The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is definitely not new to drama, neither does dirty drama scare the commission.
In fact, the commission, since its establishment, has proved to Nigerians that it is drama personified. All its past chairmen were eventually embroiled in one controversy or the other that turned out to be dirty drama, which is what is described as ‘the Nigerian factor.’
This factor does not wish upright people well. Instead, it would ensure that they are stained at any cost or, in the alternative, let banana peel s ensure their final fall. Indeed, no one is righteous, meaning, no one is totally clean, but the Nigerian factor does not want to hear that a leader is either upright or clean in character. Examples abound where leaders have been wrongly stained unjustifiably and were left at the end to lick their wounds.
Whenever there is political transition in the country, a lot of dramas ensue whereby untoward, negative activities are recorded. Transistion period in Nigeria has become time for looting and embezlement of remaining government funds. Also, it is the time when anti-graft operatives collaborate with sister agencies to lay siege on politicians with insatiable appetite for government money. Such persons were part of the reason for the establishment of the EFCC by the President Olusegun Obasanjo administration.
The appointment of the commission’s first chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, who was a police legal officer at Force Headquarters, Abuja, before his appointment, set the tone. Since 2003, five officers have chaired the commission, among whom were Mrs. Farida Waziri (AIG retd), Ibrahim Lamorde (AIG retd.), Ibrahim Magu and, presently, Abdurasheed Bawa who is the first product of the commission’s training school to head the commission. Each of them had been embroiled in one controversy or the other.
The recent allegation of a $2 million bribe against Bawa by the outgoing governor of Zamfara State, Bello Muhammed Matawalle, on the Hausa service of the British Broadcasting Corporation may not have come to him as a surprise because the allegation surfaced at a time when the EFCC’s dragnet was supposed to be around most outgoing governors who may have corruptly enriched themselves by emblezzling their states’ fund. Analysts believe that such allegations are spurred by the “bring-him-down” mindset. Although it is an allegation that raises eyebrows, nonetheless, the onus is on the EFCC chairman to extricate himself from the allegation while the ex-governor is to prove the authenticity of his allegation. It is a known fact that it takes months for EFCC investigators to assemble their evidence against a suspect. Therefore, for Matawalle to make such a weighty allegation is purposely aimed at scuttling the investigation and redirecting public attention to Bawa, thereby raising suspicion about the anti-graft agency’s boss. Even at that, this allegation is very serious in the eyes of Nigerians, especially as the claim is coming from a former governor, except that this governor in question is a departing governor who has many questions to answer from Bawa and his men. So, the question is, could it be because he is about to enter the net of the commission, that is why he was spilling these allegations?
Most politicians are very crafty and know how to use the banana peels tactics very effectively. Some politicians plot the killing of their opponents. After the deed has been done, they detach themselves from the plot. If Matawalle had a good case against Bawa, one would have expected him to either report the case to Mr. President or tender the evidence in court, but Matawalle preferred a foreign media station to spill the beans when there are several media houses in Nigeria.
Interestingly, Bawa has not kept mute over the allegation but has openly challenged Matawalle to provide evidence of where the demand was made, when it was made, how it was made and to mention those who were there when it was made.
On May 29, 2023, at least 27 governors left office, along with ministers and top government officials, and the EFCC would have been on their heels years before their exit. This could be seen as a planned distraction for the commission or should we see it as the game of a drowning man who does not want to go down alone?
So one allegation from former the Zamfara governor whose cup is already full of corrupt allegations should not deter the commission from carrying out its lawful constitutional obligations. The EFCC, in collaboration with other security agencies, is the major broom with which the country should sweeps away corruption and its practices out of the country.
In as much as we strongly believe in the operations of the EFCC, we should not allow the Matawalle allegation to rubbish the noble efforts of the commission over the years. The government and the people of Nigeria need to protect the agency like by fishing out bad eggs from the agency on one hand and protecting the agency from evil-minded politicians and criminals in the society whose aim and objective is to destroy the integrity of both the institution and some of its operatives.
In his inaugural speech, President Bola Tinubu promised to work with all anti-graft agencies in their constitutional mandate to fight corruption.
As the level of corruption in the country is overwhelmingly frustrating, this is a renewed call for inter-agency collaboration to assiduously work with the Tinubu administration to ensure the elimination of corruption from Nigerian system, and we expect the Tinubu administration to build on this foundation by ensuring that these agencies are adequately funded to discharge their regulatory and enforcement responsibilities, in relation to Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions, which are vulnerable to money laundering activities.
(To be continued)
Security: Buhari out, Tinubu in (2)
The aspect of his inaugural speech on May 29, 2023, that concerns the security situation in the country was not only reassuring in the security community but one full of hope for most Nigerians. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was able to create a hopeful ambience in security circles when he promised to combat criminals, reform and restructure the entire security system by making provision for security needs.
One security structure that urgently needs presidential attention with the approval of the National Assembly is the issue of state police. The idea to restructure the police is not new but belated in Nigeria. This idea had blossomed for many years across the world. It is for an effective management of security in a structured political area, countries fall back to the state police system.
Countries with large and smaller populations like Argentina, Brazil, Paskistan, Australia, USA, India, Britain, France, South Africa, Ghana, Russia and many more all practice state police system because decentralizing the security architecture is the best way to manage the police in each country. This system has been found to be the most preferable and the most manageable policing system across the world.
The “Japa” syndrome (exodus to foreign land) was sequel to insecurity, nepotistic tendencies, injustice, inequality and bad governance of the Muhammadu Buhari administration. (To be continued)