The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has criticized a statement by a top official of the British Council, Uche Emmanuel, who said at a forum that there is a lack of synergy between the EFCC and other agencies in the fight against corruption.
Backstory: The EFCC’s Acting Head of Media and Publicity, Tony Orilade, said in a statement that Emmanuel, who heads the Rule of Law and Anti-corruption (RoLAC) Programme of the British Council, made claims that were full of several misleading “illogicalities”.
“Without the slightest of attempts to cross-check his claims, Emmanuel alluded that the EFCC and other anti-corruption agencies in the country were frustrating the corruption fight by an alleged lack of synergy among them, and their inclination to operate as islands unto themselves,” the statement said.
To back up its argument, the EFCC pointed out that the NNPC “through the combined efforts of the Department of State Security (DSS), EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), recently recovered assets worth over N771million from oil marketers, who had underpaid it for petroleum products supplied to them.”
“As a commission, we are horrified that a ranking official of the British Council, in charge of rule of law and anti-corruption programme, who ordinarily should be abreast of the robust interface that exists between the EFCC and various local and international law enforcement organizations is the one we are painfully subjecting to this type of schooling,” the statement added.
But what is the reality?: The anti-corruption agency is asking Nigerians to disregard the things they have seen with their own eyes.
Let us start with the fact that the EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Magu, has been serving in acting capacity since November 2015, more then three years ago. Why? The senate refused to confirm him twice because there is a security report from the DSS on Magu which concludes with this line: “Magu has failed the integrity test and will eventually constitute a liability to the anti-corruption stand of the current government.”
That was not the only example of bad blood between those two agencies.
In November 2017, agents of the EFCC were prevented by the Department of State Services (DSS) from effecting the arrest of the former Directors General of the DSS, Mr. Ita Ekpeyong, and the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Mr. Ayo Oke, even though the EFCC had valid arrest warrants.
These are just two examples of the turf war between these agencies under the presidency which are supposed to work together. So when the EFCC tells Nigerians to ignore the point made by the British Council official, it is asking Nigerians to ignore what they have witnessed over the last three years and take its word for it. Fat chance!