Rejuvenating and Overhauling the EFCC, an Open Letter to the President-elect Muhammadu Buhari By SD, Robo
The dictum “He who pays the piper, dictates the tune”, is certainly the best words to use in describing a give and take of “DISCIPLINE” in any Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) in the world. Worthy of note, is the level of moral decadence that is now prevalent in most LEAs and Force in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is one of the LEAs in Nigeria, in which discipline has become eroded, and Indiscipline is now the other of the day. Thus, in a situation like this, you cannot give what you don’t have; hence the need to purge the system of all misdemeanours is salient.
The issue of “Discipline” in the EFCC is nothing to write home about owing to the fact that some among the “Seconded Staff” (Police), who are meant to mentor and tutor the “Regular Staff”, lack the discipline to offer. Therefore, if the EFCC must achieve the discipline it yearns for, then certain riddance needs to take effect as soon as possible. This is very necessary, because it will give the incoming administration of General Muhammadu Buhari (GMB) a great level of consciousness, which will enable the government to start on a good footing appealing to its citizenry. By so doing, Nigeria can begin to appreciate the fact that what was expected of a “Government” is possible and can be achieved, when the required political will is imbibed through a people-oriented and political-driven administration.
On this ground, certain vital and sacrosanct review and revamp must come into play, as a way of building the “Public-Trust” of Nigerians. Therefore, there is need to take into cognisance these issues sequentially, which may include; Dismissal/ Punitive measures, Ranking/Discipline between Cadet and Policemen in the EFCC, Arms Guard Cadets/Operatives & Arms, Leadership, Recruitment of Junior cadet, Welfare/Accommodation, Attachment to Embassies/High Commissions amongst others.
Firstly, there is the most prevalent issue which worries Regular Staff of the EFCC, which is Dismissal/ Punitive Measure in the event of any form of misconduct by Staff. It has been observed that whenever there exist any offence committed by a regular staff, it is usually magnified to make seem, as if that is the most heinous crime so to say, that has ever been committed. This does not mean that when Staff commits any offence, they should not be punished; rather what is being agitated for is the need to ensure that a dichotomy is established between misconduct and gross misconduct. In other words, let punitive measures be applied to offences, in such a way that portrays a corrective appraise. That is to say punitive reprimands should follow as query, detention, warning, suspension, rank reduction, etc. The disparity here is that when the seconded Police Staff commits an offence, they are taken to a different office of the EFCC to hide the shame or quietly returned back to the Police unpunished. Even though this not minding that a lot of them have enriched themselves, having acquired a lot of ill gotten assets on the job. While if a Regular Cadet commits similar offence, or he/ she seen with an asset, that staff is believed to be a bribe-taker, he/ she is “Dismissed” from the EFCC. Now the question is, who is a Regular Staff and who is a Seconded Staff? On the whole, let it be on record that only after exhausting all of these punitive measures without remorse and overhaul, then dismissal sets in just like in other LEAs and Force.
Secondly, Ranking in the EFCC has always been a tussle between the regular staff and the seconded policemen. This is important in the day to day pivot of the hub of the EFCC Operations as a way of instilling discipline, while carrying out daily task. It was observed that the Seconded Policemen tend to see Regular Cadets of the EFCC as “Civilians”, hence the reason why junior ranks of the policemen do not want to take orders from a Senior Regular Cadet of the EFCC who had gone through same “Regimentary” training. As such, a vast disparity has been a very serious issue permeating the level of indiscipline that is common among officers. Therefore, the need to restructure the EFCC, to make for the equivalent of its ranking with other LEAs and Force, will go a long way in assuaging among sister-agencies in dealing with one another on the field.
Thirdly, the above necessity gave birth to the issue of Arms Guard Cadets/ operatives and Arms who are meant to be the engine room of the dealings of Operatives. During the tenure of the erstwhile Chairman of EFCC; Mrs. Farida Waziri, it is believed that she empowered the Human Resource of the EFCC to scout for capable hands that would be manning the core of Operations in the organisation. However, effort was put in place to ensure that these set of Arms Guard Cadet, were subjected to rigorous training by the Department of State Services (DSS) in the use of Modern Arms and Weapons. The whole idea was to mould this manpower to be able to have the required knowledge of arms handling, which was achieved, see EFCC Act 2004 S.8 (5). To the greatest amazement of all, these well trained arms guard have been turned into “Administrative Messengers”, and are not allowed to carry arms or attached with operatives during operations. A decision which is currently hampering/withering away all finance spent in their arms training skills, making them ineffective in operational task. Just the same way that the main Cadets/Regular Staff of the EFCC have also been deprived from carrying arms when on operations, thereby subjecting them to serious hazards.
Fourthly, Leadership of the EFCC is another vital ingredient that has over the years hampered the smooth operation of the organisation. In as much as the EFCC have experienced on one or two occasions, the untimely relief from duty of EFCC Chairmen in the past, the need to re-structure the EFCC in terms of leadership is a fundamental subject. According to the EFCC Act 2004 S.2(a)(ii) the leadership of the EFCC should be “A Chairman, who shall be a serving or retired member of any government Security or Law Enforcement Agency not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police or equivalent” i.e. GL. 15 above. Therefore, even within the EFCC, it is believed that there are some Retired LEAs/ Force men serving in the EFCC who can fit into this requirement. And since the most senior cadets of EFCC have not attained the required Rank, then all other seconded Police staff whose rank equivalent is available, should be returned to their parent organisation. While the EFCC be made to recruit more of junior cadets to balance up the staff, in order to avoid future explosion in ranks. Basically, the Management Staff of the EFCC who are mostly Policemen, are currently trying to infiltrate the system through “Divide and Rule” tactics, by converting their loyalist who are policemen into the system, and giving rapid promotion to some few Senior Regular Cadets that have been doing their bidding above their Course Mates, before the much talked about “Tsunami” of the new administration of the President-elect would commence it’s purging of the EFCC. This is not a welcome idea; because these are believed to be the same set of policemen and Cadets who assisted in killing the “Pension and fuel Subsidy” investigations by giving soft landing to highest bidders like Alh. Abdulrasheed Maina, Esai Dangabar, Veronica Ulonma Onyegbula, Sani Teidi Shuaibu, Aliyu Bello, AA Oil and others respectively in Adhoc Committees, and would be used to subvert the fight against corruption by the President-Elect Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.
The fact is that the present Executive Chairman of the Commission, a serving Commissioner of Police Harbors and nurture corruption. He is deputised by a Director of operations who also swims in high level of corruption and pretends a lot. No wonder Zonal heads of Enugu, Lagos and most importantly Kano offices who have been severally accused of verifiable huge corrupt practices are still left in the system. Same will be said of the Director of organisational support, who himself is a known suspect from his parent organisation, the Nigerian Police. There is also another Asst. Commissioner of Police, who is a Deputy Director of Internal Affairs, who was returned back to the Police by Mrs. Farida Waziri for serious corrupt practices, only to be recalled by the present leadership. This leadership quest for corruption, allows sectional heads especially in the Abuja Head quarters, the express immunity to drive in corruption while investigating high profile cases, which speaks why only low profile suspects are convicted in court.
On the other hand, while Mrs. Farida Waziri was at the helm of affairs, despite being a retired Assistant Inspector General of Police, it is believed that she sent back most of the seconded policemen for reason that they had overstayed their term based on the Provision of the Public Service rule on Secondment. Mrs. Waziri was able to do this owing to the fact that secondment in Public Service Rule has a procedure and term stipulated. Therefore, she sets up a perfect team that assisted her in perfecting the pivot of the EFCC in accordance, having devoted personnel. Similarly, the leadership of the EFCC should no longer be given to a serving LEA/ Force Officers, because the allegiance of such an officer would still be to their parent organisations. Thereby, making it more difficult for them to perform or carry out the required assignment saddled them. One may suggest that a Retired Military, Retired NIA or a Retired DSS senior officer may not be a bad idea, even though it must be an officer with Investigative Experience. As this would reduce the rate of indiscipline among most seconded staff, who have refused to imbibe the true Corporate Culture of discipline as enshrined in the Code of Conduct of all LEAs and Force across the globe.
Fifthly, making an organisation to work without any grumbling is a thing that requires the McGregor’s Theory of Motivation. That is to say, to get the best out of an LEA, their Welfare/ Accommodation must be well taken care of at its best, see a case of DSS and their Staff Accommodation. At present, the life of Staff of the EFCC are not “Assured” in the event of Job uncertainties, and no provision for them as par “Gratuity and Pension” at the time they may be leaving service. A recap of the tenure of the former EFCC Chairman; Mrs. Farida Waziri, effort was put in top gear to see that Regular Staff of the EFCC are given one of the best treatments in terms of motivation which covers allowances, accommodations, insurance cover, pension plan and others. In most cases, Mrs. Waziri goes extra mile to prevent her staff from having any justification to compromise, even though there are people who would not have been satisfied with that effort of hers. Accordingly, the believe is that it was after she was relieved of her appointment, that the EFCC Staff became more boldly wild in breaching the trust of the organisation. Today, allowances of staff are paid only at will, despite being budgeted for at every Budgetary Presentation, which was not the case during Mrs. Waziri’s tenure. Inevitably, the effort of the EFCC Commission Secretary, Mr. Emmanuel Aremo Adebgoyega, can not be neglected, as it was averred that he does not tolerate anything contrary to the Welfare of Staff. Imagine a situation now, where the CEOs of MDAs and LEAs all rushing to pay up outstanding Staff Allowances which is long overdue. Was thinking the “Missing Money” has been found. Who knows! On the contrary, some among the LEAs, with the EFCC not left out, was believed to have used fund amounting to about Two Billion Naira N2,000,000,000 of their agency to donate in the recent 2015 Election Campaign Fund Raising of a particular Political Party. While also, monies meant for Staff Welfare and Allowances was used to sponsor another Governorship aspirant of a political party who once oversaw an Anti-Corruption Agency. An LEA or Force personnel who is not motivated has two implication to the organisation; Corruption and Indiscipline. This must be halted in order to prevent further decay of the one-time most revered anti-corruption agency in Nigeria.
Also, it has been recommended that a thorough training at the EFCC Training Institute be institutionalised into the curriculum. As a result, other sister-agencies among LEAs are made to be “Key” in the Training of Staff & Operatives of EFCC during recruitment. By this, all Staff employed are made to go through the normal cadet training, after which they can be posted to the Department, Section or Unit most befitting of their profession or course of study as the case may be. Else, the EFCC must be ready to re-structure the system i.e. it’s Ranking Order. In such a way that the ranks should be in the pattern; Administrative Staff, Accounting Staff, Media Staff, Computer Analyst and Detectives (Field Officers).
In addition, the Modus Operandi and Training/ Courses to aid the discharge of duties and responsibilities of Operations should be strategized, such that Operatives would know and have the needed specialised skills in their work. In an effort to liberate the EFCC Operatives from the consistent harassment by other LEAs as the case may be, there is need to gazette the Ranks of the organisation at par with their equivalent in other sister agencies. During the tenure of Mrs. Farida Waziri, she made sure that training/ courses for Operatives of EFCC are done in the appropriate manner. Where all the numeric “Cadet Courses 1, 2, 3, ……” are given the opportunity to go through various Foreign Courses according to Course colleagues, until it get to the last Cadet Course of the EFCC. This seems to be history today, as only loyal and “eye-service” staff are the gainers of such meant-to-be juicy pay-off. Hence, hopes are lost as regards EFCC Regular Staff job improvement requirements. But it would be the joy of Staff of the EFCC, that with the coming on board of a Team of Brave Minds willing to fight corruption, as being found in the next President; Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, staff of EFCC would smile again.
Conclusively, with the level of corruption in the country in particular and the world at large, there is need to make Operatives of the EFCC “Foreign Attaches at Nigeria Embassies/ High Commissions” abroad. This is another way in which the EFCC can be made more functional, and also reclaim the dented image of the country abroad. Since presently, the rate at which foreign countries are being defrauded by Nigerians is becoming an eye-saw, thereby relegating the image of the country to the background. A clear replica of the National Intelligence Agency in this regards, can actually mitigate all of these to a large extent. This was another means in which Mrs. Farida Waziri was trying to revive the EFCC, but her tenure was cut short by the regime of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011. This passionate letter to the President-Elect Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, is believed would help in the great task ahead of completing the Headquarters of the EFCC Office, and “Rejuvenating, Revamping and Reorganising R3” the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission which lost its glory from late 2011 to date, since “Corruption cannot Fight Corruption.