Trouble With Anti Corruption Agency in Nigeria – By Abba Dukawa

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President Buhari and former EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu
President Buhari and former EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu
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By Abba Dukawa (Kano)

The corrupt man is everywhere, the man on the street, the man next door, the man in the church or mosque, the man in the market or the departmental store, the policeman on beat patrol and the soldier at the checkpoint (Okadigbo, 1987)

The present administration came to power through the change mantra of President Buhari with his top three cardinal promises in economic development, fighting insecurity and corruption. Still, the country is in deep languishing in extreme poverty as a result of the corruption and the fighting remain a mare political statements so to speak.

With the slow pace of fighting corruption since the administration came to power, Nigerians are alienated, angry and fed up with the way the fighting is being run by the administration, as there is no much to convince the citizens. Regrettably, it is under the watch of the present administration, the administration that came to power through change mantra the country corruption perception index published by Transparency International does not show any improvements at all.

With the current ranking, Nigeria is now the second most corrupt country in West Africa with Guinea-Bissau the only country more corrupt than Nigeria in the sub-region. The country scored 26 out of 100 points, a drop from the 27 points that it has maintained since 2017. In the 2018 index, Nigeria rose by four places on the index from 148 to 144 and also dropped two places in 2019 ranking 146 out of the 180 countries.

Since 2015 Transparency International reports indicated the administration led war against corruption seem not effective in the light of the poor performance of the EFCC in several high-profile corruption cases like defence gate and most publicise Diezani, former petroleum minister.

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But the Trouble with the anti-corruption agency in Nigeria is clearly in lack of political will from leaders of the agencies assigned with responsibilities in fighting corruption in the country as Corruption cases have been on the increase. Anti-corruption agencies have proven beyond any reasonable doubt that they are not able to translate their anti-corruption “crusade” into action.

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Establishment act (2004) empowered the commission to prevent, investigate, prosecute and penalise economic and financial crimes and is charged with the responsibility of enforcing the provisions of other laws and regulations relating to economic and financial crimes.

Almost 17 years since the existence of the agency, strangely, all former chairman of the commission were all alleged to have abused their office with some doses of corrupt practices.
Mostly the war lost between in the battle for supremacy between the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

What coincidence both of them had one thing common the controversies trailed either their appointments or performances in office? The Commission pioneer chairman was alleged to have been involved in the abuse of human rights of suspects among other things and was not only removed from office but demoted from the rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police to Commissioner of Police.

Farida Waziri was sacked by President Jonathan claiming that she was removed from office in the national interest. it was also alleged that she had compromised the investigation into financial misappropriation against a former Governor of Bayelsa and Edo State.

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Ibrahim Lamorde replaced Waziri, also became embroiled in controversy in 2015 after the Nigerian Senate alleged that $5bn had gone missing at the EFCC. Ibrahim Magu replaced Lamorde upper chamber refused to confirm him twice as boos of the agency due to “security reports. He too booted out with clouded allegations against him.

Herculean tasks before the new chairman of the commission, he knows vividly know that both ex-chairmen of the commission have one thing in common are being disgraced from the office in the issue of lack of transparency in discharging fight against corruption. Regaining the confidence of Nigerians in turning around the commission to achieve its objective should be his top priority Nigerians and the world watching him

Now definitely Nigerians are expected much from Mr Bawa to hit the ground running because corruption cases have been on the increase despite anti-corruption crusades and there is alleged those responsible for eradicating corruption themselves have become corruption literally.

Mr chairman, let you be an agent of change in fighting the common enemy that has frustrated the realization of the country economic development despite the enormous natural and human resources in Nigeria.

For him to achieve the needed result he should strengthen a collective effort in citizens participation towards the fighting of corruption and this will increase the chances of engaging non-state actors especially the media and civil society organizations, in providing information to the public in line with the Freedom of Information Act 2011.

Let the chairman use knowledge to implement reforms and ensure a fair and balanced fight against corruption in Nigeria as an official who passed through the ranks of the commission. Need to ensure synergy between the EFCC and its sister anti-graft ICPC, CCB, CCT and other law enforcement agencies; this will increase better results in the fight against corruption.

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The slow pace of court cases and financial settlements made by wealthy individuals and entities outside of the courtroom has also impeded successful prosecutions. The convictions of two former governors, Jolly Nyame and Joshua Dariye, have failed to convince the public of any improvement. The commission should endeavour to be thorough before court filing and processes.

From the records, it shows that he has a passion for the war, so he should ensure to have personnel with similar passion to work with others who intend to work and scheme a positive image for the war. While those that are sheep in the wolf skin within the commission are to be sent away.

For the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to secure convince judgment he should seek the National Assembly and the Nation Judiciary toward the establishment of a special anti-corruption tribunal to facilitate speedy determination of hundreds of corruption cases before the Nation’s normal courts.

Abba Dukawa
Abba Dukawa

Dukawa wrote in from Kano and can be reached at atabbahydukawa@gmail.com

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