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Residents protest EFCC night raids on clubs, arrest of bridegroom

Scores of residents, particularly youths in Ondo State, have protested the sting operation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at some night clubs…

Scores of residents, particularly youths in Ondo State, have protested the sting operation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at some night clubs in Akure, the state capital.

Daily Trust had over the weekend reported that operatives of the EFCC stormed the popular Alba Royale Club and Signatures Club located in the Alagbaka area of Akure, raiding the fun-seekers.

The anti-graft agency also arrested a groom-to-be and his friends who were at one of the clubs for a bachelors’ eve, confiscated mobile phones and seized vehicles belonging to those arrested.

However, in a swift reaction, the EFCC Ibadan Zonal Directorate said it arrested 127 persons who are suspected to be internet fraudsters.

In a statement, Dele Oyewale, the spokesperson for the EFCC, claimed that the suspects were arrested in an early morning sting operation at a “Yahoo Party” held simultaneously at the clubs.

“Credible intelligence showed that the alleged party was initially scheduled for Wednesday, June 5, 2024, but was later moved to Saturday to beat security and intelligence networks of the EFCC,” Mr Oyewale said.

But the invasion of the operatives of the EFCC did not go down well with residents of the state, who have been protesting the action of the anti-graft agency.

Protesting against the EFCC invasion, Mr Olawale Odeyemi said the midnight raids on the clubs, the arrest and assaults of the youths were illegal and unacceptable.

A renowned youth advocate in the state, Oluyemi Fashipe, condemned the action of the operatives of the anti-graft agency, describing the invasion as an abuse of citizen’s rights.

Another protestor, Ewatomilola Emiola explained that the raid by the anti-graft agency was in defiance of its ban on night operation.

She demanded that those arrested and profiled as internet fraudsters in the Akure clubs should be released unconditionally.

Meanwhile, Abiola Makinde, the federal lawmaker representing Ondo East/West Federal Constituency, has condemned the raid on the nightclubs and lounges in the state.

Hon Makinde, who also is the Chairman, the House of Representatives Committee on Human Rights, described the raid as an invasion of privacy of innocent citizens of Nigeria.

In a statement signed by his media aide, Moshood Alli, and made available in Akure, Makinde urged the residents of the state to remain calm while the invasion is investigated and resolved.

He specifically noted that the EFCC as Nigeria’s premier anti-graft agency, has a critical role in combating financial crimes.

“However, it is imperative that in the pursuit of justice, the EFCC adheres strictly to the principles of human rights.

“Reports of raids leading to violations of personal dignity and privacy, such as the incident involving a former Big Brother Naija housemate, highlights the need for the EFCC to conduct operations with respect for the law and human decency.

“Please note that the agency’s mandate to investigate financial crimes does not exempt it from the obligation to respect human rights, which includes ensuring that raids are conducted legally, with proper warrants, and without undue harm to individuals.

“The concerns raised by various incidents underscore the importance of accountability and the adherence to human rights standards to maintain public trust in law enforcement agencies.

“I’ll activate the State Director of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Mr Sunday Oyewole, to look into the matter. Any violations will be addressed between the two federal agencies,” he said.

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