By Simon Ebegbulem
BENINâ€”THE African Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, a non- governmental organization, has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to respect the fundamental human rights of the former governor of Delta state, Chief James Ibori.
ANEEJ in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Reverend David Ugolor, reminded the anti-graft agency that theÂ Federal HighÂ Court in AsabaÂ had restrained the EFCC from arrestingÂ ChiefÂ Ibori, adding that rather than seek unlawful means to arrest the former governor, the EFCC shouldÂ reach outÂ toÂ the courtÂ toÂ contestÂ the injunction and stop planning to extradite him to the United Kingdom through illegal means.
The group stressed that the rule of law shouldÂ guideÂ the operationsÂ ofÂ the EFCC, adding that the commission shouldÂ not allow any political manipulationÂ toÂ undermineÂ itsÂ work.
â€œWe urgeÂ theÂ leadershipÂ of EFCC to be steadfastÂ in its commitmentÂ toÂ respectÂ theÂ fundamental human rights of Nigerians and also followÂ dueÂ process in carrying out arrestÂ on those who have caseÂ to answer and ChiefÂ James Ibori shouldÂ not beÂ an exception.
â€œAsÂ 2011 general electionÂ isÂ approaching, EFCC must beÂ careful andÂ learn from pastÂ mistakesÂ thatÂ largelyÂ contributedÂ toÂ some of its failures.
â€œI thinkÂ NigeriansÂ have not forgottenÂ theÂ story of howÂ EFCC wasÂ usedÂ toÂ intimidateÂ politicalÂ enemies whichÂ Â wasÂ not helpful andÂ weÂ must, therefore,Â be carefulÂ not to unnecessarilyÂ heat up theÂ system.”
And giveÂ room forÂ crisisÂ that will negativelyÂ affectÂ the current fragileÂ peaceÂ andÂ political stability,â€ it stated.
ANEEJ, however, expressed optimism that the EFCC wouldÂ goÂ a long wayÂ toÂ helpÂ consolidateÂ theÂ currentÂ fragileÂ politicalÂ peaceÂ Â and also provideÂ support to theÂ Acting President Jonathan GoodluckÂ if it followsÂ strictlyÂ theÂ ruleÂ of law and also ensure that it doesnâ€™t resortÂ to mediaÂ grandstandingÂ as aÂ vehicle for arrestingÂ politically exposed Individuals.