President Bola Ahmed Tinubu should review the Mandates of all the anti-graft agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission (ICPC) among others to refocus them with the aim of making them carry out strictly, the jobs they were set out to do. It is a common knowledge that some highly placed government officials and individuals are using these organs of government to pursue personal vendetta and settle scores with business and political associates.
Most Nigerians are of the opinion, which events later prove them right, that EFCC and ICPC are often times used to run political adversaries out of town instead of using them to stem economic crimes against government and the peoples of Nigeria. The current administration has a chance to cleanse the Aegean stable and restore the confidence of Nigerians in such institutions.
The recent suspension from office of the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa did not come to many as a surprise since the allegations made by the former Governor of Zamfara State Alhaji Matawale hit the public space. The former Governor alleged that Mr Bawa made a demand of $2million on him to staunch investigations against the activities of the ex-governor while in office. Like in civilised climes, Bawa ought to have stepped aside to allow investigations to be carried out instead he was giving feeble defences which could not convince any discerning mind. It would be recalled that the suspended EFCC boss was fingered in some unwholesome dealings involving selling of seized oil-ladden vessels in Port Harcourt while serving as the Zonal Chief of the Commission. Despite such weighty allegations against him, he was still appointed the chairman of EFCC by the former President, Muhammadu Buhari.
President Tinubu is now in a precarious position to prove to Nigerians that his administration means well and not to witch-hunt Mr Bawa. Less than 24hrs of the announcement of the suspension of Mr Bawa, the social media has been awash with a letter purportedly written by EFCC in 2020 and signed by the ousted EFCC boss, Abdulrasheed Bawa, as head of Lagos Operations, to the Chairman Code of Conduct Bureau requesting for the asset declarations of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as filled with the Bureau. Tinubu was being investigated by the Commission ostensibly by powers from above. Many interpretations are flying around already insinuating that the President was now hitting back at Mr Bawa. The process of the investigations and possible outcome would show if the postulations were right or otherwise.
The onus is on the government to institute proper investigations and deal with facts as presented against Mr Bawa and nothing else. The government should use this opportunity to call for memoranda from members of the public who have been bearing the brunt of some of the overzealous operatives of EFCC to come up with complaints and documents to prove their cases. This is the only way operatives working in such organizations should know that they are accountable to the people and that their modus operandi while at work, are of immense interest to everyone. Most are the operatives have riches they cannot substantiate and had been accused of diverting properties and monies seized from suspects to personal use.
Justice First Initiative demands that the government should do the right thing and not cut corners in dealing with the EFCC chair investigation and should extend its searchlight to its zonal offices. Nigeria needs a new beginning and Tinubu has a chance to cleanse his name and his time has started running. Mr Bawa’s predecessors in office, Ibrahim Lamorde and Ibrahim Magu, respectively, were said to have been under investigation by the National Assembly and Government, then, but, till date, nothing was heard of their outcomes. We hope this would not go the way of the others.