May 18, 2024

EFCC gets global thumbs up as UK Baroness hails anti-graft war

EFCC gets global thumbs up as UK Baroness hails anti-graft war

By Luminous Jannamike

ABUJA – In a significant boost to Nigeria’s anti-corruption efforts, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has received international recognition for its tireless work in tackling corruption.

Baroness Verma Sandy of Leicester, a member of the United Kingdom’s House of Lords, has commended the EFCC for its dedication to fighting corruption and promoting good governance in Nigeria.

During a visit to the EFCC headquarters in Abuja on Friday, Baroness Verma Sandy praised the Commission’s new leadership under Executive Chairman, Mr. Ola Olukoyede, for repositioning the organization on the path of professionalism and effectiveness.

She expressed confidence that the EFCC’s efforts would help change the global perception of Africa and build new confidence in the continent.

The Baroness, who led a six-man delegation of the UK-based African Leadership Organisation, acknowledged the EFCC’s efforts in shaping better narratives for Nigeria and praised the Commission’s innovative approaches to tackling corruption.

She emphasized the importance of international collaboration in the fight against corruption and encouraged the EFCC to continue its good work.

Sandy said: “We are so glad to be here. It is important having this organization led by somebody who has brought incredible positive changes to the country. And I want to thank all of your colleagues here for engaging with us today. I believe passionately on the strength of the African Continent. I am not connected at all to Africa, but I have been a champion for a continent that has under-estimated its own strength but has got so much to offer the world. And I think your organization will help change the perceptions and build new confidence. So, I am so pleased and honoured to be here.”

EFCC Chairman, Mr. Olukoyede, thanked the Baroness and her delegation for identifying with the Commission and acknowledging its efforts.

He reiterated the EFCC’s commitment to tackling corruption and promoting good governance, emphasizing that corruption is a major obstacle to Africa’s development.

He highlighted the Commission’s new focus on prevention and addressing systemic issues that enable corruption, as well as its efforts to stimulate economic growth and prevent foreign exchange sharp practices.

The EFCC Chairman also applauded President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the liberty of operation accorded to the Commission, enabling it to pursue its mandate without interference.

He emphasized the importance of political will in the fight against corruption and praised the President’s support for the EFCC’s efforts.

Olukoyede said, “On behalf of the entire management of EFCC, we are glad to have you in our midst. I want to thank you for identifying with what we do. You have an interest in Africa and I want to tell you that Africa has great potential. The major problem is bad governance. We need good governance to channel our human and natural resources rightly and bring Africa on top of the world.

“That is what people like us are advocating using the instrumentality of law enforcement and anti-corruption fight. Corruption is something we have to deal with. Every challenge we face in our daily life, insecurity, bad governance, lack of infrastructural development are all linked to corruption.

“Upon my assumption of office, I said I will use the instrumentality of the anti-corruption fight to stimulate growth in the economy because while enforcing laws against financial crimes, we also enforce against economic crimes. Anything can vitiate economic and infrastructural development, we are empowered by law to investigate it and bring the offenders to book. In this part of the world, you have to be courageous in order to realize your mandate. One thing that is going for us is the political will of the president. The government in power is supporting us and not interfering in what we do.

“We have tried to bring some innovations in the way we do things. Traditionally, the EFCC has been concentrating more on investigation and prosecution, and I discovered that the more we do that, the tougher the problem becomes. We are now trying to shift our focus, not necessarily away from enforcement, but we are looking more on the paths of prevention. We are looking more at the cause of the problems.

“Fundamentally, there is nothing wrong with Nigerians. Nigerians are good people. Given they find themselves outside the country and given the right ecosystem, you see Nigerians perform excellently well. We are looking into our systems; we are looking into our structures; we are looking into what actually allows corruption to fester in addition to making people account for their bad deeds while in office. So, we concentrate more on prevention now.

“What we deal with is white collar crime, which is non-violent. So we want people to own the fight. When you see something, you say something.”