Don’t let EFCC set Zamfara on fire, activists tell Buhari
Allege persecution of Dauda Lawal
Pro-democracy activists have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to tell the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to steer clear of the politics of Zamfara State to avert a major crisis.
In a statement issued yesterday, the activists, under the aegis of the Zamfara Unity Forum, alleged that the anti-graft body had 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.
The statement signed by Comrade Usman Bungudu, the convener of the forum, read in part: “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.
“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.”
The group expressed worry 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.
“We once again call on President Buhari, who has been a victim of political manipulations in the past, 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. We want to believe that the President is not aware of the impunity going on in the case of Lawal and the EFCC. We are convinced that it is just some politicians who do not have the interest of Zamfara people at heart that are using the President’s name to foment trouble with the help of the EFCC.
“While we are not against Mallam Lawal being arrested and charged to court if he has committed any infractions, every reasonable person knows that the current happenings are beyond the ordinary.”
This is not a case of anti-graft war. In our considered opinion, this is a case of political witch-hunt. We do not endorse any candidate, but we are very worried about the threat to the peace and security of Zamfara State,” the activists said.
According to the forum, “the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) refused to accept the nomination of Lawal as the APC governorship candidate in Zamfara State, insisting that the party did not conduct any primary in the state. However, the national leadership of the ruling party has continued to maintain that Lawal was picked as the consensus candidate in line with the APC constitution after the botched primary election.“We advise Zamfara citizens to remain law-abiding no matter their grievances at the activities of the politicians “in collaboration with the EFCC.”
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