The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has debunked a report that its operatives assaulted Justin Gbagir, Chairman Makurdi Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
Gbagir was said to have been assaulted by operatives of the Makurdi zonal office of the commission on Tuesday and was reportedly hospitalised at the Benue State Teaching Hospital (BUSTH), Makurdi, the state capital.
But in a rebuttal issued by Wilson Uwuharen, its Head of Media and Publicity, on Tuesday, the EFCC claimed that the NBA Chairman’s claim is false, noting that such narration is “orchestrated to portray the Commission as draconian and uncivil”.
The statement read: “Contrary to the false narrative being promoted in the social media by Gbagir, he was the aggressor as he led a gang of thugs to breach the security of the Makurdi office in an attempt to forcibly set free a suspect under interrogation by the EFCC.
“The standard procedure for effecting the release of suspects in detention is known to even rookie lawyers. But rather than follow due process, Gbagir opted for force, recruited thugs and stormed the EFCC office.
“In spite of the provocation, operatives of the Commission handled him with restraint, bent backward by allowing him to meet with the Zonal Head. But rather than reciprocate, he still refused to identify himself, against all norms of civility. In the circumstance, the EFCC Zonal Head had no option than to show him out of his office and refuse him further entry into the Commission’s premises.
“Regrettably, the seasoned lawyer resorted to social media blackmail, posing in hospital bed and concocting a fantastic story of an imaginary assault by EFCC operatives.:
The EFCC said the action of Gbagir was “indecorous and unbecoming” of the leader of the bar in Benue State, adding that he demonstrated “embarrassing insensitivity to the delicate security situation of the state”.
The commission stated that the Benue NBA Chairman should be remorseful for his misguided action and not spew untruths in pliable sections of the media.