EFCC Leadership: Where Lies The Hope Of Career Progression For Core Staff By Yisa Tambaya
Like every other law enforcement agency in Nigeria, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is not an island without its own internal needs.
From the inception of the anti-graft agency, the EFCC is believed to be nascent, hence the need to have its career operatives hold positions of leadership, sound a mirage.
Reasons being that, the EFCC Establishment Act 2004 has made it clear on the requirement and qualification needed to make one eligible for its Chair.
However, at the time of drafting the EFCC Act, during the 5th Assembly of the NASS Senate, the craftsmen were misled into inserting a ‘Clause’, which has made many Nigerians believe that the anti-graft agency can only be headed by only one Security or Law Enforcement Agency, the Nigeria Police Force, NPF.
Little did many know that, that period was under Former President Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo, and the candidate favoured to head the EFCC then, was a Police Officer.
This was actually a good idea, going by what was believed to be the attributes of the said Officer, Nuhu Ribadu. Who was at that time, on the Police Rank of Assistant Commissioner ACP.
However, among those who spare headed the forging of the EFCC Act 2004, was a very Senior Police Officer, Assistant Inspector General, AIG.
Who ensured that, the drafters of EFCC Act including himself, inserted certain clauses, which will mainly favour; 1. The then President interest, and 2. The interest of his former Organization, NPF. By so doing, even in the future, many would believe it is only a Police Officer that can become the EFCC Chair.
Peradventure, many failed to understand, that though the Nigerian Police Force may have been favoured, when drafting the EFCC Act 2004, certain salient clause have always been ignore in the event of appointing an EFCC Chair. This takes us back to the content of the EFCC Act.
According to the EFCC Establishment Act 2004, as it relates to the appointment of the Executive Chairman, and Chief Accounting Officer of the anti-graft agency, S.2 (1a) (i-iii) states; “The Chairman shall be retired or serving officer, from any security or law enforcement agency, with 15 years cognate experience, not below the rank of ‘Assistant Commissioner of Police’ or its equivalent”.
You will agree with me, that though we have so many “I am a Lawyer, I am a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, I am a Judicial Officer, I am a learned colleague and what have you”.
Yet, no one among these people who are meant to examine, dissect, interpret, adjudicate by providing advice to the authority concerned, as it affects the appointment of an EFCC Chair.
Rather, what we see and get are political judicial gladiators, who tends to interpret the Law, by way of misinforming, misrepresenting and misleading the appropriate authority, due to their personal self- aggrandizement. The likes of Professor Itse Sagay, SAN and Femi Falan, SAN are not excluded here.
In the interpretation of the above mentioned portion of the EFCC Act 2004, let me throw a little light on some vital part of that section.
First, the section talked about “retired or serving”. This implies that though the officer to be appointed as EFCC Chair, must not necessarily be in service, rather, the experience and the type of training undergone by the officer, is what actually matters. That was why the regime of late President Umaru Yar’adua, appointed a retired Assistant Inspector General, Mrs Farida Waziri, as the erstwhile EFCC Chair in 2008.
Second, the section of the EFCC Act 2004 above mentioned, also talked about officer from “Security or Law Enforcement Agency”. Here the main idea for this, is to have an EFCC Chair with a regimentry background, since the cases to be handled by the anti-graft agency, has more to do with economic and financial crimes, which happens to be ‘Criminal Offences’.
Therefore, an officer who has investigative experience would be so required. I hope we all would agree, that so many agencies of government have such investigation and prosecution powers, which makes their eligibility a 100%, in addition to integrity and years of experience.
Thus, the many Security and Law Enforcement agencies in Nigeria includes, Department of States Services, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, National Intelligence Agency, Nigeria Police Force, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Customs Service, to mention but few.
Meanwhile, all of the above agencies and others happened to be part of the stakeholders, who are even part of those to be represented at the EFCC Board. In a simple term, the appointment of an EFCC Chair is not an exclusive of the Nigeria Police.
Thirdly, the section of the EFCC Act 2004, also talked about the number years’ experience by the officer, to be appointed as EFCC Chair. In other words, a fifteen years cognate experience have been stipulated in the Act, as a requirement for anyone from among the security or law enforcement agencies so wished to be appointed by the President.
In addition, in that same section of the EFCC Act, a priority was given to the expected rank which the officer to be appointed, must attain, either while serving or at retirement. The rank that was mentioned is an example of rank equivalent of “Assistant Commissioner of Police”.
That is to say, the officer must no be below this rank, if he or she must be eligible to be considered. At the same time, the use of the rank, Assistant Commissioner of police, was just a way of saying, from among these security or law enforcement agencies, anyone so wished by the President, to be appointed, should have been on a Grade Level 14 or 15, as the case may be according to public service ranking.
As such, a security or law enforcement agent, must be at a rank equivalent of Assistant Director or Chief of Department he or she may be, at their relevant agencies.
Having succinctly performed surgery on this section of the EFCC Act 2004, now the question is what hope lies for the young, virile and integrity-driven career officers from the anti-graft agency, who happen to be among those agencies so qualified to head their own bonafide agency.
Would anyone ever draw the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari, to the fact that the EFCC as a Law Enforcement Agency, has its own Regular/ Core Operatives, that can lead the team for the fight against corruption in Nigeria. By the, who told us that most of the successes recorded by the anti-graft agency, must not have been the good effort of the Career Officers at the EFCC.
Many would agree with me, that having carried out a discrete investigation on the Anti-graft agency, it is advisable for President Buhari, to leave politics and sordid interests of some persons aside.
The EFCC has “career management operatives”, whom an opportunity by PMB to interact with a few of the Officers, would give the President a sound understanding of the game and gimmick, which had been hidden from Mr President as an Intelligent Leader.
By taking a look at the need to, for the first time in the life of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, appoints from among their own (EFCC Core Staff), as a way of chatting a new course in the sincere fight against corruption in Nigeria.
Mr President, kindly give the DSS the opportunity to help unravel this special but unsolicited information, which may not have been brought to your knowledge, by some of your aides.
But I believe that in the person of Director General of the DSS, Lawal M Daura, you will get a perfect, sincere, and honest prove to all of my findings, as regards this genuine reality at the EFCC.
Worthy of note, Mr President, is the alleged continuous bullying, victimisation and injustice against the EFCC core staff with impunity, under a group called “3 Musketeers- Nuhu Ribadu, Ibrahim Lamorde and Ibrahim Magu”.
My appeal to President Buhari is that, can we for once move away from this status quo in the main time, and try giving the EFCC Core Operatives and Career Officers, a sense of belonging for career progression, at least for the first time under this All Progressive Congress’ government of Change.