The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of being anti-Igbo by a “deliberate ethnic profiling against Igbo notable sons in the last few months.”
The group, during a press conference in Owerri, Imo State on Tuesday, April 5 stated that the “arrest and humiliation of former Anambra State governor, Willie Obiano, socialite and businessman, Pascal Okechukwu, popularly known as Cubana Chief Priest, his associate, Obinna Iyiegbu, known as Obi Cubana, and other prominent sons of Ndigbo,” has shown that the anti-graft agency is on a vendetta against the Igbos.
In a statement signed by HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, at the end of the press conference, the group said “field officers of the anti-graft agency under the leadership of Abdulrasheed Bawa must be probed for allegedly picking up innocent Nigerians in Gestapo style, sometimes in the middle of the night, after invading their residences and hotels.
The statement read in part, “The idea that whenever Igbo youths, may be due to exuberance, are shown on videos to appear to be spraying humongous amount of cash at social or religious functions such as funeral rites or weddings, the next day the principal characters seen in the videos who are Igbos are profiled and arrested at the airport or just somewhere and the next day the newspapers are awash with propaganda demonising the arrested citizens of South East origin,”
“But the same EFCC officials are never seen arresting or profiling Northern youths similarly captured during high profile social or religious functions like the weddings of sons of prominent Northern politicians who obviously are treated like sacred cows.
“The indiscriminate arrests of Igbo notable sons by overzealous and discretion-less EFCC operative is worrisome.
“The earlier the EFCC complies with rules of engagement and desist from ethnic profiling of the Igbo the better.
“In as much as we condemn advanced fee fraud, we condemn any activity of the EFCC that is deemed inimical to constitutional democracy and norms and principles of rule of law and due process.
“The EFCC should adopt a transparent and accountable methodology of operation, irrespective of whether it is Northern or Southern Nigeria, so that they are not perceived as a group of people who have deviated from the time honoured and time tested mandates of anti -corruption crusade devoid of ethnic or religious profiling.”