Human Rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, on Friday accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and its sister agency, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission of allegedly politicising the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
He alleged that the two agencies have not been serious in their fight against corruption, therefore, cannot effectively tackle it in the country.
Effiong stated this in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State while delivering a keynote address entitled, “Stakeholders’ Dialogue on enhancing participation in the Fight against Corruption” organised by Action Aid In Nigeria in collaboration with Policy Alert.
According to him, the anti-graft agencies and both federal and state governments have been very selective in the fight against corruption and have completely shut their eyes on corrupt people.
“The EFCC, ICPC have been politicised. They have become openly selective in their unserious fight against corruption. People in this government have been accused of corruption but what have the anti-graft agencies done?
“While the present federal government continues to shout about the fight against corruption, we have seen how individuals with active corruption cases are being rewarded with ministerial appointments.
The lawyer wondered why ICPC could not invite for questioning or arrest those prominent politicians with proven corruption cases pending before them.
He alleged that the EFCC has continued to shut its eyes on series of petitions before it, adding that the petition by one Itorobong Umoren since November 2018 to EFCC about abandoned projects that littered Akwa Ibom State have not been investigated up till now.
He further alleged that such projects such as Tropicana Entertainment Centre, Ibom Science Park, Four points by Sheraton Hotel, roads which had billions of Naira appropriated to them without being executed were all pointed out in the petition for EFCC to investigate and possibly bring the culprits to book, yet it(EFCC) has not acted till date.
The lawyer accused the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel of shielding his predecessor, Senator Godswill Akpabio even amid claims of acrimony existing between them.
In his remarks, the State Commissioner of ICPC, Mr. Shola Shodipe, urged people in the state to join hands in the fight and avail the commission of intelligence to track down corrupt politicians.
He alleged that the state government has been making desperate efforts to get injunction to restrain both the EFCC and ICPC from investigating financial activities of the state government both past and present.
“Akwa Ibom government has gone to court to tie our hands. The little efforts we have made to investigate were charged with contempt of court. We are handicapped” the Commissioner lamented.
Earlier, the Country Director of Action Aid Nigeria, Mrs. Ene Obi attributed insecurity ravaging Nigeria to corruption and tasked the anti-graft agencies to use their powers to prosecute any person found culpable of corruption irrespective of political affiliation or class.[?]