Repositioning EFCC: Tasks before the agency’s leadership
By Ismail Abdulaziz
Successful implementation of a national anti-corruption policy and the strategy for the fight against corruption via concerted actions of ministries, departments and agencies, remains an integral part of the United Nations Anti-Corruption Strategies.
This, according to analysts, is to be supported by coordination of independent bodies such as prosecution services, auditing and regulatory authorities for a virile anti-graft standpoint of the nation.
They note that for effective anti-graft war, implementation of the policy will also require cooperation from the judicial and legislative branches of government, regional and local governments.
According to them, coordinating the implementation of a national anti-corruption strategy is, however, a major challenge.
They observe that one particular challenge is that some individuals or agencies charged with implementation may be benefiting from the corrupt system and may, therefore, look for ways to undermine the implementation.
In the light of this, concerned citizens urge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman AbdulRasheed Bawa to ensure that the public officer charged with the responsibility of overseeing the operations of the anti-graft agency is firm and pragmatic.
Observers note that Bawa is not oblivious of his responsibilities when he restated the commission’s commitment to fighting corruption within the ambit of the law.
In an occasion in Kano, Bawa said that what distinguished the commission at inception was strict adherence to the rule of law.
“There were no new laws that other law enforcement agencies were not empowered to enforce; the only thing that made EFCC unique is adherence to the rule of law.
“We allow the law to take its course. Once someone crosses the line, we will do our job with civility and charge them to court to answer for their crime,’’ he said.
The new helmsman also enjoined staff to adhere to the rules and regulation guiding their official duties.
Analysts note that Bawa’s resolve to be ready for the tasks ahead in tackling corruption in the country will further boost the image of the commission.
An analyst, Victor Dike, observe that the menace of corruption will require all the necessary “medicines’’ to effectively control.
In his words, “no single and simple remedies will do the control; and the problem cannot be solved overnight, because corruption has been ingrained into the fabric of the society’’.
Concerned Nigerians corroborate this opinion, noting that that corruption leads to slow movement of files in offices, police extortion and slow traffics on the highways, port congestion, queues at passport offices, gas stations, ghost workers syndrome and election irregularities, among others.
According to them, what is Bawa bringing to the table to change the narrative and bring new impetus to the fight against the corruption monster in Nigeria must be potent and credible.
They also recall that in 2018, when President Muhammadu Buhari was given the task of championing the corruption war in Africa, he recognized that tackling corrupt acts and greed required a reorientation of the public attitudes and perceptions in that regard.
They recommend that the fight requires retraining and education as a means to instil transparent values.
In Buhari’s view, war against corruption must be critical because a corrupt system rewards those who do not play by the rules, creates patronage where resources are shared out by the elite, while the majority are trapped in poverty.
Bawa, therefore, needs to revalidate this view, work in that direction to bring about the required reorientation among EFCC staff and Nigerians to ensure a credible approach to fighting the scourge.
Analysts insist that he has to hold tight the advocacy that a new era has come where the gains eroded by corruption would be brought back for the development and progress of the country.
Dike observe that the security challenges occasioned by corruption must be checked in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies, ensuring the rules of engagements to make various sectors sensitive to the fight against corruption.
Concerned citizens advise that ministries, departments and agencies of government must be directed to devise means of ridding the country of corruption in the areas of money laundering and terrorists financing.
They laud achievements of Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade which they say include the recovery of looted funds, blocking treasury leakages through the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and prosecution of some notable Nigerians.
According to them, Bawa’s leadership of the EFCC need to be focused to justify the goodwill enjoyed by the commission at the Presidency, Ministry of Justice, Nigerians and development partners