A former Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Kingsley Moghalu, has faulted the prolonged detention and sudden release of Abdulrasheed Bawa, a former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission by the Department of State Services without charging him to court, or offering explanation on why he was detained in the first place.
Recall THE WHISTLER reported that on 14th June, 2023 Bawa was suspended from office by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and Abdulkarim Chukkol was appointed to act in his capacity as chairman.
The DSS had immediately picked Bawa for questioning at the DSS headquarters at about 9:pm on the same day he was suspended.
The DSS Spokesman, Peter Afunanya confirmed the arrest in a statement saying: “The Department of State Services (DSS) has invited Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, the suspended Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).”
Meanwhile, during the time of arrest and the entire period the embattled ex-Chairman remained in custody, DSS didn’t state why he was taken into custody, although there was a clamour for his removal from office by civil society organisations, raising allegations on his inability to obey court orders among other corruption allegations.
However, a lawsuit was filed at the Federal High Court, Lagos, by a lawyer, Nkereuwem Anana, seeking an order for the immediate release of the embattled EFCC Chair from custody.
The lawyer is also seeking for the sum of N100 million to be paid by the federal government to Bawa, in compensation for what he termed “unlawful and continuous” detention by the DSS.
Recently, on 25th October, 2023 DSS finally freed the embattled Bawa after about four months of staying in custody. Sources privy to the development revealed that the ex-EFCC boss refused to hire a legal representative despite his confinement.
Shortly after his release, the spokesman of the DSS confirmed the release in a terse statement giving no reasons for the release. “DSS confirms release of former EFCC chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, a few hours ago (today 25th October, 2023),” it said.
Reacting to this, the former Deputy Governor of CBN, Moghalu who served between 2009 – 2014 expressed his disappointment over the whole thing.
He said: “I was therefore disappointed and sad when Bawa was removed, arrested and detained for several months without charges or trial. To the extent he has now been released, we have no knowledge of why he was arrested in the first place, or if he was guilty or innocent of any allegation against him.
“But it should not happen in a country that claims to respect the rule of law that a citizen can be held for so long without any real or clear charges. That’s impunity. Nigeria’s institutions have been destroyed, and what we see is impunity all over. Bad.”