IN light of the recent revelation that the Department of State Security (DSS) has released the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, after an unexplained three-month detention, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has raised critical questions about democracy and transparency in Nigeria.
HURIWA issued a statement on Wednesday strongly demanding full disclosure from both President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the DSS regarding the circumstances surrounding Bawa’s arrest, detention, and subsequent release.
The statement reads as follows: “The sequence of events surrounding Abdulrasheed Bawa’s detention is bewildering. The DSS arrested him in a manner akin to ‘Gestapo tactics’ on June 14, detaining him for an extended period without filing any charges. The Nigerian public must be informed about the reasons behind this inexcusable and unjustified detention. In the name of democracy, transparency, and accountability, we insist that the truth must come to light.
“Furthermore, Abdulrasheed Bawa’s release has occurred under a cloud of suspicion and secrecy. It is important to note that Bawa resigned from his position while still in detention. This fact raises questions about the circumstances leading to his resignation. The people of Nigeria deserve to know whether this resignation was voluntary or coerced, highlighting the potential abuse of power.
“Therefore, the hasty and covert nature of Bawa’s arrest, detention, and subsequent release necessitates a comprehensive explanation from the DSS and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. As a democratic nation, it is essential that government agencies, particularly those responsible for upholding the rule of law, operate with the highest standards of transparency and accountability. HURIWA is deeply concerned about the implications of such actions on the democratic fabric of our nation and the trust of the Nigerian people in their government.
“While Bawa’s detention was shrouded in secrecy, the DSS presented a partisan witness during the Enugu Election Petition Tribunal, testifying about the alleged forged National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) certificate of Peter Mbah, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). This stark contrast in approach raises questions about the impartiality and consistency of the DSS’s actions. If the DSS can appear to serve the interests of one political party in a gubernatorial election dispute, then it should be held accountable for its actions in the detention and release of Abdulrasheed Bawa.
“The DSS’s involvement in the Enugu Election Petition Tribunal and its controversial actions therein emphasize the urgent need for transparency and accountability in its dealings, particularly in high-profile cases like the detention of a former EFCC chairman. HURIWA demands that the DSS provide a satisfactory explanation for its actions and shed light on whether they were influenced by political considerations or partisan interests.
“The citizens of Nigeria are entitled to know the truth behind the arrest and release of Abdulrasheed Bawa, as well as the circumstances that led to his resignation. Secrecy and a lack of transparency in such matters are antithetical to democracy and signify a dangerous drift toward authoritarianism. HURIWA stands firm in its commitment to upholding the principles of justice, human rights, and the rule of law. We call on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the DSS to come forward and provide the Nigerian people with the answers they deserve,” the statement, signed by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, demanded.
In conclusion, HURIWA implored the government to uphold the values of democracy, transparency, and accountability in all its actions, as these are the cornerstones upon which our great nation was founded. They emphasized that Nigerians are watching, and their trust in the democratic process must be upheld through open and honest disclosure in all matters related to the governance of our nation
NOVEMBER 1, 2023 @ 20:05 GMT|