The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has called for the appointment of a candidate from the South as the next Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In a press statement issued by the National Coordinator of HURIWA, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, the foremost civil advocacy group emphasized the need for equity and competence in the leadership of the EFCC.
HURIWA expressed concern over the consistent appointment of individuals from the Northern part of Nigeria as EFCC Chairmen since the establishment of the commission, about 20 years ago. This trend, the organisation noted, has led to the perception that the position is micro-zoned to the North, depriving equally competent individuals of the South of the opportunity to contribute to the fight against corruption.
HURIWA, therefore, urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, whom they described as a prominent leader known for his commitment to fairness and justice, to seize the opportunity to promote equity by appointing a candidate from the South as the next EFCC Chairman. “Such a decision would send a powerful message of unity and inclusivity, fostering a harmonious and balanced Nigeria.
“We firmly believe that a candidate from the southern region should be appointed as the next EFCC Chairman to ensure a fair distribution of power and showcase the competence of individuals from diverse backgrounds.
“It is essential to rectify the existing regional imbalance within the EFCC by appointing a candidate from the South as the next Chairman. This would address the perception of bias and create a more balanced representation within the institution. More so, it is high time that the South is given a fair chance to contribute its expertise and perspectives to the fight against corruption”, HURIWA stated.
In addition to the call, for a Southern EFCC Chairman, HURIWA also condemned the alleged attempted assassination of the gubernatorial candidate for the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Senator Albert Bassey, in Akwa Ibom State.
Continuing, the organization called on the newly appointed Acting Inspector-General of Police, Dr. Kayode Egbetokun, to immediately remove the Akwa Ibom State Police Commissioner over the incident.
Senator Albert Bassey was reportedly violently chased out of the governorship election Tribunal in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, during the last hearing of his petition calling for the voiding of the governorship election result in the 2023 election.
Furthermore, HURIWA supported Senator Bassey’s petition to the President of the Court of Appeal, requesting the relocation of the Governorship Election Tribunal to a safer location in Abuja, citing threats to his safety and that of witnesses.
However, HURIWA commended the timely intervention of Senate President; Senator Godswill Akpabio, who reportedly called the attention of the Acting Inspector-General of Police to rescue Senator Bassey Albert and his star witness at the Tribunal from suspected killers in police uniforms.
The organization also condemned the circulation of fake news claiming that the Calabar division of the Court of Appeal had ordered the arrest and detention of Senator Bassey Albert.
Emphasizing, the need for national institutions like the EFCC to reflect Nigeria’s diversity and promote inclusivity. HURIWA called for the appointment of the EFCC Chairman based on merit, competence, and a proven track record in the fight against corruption. The organization highlighted the adverse effects of the frequent change in EFCC chairmanship, which has undermined the commission’s integrity, public trust, and confidence.
HURIWA concluded by strongly urging President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to appoint a candidate from the South as the next EFCC Chairman, prioritizing competence and qualifications, just as it called for the nationalization of the EFCC Chairmanship to ensure equitable representation from all regions of Nigeria.
By fostering transparency and credibility in the appointment process, HURIWA believes Nigeria can strengthen its fight against economic and financial crimes and promote a more inclusive and united nation.