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Why next govt. should extend AbdulRasheed Bawa’s tenure as EFCC head, by CSOs

Razaq Bamidele

Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), at a press conference, on Monday, in Lagos, clamoured for extension of tenure of the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) AbdulRasheed Bawa.

Addressing the press on behalf of the various organisations, Comrade Razaq Olokoba hinged their reason on their belief that Bawa has been doing wonderful jobs since his assumption of duty as the head of the agency.

Olokoba who doubles as the National President of Campaign for Dignity in Governance (CDG), said the clamour for his tenure extension was borne out of his creditable and impeccable performance in office noting that, “Bawa continuously deserves a place in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

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According to Olokoba Bawa’s integrity, intellectual prowess, dedication, proficiency of his legal team in unraveling thorny cases and ability to not only ensure conviction via logical argument but also be mindful of ensuring justice even to the culpable accused person stand him out as a public service juggernaut, not to be toyed with in the fight against corruption.”

The chief convener  noted that since Bawa’s emergence as EFCC boss in 2021, there has been an improvement in the fight against corruption and recovery of stolen asset.

“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 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 encouragement for the anti-corruption forces, as total number of conviction in the year was 3785 a 70% increase over the 2220 recorded in 2021.

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“In the year, percentage of 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 further noted that, the EFCC will be 20 years in December,and it has had its up and down and the success recorded by the commission  cannot be separated from the commitment and sacrifices of individuals who have relentlessly kept with their assigned roles in pursuit of EFCC 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 member 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 appreciation of truthfulness, commitment to building of enduring democratic institutions and consistent struggle against corrupt practices in the public space and in polity.”

The youthful activist explained that,corrupt politicians and public officers across party divides, fraudsters across geopolitical zones and gods of men across religions and faiths now know that the fear of EFCC 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 tinker with such team.”Olokoba stated.