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The unacceptable lamentations of EFCC boss, Olukoyede

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It is rather regrettable, incomprehensible, intolerable and indeed mischievous that those who are entrusted with the instrumentality of power and authority as well as the necessary  enablement to work for the welfare of a system will find pleasure in declaring their ineffectiveness which is a manifestation of their incompetence.

Functional societies should not waste much time in advocating drastic measures against such self-confessed ineptitude or the overhauling of such delinquent organizations by way of leadership change.

This is why we find the recent lamentations of the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ola Olukoyede rather curious and unfortunate in which he expressed shock over the quantum of corruption which has infested the Nigerian governance system.

The EFCC Chairman was right at confirming the fact that the Nigeria’s state actors are corruption-ridden but he was fixated in forgetting the fact that it was for the reason of helping to stop the hemorrhage that he was hired.

So taking to the pulpit in lamentation rather than rolling up his sleeves in proffering solutions to the menace smacks of high level absurdity.

While enjoying the audience of a team from the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, led by its Chairman, Mohammed Shehu, the EFCC Chairman absolutely lost balance in thoughts and actions, indications of a subdued army, as he declared that “When I look at some case files and see the humongous amount of money stolen, I wonder how we are still surviving. If you see some case files, you will weep. The way they move unspent budget allocation to private accounts in commercial banks before midnight at the end of a budget circle, you will wonder what kind of spirit drives us as Nigerians.”

There is indeed no gain in saying that the EFCC as well as other statutorily established anti graft agencies which include the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) have suffered monumental failure in justifying their existence.

But we are worried that the Olukoyede-led management of the EFCC is bent on following the repugnant, self-serving old order which he inherited at the EFCC as opposed to attempting some ingenious ways of doing things differently in an honest desire to achieving refreshingly new and hope inspiring results.

The unfortunate antecedent of the EFCC which has been its consistent failures to secure good dose of high profile convictions of corrupt government officials over time has rather constituted an apparently irrevocable endorsement of a Nigeria that is a crime infested society.

However, for us, the least that we should be expecting from a tested anti-graft fighter like Olukoyede who has accepted to serve as chairman of a moribund and stereotype institution such as the EFCC whose stock in trade is often the legitimization and glamorization of crimes as oppose to pushing it back through effective and efficient enforcement of relevant laws and conventions is the demonstration of an exceptionally high capacity to ignore distractions and demonstrate commitment to doing the right things by way of unabated and frontal prosecution of the hitherto untouchable but corrupt government officials if only to set a standard for the country.

Therefore, telling us what we already knew is only rubbing salt on an injury.

Olukoyede’s EFCC should rather be assuring the people of its commitment to feast on the so called sacred cows which was the major reason for the establishment of the anti graft agency. Nigerians will want to see an EFCC with zero tolerance for corrupt individuals and institutions no matter how highly placed considering that corruption remains a leading hindrance to Nigeria’s development

The EFCC was established by an Act of the National Assembly on 12th December, 2002 by the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo. Following the appointment and confirmation by the Senate, of the pioneer Executive Chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu (currently the National Security Adviser to President Bola Tinubu) and other administrative officers, the operational activities of the Commission commenced on April 13, 2003.

We stand to be corrected when we insist that the establishment of the Commission was partly in response to pressure from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Money Laundering, also known by its French name, Grouped’actionfinancière (GAFI).

GAFI is an intergovernmental organisation founded in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 (Group of Seven), an inter-governmental political forum consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America to develop policies to combat money laundering.

GAFI had ranked Nigeria as one of the 23 countries that were non-cooperative in the combined efforts to fight money laundering globally. Due to identified inadequacies in the 2002 Establishment Act, the National Assembly repealed the EFCC Act and re-enacted the 2004 Establishment Act which was signed into law on 4th June 2004 by President Obasanjo.

Unfortunately for the citizens, the intents and purposes of the initiators of the EFCC project which was to block financial leakages through corruption and thus maximize the use of the nation’s scarce resources in catering for the welfare of the majority still remain elusive on the account of the inability to make scapegoats of people found to have stolen from the country’s common wealth.

Fronting such figures as the 3,785 convictions secured by the EFCC in 2022 and another 3,175 recorded between May 29, 2023 and May 29, 2024 which led to the recovery of N156.28 billion as evidence of successes is never impressive for the fact that those convictions steam largely from low hanging fruits in the manner of the activities of internet fraudsters popularly known as Yahoo Boys which are targeted at individuals as opposed to the bigger monster in the room which is represented by state actors who have literally dug channels into the government treasury through which they loot the nation’s resources thus denying the system of the needed funds to actualize the contents of its social contract with the people.

Rather than weep over the magnitude of economic and financial crimes across Nigeria, we insist that the  Ola Olukoyede-led EFCC strives towards doing all that is legally possible including the use of modern technology in dealing decisively with the looters, now that it is convinced that state treasury is being looted by the very same people who swore to an oath to protect it for the common good of the citizens.

There shouldn’t be any sacred cow in the current war against corruption for the battle to be won.

 

 

For a better society

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