Be bold, incorruptible, dutiful- Lawyers urge new EFCC Chair
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File: Lawyers

Two Former Executives of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Bayo Akinlade and Douglas Ogbankwa, have urged the new Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. AbdulRasheed Bawa, to remain incorruptible.

They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that although the appointment of Bawa was greeted with diverse arguments, it now remains for him to stay focused and prove doubters wrong on his capacity.

NAN reports that the Senate on Wednesday confirmed 40-year-old Bawa as new Chairman of the anti-graft agency, which had been without a head since the suspension of its acting chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu.

In his reaction, Akinlade, a former Chairman of the NBA Ikorodu Branch, said that the arguments surrounding the appointment should now serve as a guide to him on the expectations of Nigerians.

According to him, “at 40, Bawa clearly stands in a unique position to transform our nation.

“The new Chairman is positioned now to change the narrative, he has to prove that our generation can do better, correct the mistakes of our fathers and the generations before us.

“I urge the new Chairman to be brave, incorruptible, and focus on the future of this country; he has to lead those under him towards a moral path; he has to stop all the illegal arrests, detentions, and biases investigations.

“He must protect our economy from all those who seek to undermine it, and must do justice between those in power and those that are not,” he said.

Akinlade urged that the constitution must be the only master and urged him never to compromise on his integrity.

“Many people will try to discourage him and try to make him fall into their own hopelessness but he must surround himself with forward-thinking Nigerians with a high moral compass and dream of a corrupt-free Nigeria,” he said.

On his part, Ogbankwa, who is immediate past publicity secretary of the NBA Benin Branch, said that the confirmation of Bawa signals a new dawn in the anti-graft organization.

“I defer with some persons who oppose his appointment. Bawa is a youth. It is high time officials of the organization took control, as opposed to the Police running the same.

“I know that when you are about to be elevated to a position of authority your detractors come out with gimmicks to pull you down; the chairman must however stay focused,” he said.

According to Ogbankwa the new Chairman should now get down to work and address core areas requiring urgent attention.

“The granting of obnoxious bail conditions should be addressed especially where the administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, provides that the first line of sureties should be blood relatives of the suspects.

“The EFCC should desist from investigating matters pertaining to contracts as the EFCC is not a debt collector as has been stated in a plethora of cases by the Supreme Court and other superior courts of records.

“The EFCC should not only investigate financial crimes but also economic crimes, as we rarely hear about oil bunkering, underpayment of import duties, currency trafficking, forgery of customs documents among others.

“The EFCC Act provides for interim forfeiture of properties using ex-parte orders. So, any car seized without a court order must be released forthwith.

“There should also be an electronic tracking system in place to track all seized properties and a public auction sale of same, after due process, with an open bid, open to public participation and scrutiny,” he said.

Ogbankwa urged the EFCC to also see lawyers are partners in progress and not enemies in the efforts to see a corruption-free country. 

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