Southern Youths Tell EFCC To Leave NATFORCE Boss Alone | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Southern Youths Tell EFCC To Leave NATFORCE Boss Alone

Posted: Oct 23, 2015 at 9:57 am   /   by   /   comments (0)
By Emmanuel Nzomiwu
A group, Southern Youths Peace Initiative (SYPI), has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to leave the Director General of National Taskforce to Combat Illegal Importation and Smuggling of Small Arms, Ammunition and Light Weapons (NATFORCE), Dr. Emmanuel Osita Okereke, alone.
The call was contained in a statement by SYPI National President, Emeka Ikejiofor and Executive Secretary, Chielo Emmanuel, on Thursday.
In the statement made available to journalists in Enugu, the group noted that the efforts and successes recorded by gallant men of NATFORCE since its inauguration in assisting the law enforcement agencies in combating crime in the country cannot be over-emphasized.
SYPI recalled that on the 15th of October 2010, NATFORCE under the supervision of Okereke, intercepted a lorry load of 126,000 ammunition at Onitsha Anambra State, and wondered if it was why EFCC carted away official documents and laptops from the office of the DG.
The statement reads further: “NATFORCE on 11th of January 2011 intercepted a lorry road of arms and ammunition at Nsukka and handed it over to Enugu State Police Command of the Nigerian Police. Then we ask; is that the reason for arresting and handcuffing him even when there is no warrant of arrest?
“The gallant men of the NATFORCE on May 2012 intercepted a lorry load of arms and ammunition in Onitsha Anambra State. Is this why he was kept incommunicado for days?
“The NATFORCE under Chief Dr Osita Okereke, on the 25th June 2014 along Nsukka/Benue/Kogi Highway at Amala Junction intercepted a bus with 21 persons on board suspected to be insurgents; they were also carrying goods suspected to be military uniforms. Is this why he was detained in EFCC custody for four days?
“We are aware that the reward of good work is more work. Why then the intimidation, molestation, envy and witch-hunting in spite of the order of a court of competent jurisdiction for stay of action on the matter?”
SYPI noted that as a youth based nongovernmental organization, it has monitored the progress report of NATFORCE from its inception and has appreciated their efforts in assisting the law enforcement agencies in controlling crime in Nigeria, which is very commendable.
It maintained that the intensified efforts by EFCC, top echelon of the Nigerian Customs Service and some individuals to kick NATFORCE out of the way is unnecessary and negates the laudable objectives of Mr. President in striving to take Nigeria to the next level.
The group called on the Customs to cease to see NATFORCE as a competitor, but rather as a partner in progress, even as it pointed out that the incessant onslaught against Okereke and his agency by a highly compromised EFCC and Customs was motivated by envy and selfish considerations against the interest of the Nigerian masses.
SYPI argued that away from helping to combat crime, the NATFORCE has the potentials of employing over three million Nigerian youth, both graduates and non graduates annually and this should be supported and encouraged by all well meaning Nigerians.
It however called on the National Assembly to enact a law that will back up the NATFORCE for more effective and efficient operations, adding that the agency is one of the tools that will help the President to actualize his anti-corruption campaign.