Taking a position akin to that recently put forward by Itse Sagay SAN, Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to exert its constitutional powers to arrest some lawmakers who have blatantly and arrogantly ignored the ant-graft agency’s invitations.
Debo Adeniran, the Executive Chairman of CACOL asserted that the EFCC as an institution created by law can within the ambit of the powers constitutionally bestowed on it invite any Nigerian for the purpose of interrogation and investigation.
He said ; “Ignoring EFCC’s invitation is mark of disrespect for the agency and extant laws. The lawmakers are not above the law, moreover, they do not have constitutional immunity from being interrogated, investigated and prosecuted.
“It is unfortunate that our lawmakers have become ‘lawbreakers’; this reality in itself says a lot about the character of the present National Assembly, NASS, a body peopled by several elements who have plethora of corruption allegations against them. One would have expected the lawmakers to lead by example by obeying extant laws; rather what we are witnessing are flagrant violations of laws of country with boldfaced impunity.
“The attempt by the lawmakers to shield the corruption criminal suspects in their fold by clinging to the illogical and superfluous position that since they had rejected the nomination of Ibrahim Magu as substantive Chairman of EFCC, therefore will not be recognized by the NASS holds no water. The invitations extended to lawmakers were from EFCC as an institution and not Magu’s as an individual.
“The mediocrity of the present NASS also comes apparent with this development. For how can lawmakers not know that EFCC is an Institution empowered by law within which it can invite any Nigerian or even foreigners if there are adequate grounds to do so. The lawmakers’ defiant act by ignoring EFCC’s invitation is tantamount to breaking the country’s laws and betraying the constitution which they took oath to defend. It is totally unacceptable.
“No one is above the law, even the governors, the President and Vice that has constitutional immunity can be prosecuted when they are out of office. The truth is that majority of those in NASS want business to continue and have formed a camaraderie of conspiracy bonded by corruption to shield themselves from justice for their crimes. They have utilized every means available to achieve this end, including the attempt to confer constitutional immunity from prosecution on them.”
Against this background, he urged that the commission must not fail in its responsibility to lawfully carry out its duties regardless of whose ox is gored, all the defiant lawmakers that have been snubbing invitations from EFCC must be arrested for turning themselves into lawbreakers.