The Nigerian Senate has condemned the arrest of the Managing Director of Innoson Motors, Innocent Chukwuma, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The senators consequently asked the committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes to investigate the circumstances surrounding the arrest of Innoson Motors’ boss and report back within 24 hours.
The Chukwuka Utazi-led committee is to investigate claims that an EFCC operative slapped the wife of Chukwuma during the raid on his house in Enugu.
It also called for the immediate and unconditional release of the businessman.
Mr Chukwuma was reportedly arrested at his Enugu home on Tuesday by operatives of EFCC, over his alleged refusal to repay a bank loan.
Coming under Order 42 of the Senate Standing Rules, Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, told his colleagues that the arrest of the businessman is a national disgrace and an abuse of his fundamental human rights.
He urged senators to prevail on the EFCC to immediately release him and also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the Acting EFCC Chairman Ibrahim Magu to order.
He said the EFCC erred to have to intervene in a civil matter involving a commercial bank and a private citizen.
“What I gathered is that he was arrested by the EFCC over a certain money he is owing the GT Bank. Instead of them to settle it, EFCC got involved and arrested him like a common criminal. He was bundled like a criminal. If we allow the EFCC to get involved in things like this, we will be setting a bad precedence. This is a man who has created over 50,000 jobs in a country where there are no jobs,” Mr Ekweremadu said.
In his contribution, Enyinnaya Abaribe said if the Senate fails to act, members may soon become victims. He specifically cited the ongoing investigation and invitation of the immediate-past Senate President, David Mark by the anti-graft agency.
Mr Abaribe questioned the continuous stay of Magu in office, despite his rejection by the Senate on two occasions. He expressed concern that Magu is still holding sway because certain people have vowed that he must remain in office.
“The wife of Innoson asked why they were arresting the husband and they slapped her. The facts are there. How can a financial transaction between an individual and the bank get the attention of EFCC? The point is, how can state institutions be used for personal purposes? This is supposed to be a personal transaction which is already in court.
“EFCC is getting involved in self help. We are not running a Banana Republic. This is because we have a man in EFCC who was not cleared by the Senate. He is still there. This is because some people who own Nigeria have vowed that he must remain there.
“Maybe they will come after me when I finish speaking. This government must look at how institutions function. Basic rights are basic rights and they must be respected,” Mr Abaribe told the Red chambers.