On the 16th of November, 2020, Mr. Greg Todd, an Australian national petitioned the President as well as the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Drugs and Financial Crimes over alleged infringement on his fundamental human rights.
On the 23rd of July, 2019 EFCC staff seized the passport of Gregory John Todd, the subject, an Australian national with passport No N1819485. The subject’s passport is yet to be returned and has expired and has been the culmination of an extended period of frustration, of extortion attempts, and harassment by those who have tried extensively to get their hands on significant investments planned for the country since 2017.
Gregory Todd arrived in Nigeria December 2017 following up on programmes and projects aimed at employment generation to eliminate poverty under the serge business headquartered in Australia with investment streams and technologies from Australia, Europe, UAE and China. Target start was early 2018. After months of frustration and blocking combined with extortion attempts, the criminals in cohesion were identified and cut off from any dealings with serge businesses. All relevant projects were later scheduled to start from July 2018 in Akwa-Ibom State.
Infringement on the fundamental human rights of the Australian particularly how he has been deprived of the opportunity to reunite with his family in Australia for more than two years which violates the United Nations Charter on human rights of any person irrespective of national, religion or class, emanating from right to free movement, speech and others, too numerous to mention.
Mr. Gregg Todd is one expatriate whose love for Nigeria and Nigerians caused him this problems having patriotically opted to alleviate the poverty of people in Akwa Ibom State unknown to him that moles, sadists and crooks were in his team who connived to put him in his current travails.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) under the Ibrahim Magu administration did not give fair hearing to Greg Todd even during the Covid-19 pandemic when expatriates were given the opportunity to go back to their countries. Throughout the pandemic, Gregg Todd’s life was endangered as a result of the overzealousness of the officers of the EFCC.
The continuous withholding of the travelling documents of Greg Todd became a public discourse which made the Arewa public and security analysts forum to intervene through writing of a formal appeal letter to the acting Chairman of the Commission, Deputy Commissioner of Police Mohammed Umar citing among other things the several petitions that have been directed to the Attorney General to no avail.
Agreed that EFCC is in a way at liberty to prolong investigation but not when it infringes on the fundamental human rights of an expatriate who had flown all the way from his country to empower the youths, invest in our nation’s economy and developmental efforts.
Constitutionally, the two Nigerian anti-graft agencies are expected to create a level playing ground regarding weighing options from both the angle of suspects, complainants and the agency and not monopolizing matters.
The case of Gregg Todd once again reminds us of the maladministration in the EFCC where the suspended acting chairman narrowed investigative power to only people in his caucus which was against the act establishing the anti-graft agency. Ordinarily, the investigation that ought to have been concluded in just six months has stayed for more than two years due to the lukewarm attitude of some officers charged with the responsibility of moving the case file. No matter what, the attitude of some officers in the commission has dented the image of the anti-graft agency.
President Muhammadu Buhari got global acceptability as a result of his fight against insurgency and corruption. With the current situation in the EFCC, the international community would be skeptical about the sustainability of the anti- corruption crusade.
The justice Isa Salami Presidential panel on the investigation of the suspended EFCC acting chairman Ibrahim Magu did its best to unravel some of the allegations against Ibrahim Magu, but there are a lot yet to be ascertained. From highhandedness to overzealousness and delay in investigating lighter cases that ought not to have stayed beyond six months, the EFCC structure which comprises of Police Officers, Lawyers and Detectives is left behind in the area of efficiently charging cases to court which had its root on the lack of promotion of staff that are not Police Officers for more than ten years now. How then do you expect expatriates like Gregg Todd to get justice?
It is our prayers that the President and Commander in Chief, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chairmen of both the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Drugs and Financial Crimes who have been petitioned take appropriate steps to allow the Australian get his travel documents and reunite with his family. We cannot fight corruption at the detriment of people’s interest. As such, President Muhammadu Buhari must restructure the EFCC, prosecute corrupt officials who are responsible for the delay in the investigation of the Australian’s case and the continuous withholding of his travel documents.