The Lead Partner of an Abuja-based law firm, Law Corridor, Kelechukwu Eni-Otu, has urged the incumbent Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to end Gestapo raids under the leadership of its former Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa.
He made this known while commending the recent decision of the new EFCC chairman, Ola Olukoyede, to ban sting operations by EFCC operatives at night.
The nigeriacurrently.com reports that Bawa, who assumed office on February 24, 2021, was removed on June 14, 2023, and put in the custody of the Department of State Services for 134 days before his release.
The lawyer, in a statement on Saturday, charged the new EFCC boss, Olukoyede, who was appointed and confirmed last month, not to toe the path of his predecessor, Bawa.
According to him, Bawa’s tenure as EFCC boss witnessed many abuses of human rights through reckless midnight Gestapo raids on hotels and homes of innocent citizens.
He further knocked the EFCC for alleged lack of due diligence in the unlawful arrest of some students of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, who were wrongly labelled as suspected internet fraudsters.
The nigeriacurrently.com reports that 69 people were arrested and labelled as suspected internet fraudsters, but the anti-corruption commission later released 58 of the arrested persons, identified as OAU students, after a protest by their colleagues.
The law firm said, “The ban on midnight raids by the new EFCC boss is a welcome development. This has been our cries and that of many civil rights advocates for years.
“However, the ban on midnight stings by the new EFCC chair must be sustained beyond mere rhetorics to sanitise the EFCC and set the anti-graft agency on the right path.
“The Bawa days must not be allowed to return under any guise. Truth be told, the Gestapo style of EFCC operatives and their high-handedness under Bawa was unprecedented and crudely undemocratic.
“This led to the loss of lives of innocent Nigerians and the sheer embarrassment of many who were falsely labeled fraudsters and whose residences were invaded in a commando style without a search warrant.
“Gestapo and commando-like operations should be the pastime of EFCC operatives in deliberate contravention of Section 37 of the CFRN, 1999 (as amended) which guarantees the right to privacy of the citizens, their homes, correspondence, telephone conversations, and telegraphic communication.”