By Ali Alkali
Citizen without Borders, a civil Society organsiation, has called for the investigation of an alleged illegal NGO operating under the name of CATBAN being promoted by one Ibrahim Garba Wala in order to bring sanity and effectiveness to the activities of Civil Society Organisations in the country
The group made the call in a statement jointly signed by its Chairman Richard Augustine and Secretary Comrade Olusegun Abayomi.
The statement said that “it has come to our notice that an Abuja based “activist” Ibrahim Garba Wala uses an illegal Non Governmental Organisation, NGO, Citizens Action To Take Back Nigeria, CATBAN, to harass and intimidate MDAs and often prominent individuals occupying public offices with a view to extort financial gains as against the noble objectives that guide the activities of Civil Society worldwide.
“Reports have it that CATBAN is not registered as an NGO, contrary to provision of Nigerian law that requires NGOs to register with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) as Incorporated Trustees before it can undertake operation.
According to Citizen Without Borders, CATBAN, without CAC registration, is allegedly sending out personal account numbers to solicit for funds from the Publics under the guise of ‘using the funds to sponsor a protest”.
It said that “the fight against corruption as being championed by President Muhammadu Buhari is a noble cause that should be supported by all. However, some dubious elements in the society are trying to ‘make blackmail as tool of business in the fighting corruption’.
“CATBAN has also in the last one year of its existence been holding press conferences and organizing events geared towards making frivolous allegations”
It will be recalled that CATBAN first came to prominence when it called a “World Press Conference” and told the world how the immediate past Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir Lawal used his personal company to defraud a Presidential committee on the North East of millions of Naira. The group had threatened to “occupy” the SGF office until he resigns.
By then, Mr. Lawal was accused of awarding a N240 million contract to a company he owns; Rholavision, to clear grasses at Komadugu River in Yobe State in clear violation of the Nigerian constitution.
Shockingly however, less than 72 hours CATBAN called another “World Press Conference” on the day it promised to occupy the SGF office and instead of protest, and condemned the Senate Ad-hoc committee findings on Mr. Lawal.
In the press conference that was held at Sheraton Hotel Abuja, Mr. Wala said CATBAN had carried out a “ thorough investigation “ into the issue and has found out that the Senate were unduly persecuting the then SGF.
The said Ibrahim Garba Wala accused the Senate of waging a campaign of calumny against the Babachir Lawal and that the damning report against him was “politically motivated and calculated to tarnish his image and reputation.”
Citizen Without Borders said, “Today the Senate is vindicated, yet Mr Wala has not stopped his dubious act of extorting money and intimidating MDAs.
“We, therefore, urge the relevant security agencies to investigate, arrest and prosecute Mr Wala immediately. We are of the view that the unholy activities of CATBAN, if not urgently checked, will have a negative reflection on the activities of other worthy NGOs in the country; and that would be contrary to President Buhari’s fight against corruption in our dear country.