EFCC, Odinkalu trade words over Bobrisky’s case


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the former Chairman of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, on Friday exchanged hot words over the handling of Bobrisky’s case.

BAR & BENCH WATCH reports that the EFCC had Wednesday night arrested the controversial Nigerian cross-dresser, Idris Okuneye, popularly known as Bobrisky over currency mutilation and abuse of naira notes.

EFCC spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, who made the disclosure on Thursday said Bobrisky was arrested in Lagos.

As soon as Bobrisky was taken to court for trial, the EFCC paraded him on social media.

His (Bobrisky) mugshot released by the EFCC on its website travelled far and wide like harmattan fire with rights activists including Odinkalu criticizing the anti-graft agency’s conduct.

In a tweet sent on his official Twitter account, Prof Odinkalu asserted that it was not appropriate to use the power of arrest and indictment as a tool to oppress those who they don’t like.

He specifically wrote, “The EFCC should be ashamed of themselves. The power of arrest and prosecution is a public trust that should not be weaponized for the persecution of those whom they don’t like.

“It is either EFCC is evidently idle or this is a clear abuse of power,” he added.

Reacting after Bobrisky was arraigned and convicted by a Lagos court on Friday, the EFCC lashed out at Odinkalu for daring to criticize it over what it called the discharge of its clear mandate, threatening to sue him.

In a press statement released by the Commission on the issue, the EFCC described Odinkalu’s remarks as “reckless” and “unbecoming of a former head of a major government agency.”

The statement titled ‘Chidi Odinkalu’s Reckless Commentaries on EFCC’ reads in full:

“The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been drawn to some reckless commentaries made by a former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu  on the arrest of Idris Okuneye(a.k.a Bobrisky) by the Commission, describing it as evidence of idleness or an abuse of power .

“The Commission views such commentaries from Odinkalu as unbecoming of a former head of a major government agency.

“Okuneye was arrested and arraigned by the Commission on the basis of clear cases of abuse of the Naira to which he has pleaded guilty.

“Odinkalu has a right to free speech as a Nigerian but such a right should be exercised with decorum and responsibility. 

“The Commission would not hesitate to take appropriate legal actions against such uncouth commentaries against its lawful mandate by anyone.

“Odinkalu is warned and advised to ventilate his rascally opinions more responsibly in future situations,” Dele Oyewale, Head, Media & Publicity of EFCC signed off.

As expected, Odinkalu promptly went to his X account again, saying “ I said the @OfficialEFCC were shameless, idle and involved in manifest #AbuseOfPower. They promptly prove me right.”

The rights activist in a following terse statement on the issue, sent to BAR & NENCH WATCH titled: What Am I Supposed To Say, said: “Whatever it is, I am flattered to the point of loss of SoH (Sense of Humour).

“I consider this lot there undeserving of any adjectives or multiple syllables from me. So, I will not be retaliating in kind to their doubling down on manifest preoccupation with abuse of power.

“That the EFCC is so devoid of a sense of priorities that they consider themselves useful only as a tool for persecution of people on the margins of society or that they are so idle they consider my opinion deserving of their entire Friday (or both) should bother all responsible citizens.

“It is interesting that the EFCC abandoned the only charges that could remotely have implicated their raison d’être, which supports the idea that this is idle abuse of power.

“It is just so tragically unfortunate that they consider it their statutory duty at the EFCC to be fiddling while the country burns. If that is not idle abuse of power, I don’t know what is,” he signed off.

Bobrisky has been in the news for various controversial reasons including winning the “Best Dressed Female” Award at a movie premiere on March 25, 2024, a development that angered many entertainers.

Amongst others, a 1994-born Nigerian singer, rapper and songwriter,  Habeeb Okikiola popularly known as Portable or Dr Zeh, on the social media, had called for the arrest of the cross-dresser by the police.

That had sparked hot altercation between Bobrisky and Portable with Nigerians debating the legality of cross-dressing in the country.

The police had also waded in saying cross-dressing was not yet an offence in Nigeria.

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