#Editorial

EFCC Raid in Akure

IT is no longer in dispute that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has brought incredible positive changes to the country, under the leadership of its Executive Chairman, Mr Ola Olukoyede, with its repositioning of the Commission on the paths of professionalism and effectiveness. Recently, the anti-graft Commission has not only been pursuing public office holders, it has also beamed searchlights on the youths, especially the supposed Internet fraudusters, otherwise known as ‘Yahoo Boys’.

OPERATIVES of the EFCC recently wielded their big stick in Akure, the Ondo State capital, with major raids on two night clubs, where no fewer than 127 individuals suspected of Internet fraud, were apprehended.  During the operation, which took place on June 8, 2024, the operatives were said to have seized various items, including cars, laptops, and phones. They allegedly  tear-gassed the suspects, including an intending groom and his friends who were there for bachelors’ eve, beat them up and arrested them. Security operatives were also injured during the operation.

THE  action has been greeted with lots of accusations and counter accusations from various quarters. The unexpected arrest did not go down well with the  suspects  and the club owners. Consequently, they trooped out to protest what they described as ‘illegal arrests and injustice’ by the officers and men of the Commission. The officials of the Ondo State Lounge and Club and Hotel Owners Association (OSLACOA) at a press conference condemned the invasion of their business premises by the EFCC personnel. They alleged that the raid by the anti-graft agency was a ploy to cripple their businesses and ruin night-life in Akure, the state capital, and other parts of the state.

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MEMBERS of the Ondo State House of Assembly also expressed strong disapproval of the raid. Describing the anti-graft agency’s move as unacceptable and emphasizing that EFCC must carry out its duties with respect for the rule of law and the rights of citizens, the House requested the EFCC to tender a public apology to all the suspects and the club owners.

THE lawmakers also called for an immediate investigation into the raid. During a meeting with members of the OSLACOA, Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa sympathised with the night club owners. He said he had demanded credible information on the incident, and therefore implored the innocent people affected by the operation to seek redress while asking that those with cases to answer be given ample opportunities to defend themselves.

AS a newspaper, we believe that the raid by the EFCC was carried out in the public interest, especially as the club houses have constituted a nuisance to the public peace in their respective areas of operation. Blaring sounds mindlessly to shatter neighbours’ sleep and rest at night is a flagrant violation of the rights of the inhabitants of the residential buildings around the club houses. While youths have a right to party, such an activity must be conducted with decorum and in consonance with the rule of law. The club owners are complicit in this case since they fail to  provide sound proof devices to ensure the peace of their neighbours. Provision of soundproof devices is a minimum requirement in all decent climes to which Akure and  all the other parts of the State belong. While the government must rein in the agencies that granted the location of the club houses in residential areas, including Government Reservation Areas, it must also ensure that, henceforth, the laws governing the siting of club houses are strictly enforced.

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The club owners and the protesting youths must understand that he who comes to equity must come with clean hands. When they respect the law of the land and the rights of other people, the EFCC and other security operatives will be their friends.

WHILE we agree that night-life is legitimate business, we insist that it must be done with decorum and in line with the dictates of the law. The club owners have a duty to provide adequate security for their patronisers and the neighbours. It is also our opinion that clubbing should not be a licence for Internet fraud, indecent dressing, pick-pocketing, and other social vices that stand our values and Omoluabi ethos on their heads.

WE align with the position of Mr Governor that a thorough investigation must be conducted to separate the wheat from the chaff to ensure that the innocent are not punished and that the lawbreakers do not escape the long arm of the law. We implore the EFCC to go an inch further by making the outcomes of their investigations public to let the people know the truth. 

As the EFCC carries out its legitimate duty of ridding our nation of social and economic vices, we urge the organisation to operate without prejudice to the rights of the people. 

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EFCC Raid in Akure

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