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Timi Frank Commends EFCC For Pursuing Arrest Of Yahaya Bello


Timi Frank Commends EFCC For Pursuing Arrest Of Yahaya Bello

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…calls for expanded anti-corruption efforts

Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, has praised the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for its efforts to apprehend and prosecute former Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello.

In a statement made available to newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja, Frank urged the commission to broaden its investigation to include other allegedly corrupt individuals, particularly former governors, ministers, and public officials associated with both the past administration of ex-President Muhammadu Buhari and the current administration of President Bola Tinubu.

Frank stressed the importance of extending the probe to avoid giving the impression that the EFCC’s actions against Bello were merely a witch hunt.

While commending the EFCC’s steps to hold Bello accountable, Frank highlighted the need for equal scrutiny of other individuals accused of corruption.

“We commend the EFCC for its efforts in pursuing Yahaya Bello’s prosecution. However, we urge the agency to also investigate other former governors, including Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Nyesom Wike, whose alleged corrupt practices have been reported to the EFCC,” said Frank.

According to him, EFCC’s efforts to apprehend Bello and bring him to trial would appear to be a deliberate and malicious witch hunt simply because he contested the Presidential primary election of the All Progressives Congress (APC) against President Bola Tinubu.

“Furthermore, we have yet to witness the arrest of several allegedly corrupt public officials who served under ex-President Muhammadu Buhari, despite petitions against them before the EFCC. These individuals include former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; former Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom; former Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu; former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, among others.

“Additionally, there are those like former personal assistant to President Buhari, Tunde Sabiu; former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Bashir Jamoh; immediate past Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami; the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Dr. Mele Kyari; and Senate President Godswill Akpabio, who remain unprosecuted.

“Similarly, former Minister of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Zainab Ahmed; former Director General of the Nigerian Ports Authority and current aide to President Tinubu, Hadiza Bala Usman; former Governor of Ebonyi State and present Minister of Works, Dave Umahi; and former security chiefs who are the subject of petitions before the EFCC continue to evade prosecution.”

Frank, representing the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) in East Africa and the Middle East, emphasized that by bringing these individuals to court to face trial, the EFCC would demonstrate to Nigerians that their actions against Bello are not politically motivated.

He said: “Someone like Wike has a petition against him before the EFCC, but they have never invited him to defend allegations against him. Is it because some of these people supported and campaigned for Tinubu to emerge President in 2023 that makes them untouchable?”

He acknowledged that the EFCC’s action against Bello is a positive step in the fight against corruption.

However, Frank emphasized the need for the EFCC to show the same level of commitment in addressing allegations against other corrupt individuals.

He added: “For instance, we have seen the recent revelation of the Governor of Abia State, Alex Oti, against the former governor of the State, Okezie Ikpeazu, concerning humongous money paid for the construction of a non-existent airport and other bogus projects by the immediate past administration in Abia state.

The political activist, who hails from Bayelsa, asserted that the failure to prosecute former governors and ministers accused of corruption would undermine the credibility of the anti-corruption efforts. He criticized the EFCC for appearing selective in its prosecutions, targeting only those who may not be in favour with the President.

He said that individuals who support the current administration seem to evade prosecution while those critical of it are pursued.

Frank warned that if the EFCC continues to neglect its duty to investigate allegations against individuals like Nyesom Wike, they will make the petitions public to shed light on their actions while in office and compel the EFCC to take action.

“Hence, we urge the EFCC to demonstrate its commitment to combating corruption in Nigeria by actively pursuing all individuals accused of corrupt practices, not just a select few.

“If the EFCC truly aims to gain the trust of both Nigerians and the international community in the fight against corruption, it must extend its investigations to all relevant parties mentioned. Additionally, we demand swift prosecution of those implicated in corruption allegations to ensure accountability and fairness.

“Furthermore, we call upon the EFCC to cease the harassment and intimidation of individuals like Yahaya Bello. Doing so will signal to the public that the EFCC is dedicated to upholding justice and integrity in Nigeria, thereby restoring faith in the anti-corruption efforts of the current administration.”