Toe path of decency, FG tells EFCC’s invitees

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The Attorney General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), has bemoaned the obstruction of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission from performing its constitutional duties.

According to him, the EFCC has the power to invite anyone in the course of its investigation.

His statement is coming after the EFCC’s effort to arrest the former governor of Kogi State, Yayaha Bello, proved abortive on Wednesday despite obtaining a court order.

After several hours of laying siege to his house in Abuja, his successor, Usman Ododo, was said to have whisked him away.

Fagbemi, however, did not mention the former governor’s name in the statement he personally signed on Thursday.

He, however, urged public officials to desist from obstructing the EFCC from carrying out its statutory duties.

The statement read, “The bizarre drama confronting the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in the course of its efforts to perform its statutory duty has come to my notice (Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice) as a matter of very grave concern.

“It is now beyond doubt that the EFCC is given power by the law to invite any person of interest to interact with them in the course of their investigation into any matter regardless of status.

“Therefore, the least that we can all do when invited, is not to put any obstruction in the way of EFCC but to honourably answer their invitation. A situation where public officials who are themselves subject to protection by law enforcement agents will set up a stratagem of obstruction to the civil and commendable efforts of the EFCC to perform its duty is, to say the least, insufferably disquieting.”

He assured that he would not hesitate to call any law enforcement agency that violated the fundamental human rights of the citizens to order.

Fagbemi said, “A flight from the law does not resolve issues at stake but only exacerbates it.
I state unequivocally that I stand for the rule of law and will promptly call EFCC and indeed any other agency to order when there is an indication of any transgression of the fundamental rights of any Nigerian by any of the agencies but I also tenaciously hold the view that institutions of state should be allowed to function effectively and efficiently.”

Fagbemi encouraged anyone invited by the EFCC to honour such an invitation.

He said, “Nigeria has a vibrant judicial system that is capable of protecting everyone who follows the rule of law in seeking protection.

“I, therefore encourage anyone who has been invited by the EFCC or any other agency to immediately toe the path of decency and civility by honouring such invitation instead of embarking on temporising self-help and escapism that can only put our country in a bad light before the rest of the world.”

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