Mambilla: Release Agunloye or detain all indicted persons, Soyinka tells EFCC

Aliya Moses
4 Min Read

Concerning governance, there is never any moment too early, nor demand too drastic in calling for the overhaul of security agencies where their activities intrude on the fundamental rights of the citizen.

The practice of citizen detention at the whim of either religious blackmail or secular arrogation demands curtailment at source, most especially when exercised in defiance of the law, and the pronouncements of its agencies.

Anything less goes to remind us that anarchy remains a choice for citizen recourse, with unpredictable consequences.

The immediate provocation for these reflections is ongoing predicament of a former Minister of Power, Dr. Olu Agunloye, currently detained by the EFCC, in total contempt of sense and justice, or indeed, basic humane considerations.

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We shall not go into the merit or demerits of the charges raised against him over a 16-year-old project that bears the name Manbilla. – that is the business of the law courts. Our concern at this moment is however only partially on the basis of individual

Fundamental Human Rights. Most fortuitously, the detention of any former public servant under circumstances such as Agunloye also provokes the question: how is public interest – such as the pursuit of justice – served by such an arbitrary exercise of power?

Before the now familiar carping, let me state that this is not the first time I have personally intervened in the high-handed and illegal conduct of the EFCC.

All the way back to its inception, and public enthusiasm over its mission, I have had cause to use every means to promote and facilitate the success of that mission, while at the same time insisting on the organization’s operation under the law and citizen entitlement.

My personal relations with the EFCC include placing the civic organization in which I am involved in an active relationship with that corruption-fighting agency, even to the existence of an MOU of collaboration.

From the time when intoxicated by righteous zeal, the EFCC in its early years attacked the home and offices of a businessman with a bulldozer, destroying and carrying off valuable equipment, I tackled its then director and demanded civilized usage in opposition to brute force.

It was this that impelled me to facilitate bringing to Nigeria President Kagame of Rwanda to Nigeria to lecture on how he tackled a deep-seated corruption culture among public servants.

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That was effected in the context of a conference on that very theme at the dedication of new offices of EFCC.

I have never hidden my commitment to the operations of any corruption-fighting agency, including EFCC’s predecessor, the ICPC.

Those credentials are stated to forestall any time-wasting and distracting interventions – let us now get down to immediate, and nation affective missteps by that same EFCC.

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