Outrage Greet Alleged Raid In Abia By EFCC Officials
Outrage has greeted the unorthodox raid and harassment of innocent citizens by the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Umuahia,Abia state capital with residents calling on relevant authorities to checkmate the excesses of the Commission.
The EFCC charged with the mandate of investigating financial crimes such as advanced fee fraud (419) and money laundering, was established in 2003 and backed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act of 2004, partially responding to pressure from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)on Money laundering.
But contrary to their mandate, the Commission has come under heavy criticism by residents regarding their unprofessional conduct of breaking into people’s homes,in a fashion only akin to armed robbery attack on their preys usually without a search warrant and decency expected of law enforcement officers.
Speaking in an interview with Newsmen,on the heels of the latest raid at Ehimiri Housing Estate Umuahia, by Operatives of the EFCC, some residents including, Mr. Godwin Ike,Chidi Nzeako and Okenwa Adiele slammed the Commission for carrying out raids on innocent citizens perceived to be internet fraudsters.
“This is how they arrest innocent citizens and tag them criminals,Government should do something about this. The constant harassment of citizens and unprofessional conduct of the EFCC is seriously getting out of hand. This was exactly what brought about the End Sars protest, now it is the EFCC”, they lamented.
Recall that operatives of the EFCC early Thursday morning raided the residence of an Umuahia based Journalist,Norah Okafor,at Ehimiri Housing Estate.
National Ambassador investigations reveal that the tenants of the one storey building were manhandled by EFCC operatives in the Robbery-like invasion which lasted for over an hour leaving the occupants traumatized.
Recounting her experience, Norah Okafor who works with Modern Communcations Limited (MCL TV), said the masked EFCC operatives dressed in black attires and armed to the teeth with guns,axes and other paraphernalia, stormed her residence exactly at 1:36am with two Hilux vans.
According to her, they scaled the fence, used pliers to cut the electric fence wires and destroyed the padlock used to lock the gate thus gaining access to her compound. She said the operatives numbering about 25 made their first entry into her apartment, manhandled her two brothers as well as seized items including mobile phones, car keys, laptop, demanding passwords.
“Still in shock, I heard someone destroying everything in the kitchen, my room, that of my brothers and all the drawers.
“I was still asking myself what’s happening? All my neighbours were already going through the same pain as I. They have already given my brothers a beating of their lives, carried my neighbour downstairs and tried unlocking all the cars in the compound.
“And after searching all the phones and laptops, three of their men walked in, lo and behold, it was EFCC. What? I screamed. Shut up, was the next thing i heard. They asked me what I do and I said “Journalist”, asked my neighbour he said “lawyer”, the other “doctor”. They looked at me, handed over the phones and said” we just wasted our time”.
“These people spent over one hour molesting and destroying things in this compound. I feel so pained and embarrassed right now.
Is this how EFCC operate? How did we get here? Who is the informant? I am just confused right now”,She said.
In a similar development, another young man who simply identified as Bobby narrated how the operatives broke into his residence at Edeoga Estate Umuahia around 1am, arrested and detained him and his brother alongside other neighbours.
He alleged that his family had secured their release paying about three hundred thousand naira to the operatives, even after they didn’t find anything to implicate them.
All efforts by National Ambassador to get the reactions from the Commission,as at the time of filing this report, proved abortive.