Within two weeks now still counting , agents of the economic and financial crime commission, EFCC, had invaded the city of Owerri like Russia invaded Ukraine. The Bawa led anti-graft agency of the federal republic of Nigeria had the notoriety of indiscriminate blocking of Owerri roads, storming residential areas and students hostels arresting without caution anybody seen looking healthy. What a country, where possession of communication gadgets like laptops, iPhone, iPads, or driving flashing cars or wearing designers cloth becomes evident of ones involvement in crime. I reject and say no to criminalization of imo youths and unpatriotic profiling of imo youths as fraudsters.

The unwholesome activities of the EFCC had crippled the socio-economic life of Imo state. It’s more painful when such coordinated attack is coming months after #EndSARS and UnknownGunmen ravaged the socioeconomic life wire of Owerri, the eastern heartland.

The EFCC had ignored the rule of engagement to clap-down on Imo youths and students in guess of arresting Yahoo Boys.

It unfortunate that the supposed anti-graft agency will be blocking the major streets and track roads in Owerri arresting, detaining and forcefully extorting Imo Youths and Nigeria Students schooling in Owerri pretending to be going after Yahoo Boys.

The rule of engagement as enshrined in the EFCC act are not applied. Imo Youths and Students are intimidated, embarrassed, harassed, arrested, detained and extorted millions of naira, forcing them to sign-off their cars, phones, and other valuables to regain freedom. It’s more painful when there are no petition written against them or court warrant to effect arrest due to fraudulent activities or the other.

That a young man dresses well, drives car, wears jewelries or had tattoos over his body is not enough to criminalize and profile them as fraudsters or internet scammers.

The ugly resort to blockage of Owerri roads by the staff of the economic and financial crime commission, EFCC, claiming to be looking for “Yahoo Boys” is so embarrassing to the image of the anti-crime agency and create unease as it poses security hiccups.

It’s important to note that, if EFCC had a petition or case against anybody or individual, they should invite the person to their offices or apply necessary administrative measures to effect arrest of the said individual than the resort to embarrassing road blocks of Owerri city and profiling of all Youths as fraudsters. It’s more shocking that in the last two weeks, both Abuja, Port Harcourt and Enugu division of EFCC invaded Owerri like we are in war zone. Enough of the madness!

It’s more worrisome when 90% of those arrested are alleged to be extorted hundreds of thousands of naira, some millions of naira under harassment and intimidation and allowed to go without been taken to the agency’s corporate head offices. At some cases , the youths or students will be forced to do away with their cars in exchange of freedom.

As a responsible citizen of imo state and stakeholder in the imo project of progressive development, I had led a one man protest to the Government of Imo State urging them to call the attention of the leadership of the anti-graft agency to the ugly trend which if unchecked will lead to social disorder and youth unrest. It’s important to note, that the combined activities of the EFCC, and unknown Gunmen coupled with hard economic situation had scared away imo youths who had all traveled to other cities in Nigeria or neighboring African countries leaving Owerri as a ghost town.

Enough of EFCC profiling of Imo youths as criminals and fraudsters. I am an imo youth, I am not a criminal, I am not a fraudster. EFCC or any security agency can investigate me.

IfeanyiCy Njoku is the Executive Director; Center for Youth Development and Peace Initiative/ MD: IfeanyiCy Media & Event Services

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s