The group of protesters led by Charles Oputa, popularly known as Charly Boy, on Tuesday ended its two-day sit-out in front of the head office of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, with a demand that the agency prosecutes former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, and other corrupt public officials in Nigeria.
The group began its latest protest on Monday at the entrance of the EFCC head office in Abuja to demand the repatriation of Mrs. Alison-Maduekwe from the United Kingdoms to Nigeria.
EFCC officials had received the protesters on Monday and assured them that the agency would follow the rule of law in treating the case against the former minister.
In a statement issued by the Secretary to the Commission, Emmanuel Aremo, the anti-graft agency said “it remained committed to the rule of law, as this was paramount in the fight against corruption.”
Shortly after reciting the national anthem, the protesters commenced their peaceful rally at about 9:20 a.m. chanting:
“What we are demanding, Bring BackDiezani! No going back ooo. No going Back!!
“If you see Diezani ooo
“Tell am say make she come for her trial ooo!”
Mrs. Alison-Madueke is currently standing trial in Nigeria and the UK for alleged misappropriation of the nation’s funds while she held sway as minister during Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
Co-convener of the campaign, Deji Adeyanju, said the EFCC and other anti-graft agencies in Nigeria should not be partisan in prosecuting public officials that steals public funds.
“We want all looters to be prosecuted whether they are PDP or APC. We want everyone who steals Nigerian money to be prosecuted and when found guilty, they should be jailed,” he said.
“That is what our group is demanding and these demands are very simple and very clear. It is not out of place, these demands are not out of place.
“We genuinely believe that the greatest way for us as a nation, as a people to progress is when people like Diezani Madueke who did what was wrong, who took taxpayers money to build houses in America, in London, in Dubai, they were giving money, they were buying yacht, we believe that those who did that must be held accountable.
“The Minister of Information Lai Mohammed, was asked whether Diezani Alison will be brought back and we saw his body language. He was weak, he was indirectly saying that the government is powerless.
“So, what it means is that this woman who stole so much money can just run away to a foreign country and for two years our government cannot do anything about it. We are powerless, we cannot even make a repatriation order to the United Kingdom,” Mr. Adeyenju said.
He insisted that government should be hard on those who have stolen public funds.
“And this is what our group expects and we expect nothing less,” he said.
Adebayo Raphael, secretary of the group, said the war against corruption must be fought “tenaciously, vigorously and un-selectively.
“It does not matter how we start; what matters is that the war is being fought,”Mr. Raphael said.
“It does not matter whether it is Diezani or someone else; what matters is that we are asking relevant national questions.
“Just yesterday after we left here, the EFCC secured a major case of Diezani in court. N7.6 billion permanently forfeited and that is to tell you that not only the EFCC but also what we are doing is of great importance to this nation.
“In Nigeria, there’s no gain saying that corruption has crippled our nation. Our sufferings are ever growing and our conditions further exacerbating because for too long, we have been silent and we have enabled looters like Diezani and others to make away with our national wealth,” he added.