EFCC As Enemy To The President’s Enemies | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


EFCC As Enemy To The President’s Enemies

Posted: Jun 23, 2016 at 2:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Kingsley Ighomwenghian

 “… I will be an enemy to your enemies and a foe to your foes.” – Exodus 23:22 (CJB)

In Nigeria’s recent democratic history, one agency that Nigerians have remained divided over remains the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), established by its Act (2004) to: as its name suggests, check the impunity that had become commonplace and normal in the country.

It is, however, still being seriously debated whether the watchdog is doing it right or playing the ostrich when convenient, or hounding enemies of the State (when whoever is President of Nigeria is willy-nilly taken as such), rather than going after the people’s collective nemesis, no matter the robe they are garbed in. In the Bible verse quoted at the beginning of this piece, Yahweh, promised to fight enemies of His people like a mother hen would attack threats to its chicks. But the proviso as recorded at the beginning of that chapter was that the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob must never do wrong, or side with the crowd to pervert justice in court, even when it favours the poor or oppressed.


The EFCC was set up by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo, who urgently needed to show seriousness by his government in its anti-corruption war, but it unfortunately soon became a tool for fighting enemies of whoever was “oga at the top,” and like that popular “selective perception” theory of Mass Communication, the EFCC only ‘sees and hears’ whatever it chooses to, unfortunately. Before my argument is misunderstood, let it be known that anyone who has misappropriated, misapplied, mismanaged or coveted Nigeria’s commonwealth should be made to face the wrath of the law according to its letters and spirit.


I am indeed grateful to God, even if I feel scandalised by the fact that almost N3 trillion is in the process of being recovered in just one year of the Muhammadu Buhari administration. Like all well-meaning Nigerians, I can only urge this government to look farther as there is definitely more that can be disgorged from enemies of the people, who caused David Cameron to coin the phrase, “fantastically corrupt,” in reference to “our own dear native land” (remember the old national anthem?).

There should, however, not be selective justice like we have always had a dichotomy between friends and enemies of the state. If the EFCC was used to hound perceived and real enemies of Obasanjo, Umar Yar’Adua and Godluck Jonathan – all of which were Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governments in the 16 years between May 1999 and 20015 and greatly criticised, it should, under this administration run by “progressive elements,” show some semblance of being apolitical. It should not in any way be an arm of the ruling party, just as no government organ should be. In elementary government, we were taught that civil servants of which operatives of the EFCC, Department of State Security (DSS), Police or the military all are cannot belong to or participate in the activities of any political party.


It is debatable yet, whether this rule is not being observed in the breach today. Governor Ayodele Fayose suspended his solidarity strike with Ekiti State Government workers on Monday, to protest the freezing of his bank account by the EFCC, thereby breaching his immunity as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic, to which he, President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (a Professor of law) swore to uphold.


The EFCC on Monday said it traced N1.2 billion, part of which was allegedly used to prosecute the Ekitigate scandal from the funds under investigation in the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) to the governor’s personal bank account and subsequently froze it. On Wednesday, news report said a total of N4.7 billion was traced to the accounts of Fayose and Senator Musuliu Obanikoro, a former Minister.

The commission’s action was subject of debates at several fora, with many blasting it for making itself a tool for personal vendetta, a pawn in the hands of government. Even as Constitutional Lawyer and former National Secretary of Labour Party, Kayode Ajulo, described the action as “illegal,” agreeing that it is an abuse of Fayose’s immunity.



In his 2002 lead judgment on the Fawehinmi vs IGP case, Justice Samson Uwaifo (Jsc) ruled: “The police clearly have a duty under Section 4 of the Police Act to do all they can to investigate and preserve whatever evidence is available. The evidence or some aspect of it may be the type which might be lost forever if not preserved while it is available…”

All the same, it would make sense to the average Nigerian, that the EFCC is investigating officials of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

When will our own watchdog get to the point where they begin to investigate a seating President, like the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is now probing the role of Mrs. Hilary Clinton, former first lady, now candidate of the ruling Democratic Party in the November election, as Secretary of State in 2011.


It is also on record that her husband, Bill, was not only investigated over the allegation of consensual sexual relations with a member of his staff, Monica Lewinsky, and subsequently impeached by the House of Representatives for perjury and obstruction of justice. He was, however, saved by the U.S. Senate’s acquittal that enabled him to complete his term.

Although, some will say Nigeria is developing, but as contained in the Oath Act, management of the EFCC should endeavour to do “right to all manner of people, according to law, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will…” When will Nigeria get to that point? The answer also, is “blowing in the wind.”