An Abuja-based lawyer, Osuagwu Ugochuwu, has approached a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, seeking an order to restrain the Senate from confirming the appointment of the Chairman-designate of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Abdurasheed Bawa, pending the determination of his qualification for the position.
In an originating summon with FCH/ABJ/CS/196/2021 dated February 18, 2021, which has the Nigerian Senate and Abdurasheed Bawa as defendants, the lawyer is seeking true interpretation and construction of Section 2 (1a) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act 2014.
The aforesaid section of the Act states that the Chairman of the EFCC who shall be the chief accounting officer of the commission must “be a serving or retired member of any government security or law enforcement agencies not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police or equivalent.”
The lawyer, who are from St. Francis Xavier and Solicitors, Kubwa, Abuja is seeking a declaration that the second defendant, who is a level 13 public officer and not an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) or its equivalent, is not qualified to be the Chairman of EFCC.
He is also seeking an order for perpetual injunction restraining the First Defendant from confirming the second defendant as chairman of EFCC and any order (s) as the court may deem fit and proper to make in the circumstances of this case.
The lawyer wants the court to determine whether the first defendant, the Nigerian Senate is competent in law to confirm the appointment of the Second Defendant who is deemed to fall short of the requirement of Section 2 (1 and 11) of the EFCC Establishment Act, 2004
The lawyer also stated that the second defendant, Bawa, had steadily risen in his career from Assistant Detective Superintendent (2004) to Deputy Detective Superintendent (2007), Senior Detective Superintendent (2004), Principal Detective Superintendent (2013) and Deputy Chief Superintendent in 2016.
He stated in the summon which has been served on the Senate that the current position/rank of the second defendant as Deputy Chief Detective Superintendent (2016) which is a Level 13 position in public service is lower than and not of the same level with that of an Assistant Commissioner of Police.
He stated that upon verification as at the time of filing this application, the second defendant is a Grade 13 officer and does not have the rank which is equivalent to an Assistant Commissioner of Police
He appealed to the court in the interest of justice and observance of rule of law to grant this application as the defendants have nothing to lose if the reliefs are granted. The defendants are required to enter appearance within 30 days.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), CACOL, Debo Adeniran has called on the Senate to investigate allegations of corruption against the EFCC Chairman-designate.
In a petition made available to Sunday Telegraph, it also called on the Presidency to come out with a white paper on Justice Ayo Salami’s panel set up in July 2020 to investigate various allegations of wrongdoing against Ibrahim Magu.