this, we understand that the EFCC is seriously looking for charges to be brought against Lawal, who has been in detention for over one week. We understand that the arrest was orchestrated by a former permanent secretary who is desperate to replace Lawal as the APC candidate. It must be noted that this same former permanent secretary was indicted in the Abdulrasheed Maina pension scandal, yet the EFCC is allowing itself to be used by the same character. That is how low the EFCC has descended. This was not the original intention of those who set up the EFCC,” the forum alleged.

The forum also noted, “We also understand that the retired permanent secretary is being aided and abetted by a minister, even though the same minister was among those who conceded that Lawal should be the consensus candidate after the stalemate. Despite holding a strategic position in the security architecture of Nigeria, and despite his professional background, he has not used his weight to bring peace to Zamfara State, yet he wants to be governor. When a society does not examine the credentials of people who desire to rule over it, that is what happens. We do not oppose the ambition of any politician who wants to rule the state, but they must not set the state on fire because of their personal interests. Zamfara is bigger than all of us.

“We are worried that the political interference by the EFCC is capable of inflaming passions in the troubled state where the security agencies are already overwhelmed by the activities of armed bandits. We do not understand why at this critical stage of the election timetable, the EFCC will decide to dabble into politics. Nobody has been able to reach Mallam Lawal since he was detained by EFCC and this is very curious. If anybody had predicted that this impunity would still be happening in Nigeria in 2018, it would have been dismissed as absurd. But it is still happening.”

The forum therefore urged President Buhari to call the EFCC to order and ask the agency not to allow itself to be used as a tool in the hands of desperate, old and tired politicians.