September 3, 2015

Corruption: Nigerians urge EFCC, Lamorde to come clean

Abuja – Some Nigerians have urged Mr Ibrahim Lamorde, the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to address corruption allegation against him, to restore the commission’s credibility.

Some respondents, in separate interviews on Thursday in Abuja, described the allegation as outlandish and an attempt to frustrate the anti-corruption crusade of the current government.

However, others expressed displeasure over Lamorde’s failure to appear before the senate committee to clear the issue.

Mr Steve Okey, an Abuja-based Lawyer, advised Lamorde to clear the air on the allegations against him, so that the anti-corruption war would have some credibility.

“It is unfortunate that this is coming at this time; but I will advise Lamorde to appear before the senate so that Nigerians can hear his own side of the story.

“It is usually said that corruption has a way of fighting back when it is being tackled but Nigerians will like to know if this is an instance of corruption fighting back,’’ he said.

Also commenting, Mr Harrison Paul, an Abuja-based Estate Surveyor, described the allegation as a counter-offensive against the commission.

“This looks to me like a counter-offensive against the EFCC by the Senate because of the commission’s probe of the senate president’s wife.

“This is not supposed to happen now because the allegation of embezzlement of N1 trillion recovered funds sounds outlandish.

“We will, however, wait to see what defence Lamorde has, but I think he should clear himself early so that the anti-corruption war can proceed,’’ he advised.

Mr Patrick Targbo, a civil servant, decried the allegation as an attempt by politicians to frustrate the fight against corruption.

“Nigerian politicians appear to be scared about the anti-corruption crusade and are doing everything to frustrate it.

“How come they accuse Lamorde of misappropriating funds that were recovered when Mr Nuhu Ribadu was Chairman of EFCC?

“The president should ignore them and go ahead with his anti-corruption agenda,’’ he advised.

Dr George Uboh had petitioned the Senate, alleging that Lamorde diverted the sum of N1 trillion recovered from the former Bayelsa governor, Mr Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and other politicians.

The Senate has mandated its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, headed by Sen. Peter Nwaoboshi, to investigate the allegations.

Meanwhile, Mr Wilson Uwajaren, EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity, said that Lamorde had requested to appear before the Senate committee investigating the allegations at an appropriate date.

“There is no official reaction for now until he appears at the Senate to respond to their queries,’’ he said.

However, Lamorde, in an interview with the BBC on Aug. 26, described the allegation as a smear campaign.

He said that even if all the money recovered by the EFCC was added up, together with its funding from government, it would not total one trillion naira.

“How can we divert an amount we don’t have?” he asked.

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