Coalition calls for tenure extension for EFCC boss, Bawa
By: Bola Badmus- Lagos
A coalition of civil society groups, Campaign for Dignity in Governance (CDG), has called for an extension of tenure of the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, saying the anti-graft commission boss has performed creditably well in the position.
National President of CDG, Comrade Rasaq Olokoba, made the call on Monday at a press briefing held in Ikeja, Lagos, and attended by leaders of the group, including Comrade Nelson Ekujumi, Co-convener and President, Centre for Social and Economic Rights (CSER); Comrade Nichson Ufondu, Co-convener and President, Southern Coalition Movement (SCOM) and Comrade Alex Omotehinse, Co-convener Centre for Human and Socio-economic Rights (CHSR).
Olokoba noted that Bawa continuously deserved a place in the fight against corruption in Nigeria, because his integrity, intellectual prowess, dedication, proficiency of his legal team in unravelling thorny cases and ability to not only ensure conviction via logical argument but also be mindful of ensuring justice stood him out as a public service juggernaut, not to be toyed with in the fight against corruption.
The rights activist noted that since his emergence as EFCC boss in 2021, there had been an improvement in the fight against corruption and recovery of stolen asset, disclosing that the number of conviction had hit an unprecedented 2220 from just 1280 which was the case in 2019.
“There was spike in conviction and recovery across all zones of the country. For example, between 2016 and 2019, the number of conviction secured rose from 195 to 1280 and by 2021 the figure had hit an unprecedented 2220, a value amounting to 98.47% of all cases brought before the court of law.
“In the same year, over 150 billion naira was recovered, with recovery in other currencies such as USD 386 million, British pound 1.182 million and 156000 Euro.
“The record for the year 2022 is even more startling for the forces of corruption and encouraging for the anti-corruption forces, as total number of conviction in the year was 3785, a 70% increase over 2220 recorded in 2021. In the year, percentage conviction was 98.93%.
“It is noteworthy that these convictions highlight the competence of the enforcement team in ensuring arrests and prosecution based on concrete evidence rather than capricious reasons and intentions,” Olokoba stated.
Olokoba, while noting that the EFCC which would be 20 years in December had had its ups and downs, however, posited that the successes recorded by the commission cannot be separated from the commitment and sacrifices of individuals who had relentlessly kept with their assigned roles in pursuit of Anti-graft agency’s mandate.
“If we do not have the privilege of knowing all of these individuals, the exemplary players known to us and for whom we can vouch as members of the Civil Society deserve mention. Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, the current Chairman of the Commission, is among such individuals, whom we strongly believe should be our point of contact with an appreciation of truthfulness, commitment to the building of enduring democratic institutions and consistent struggle against corrupt practices in the public space and in the polity,” he said.
According to Olokoba, with Bawa in charge of EFCC, corrupt politicians, public officers across party divides, fraudsters across geopolitical zones as well as men across religions and faiths now know that the fear of the Commission is the beginning of wisdom.
“For the first time, Nigeria has witnessed a five-year period of consistent, unrelenting, unbiased and up scaling battle against corruption that has the support of well-meaning citizens because of the transparency and indisputable result.
“All because an agency has emerged from a controversial past, where people often ask, what will be the outcome? Or do you trust them? To one that in the common man’s parlance has ‘mastered both starting and finishing.’ The long and short of it is that the cases of EFCC in the last two years have been managed by a team who know their onions and who have brought experience to bear on what they do under the watch of a youthful and astute boss in person of Abdulrasheed Bawa. And there are many reasons why it would be counter-productive to want to thinker with such team,” Olokoba said.
READ ALSO FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE