Abdulrasheed Bawa, the suspended chairperson of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has been in the custody of Nigeria’s State Security Service (SSS) for more than two months. President Bola Tinubu suspended Bawa on June 14, and the SSS has detained him without providing any explanation for his arrest or the legal basis for his prolonged detention.

Under President Tinubu’s authority, Bawa has been held by the SSS for 76 days, which is approximately two months and two weeks, without any charges being filed against him. During this period, President Tinubu rewarded former Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State with a ministerial appointment, even though Bawa’s EFCC was investigating Matawalle for allegedly embezzling N70 billion from the state’s funds.

Similarly, former Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, who was linked to the laundering of Sani Abacha’s loot, was also appointed as a minister. This pattern of elevating individuals under investigation while detaining anti-corruption officials has raised concerns among Nigerians about the government’s priorities.

Many Nigerians view this as a disturbing trend of glorifying suspects while undermining those investigating corruption. The Nigerian government has been criticized for disregarding the rule of law, particularly when it comes to disobeying court orders and violating citizens’ rights.

The detention of Bawa for over 76 days without charges is a clear violation of Nigeria’s constitution, which prohibits the detention of crime suspects for more than 24 hours without trial. This detention aligns with a history of chaotic leadership within the EFCC, where previous chairs left office without facing successful prosecution.

Critics argue that Bawa’s detention may be politically motivated due to his investigations into prominent figures, including President Tinubu himself. Despite these concerns, the government has not provided any clarity on the reasons behind Bawa’s extended detention.

Constitutional and rights lawyers have spoken out against Bawa’s detention and emphasized the importance of upholding the rule of law. Some legal experts have suggested that Bawa file a fundamental human rights enforcement suit to challenge his prolonged detention.

This situation has led to a growing sense of disillusionment among Nigerians who had hoped for a commitment to the rule of law and accountability. The apparent disregard for due process and the prolonged detention of Bawa without charges have raised serious questions about the government’s commitment to fighting corruption and protecting citizens’ rights.


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