LEGAL IDEAS FORUM

Economic Rejuvenation and the fight against corruption in Nigeria:The role of the EFCC. By Hon. Chugbo Enweozor. A speech Delivered at 2016 LAWSA House COOU Legislative Day.  

There is no gain saying the fact that corruption has been identified to be one of the greatest cankerworm of the  economy of the world. corruption is a deleterious virus, its effect on any nation is usually luxurious. it is depressing also to know that the spate of corruption in developing countries seems to be on the high side than their developed counterpart. Why  this is so Is an issue for socio-economic scientists.

 

 

 

Sec 4(2) (b) of the CFRN provides that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. before government was set up by the people, societies existed in the state of nature as described by Thomas Hobbes where men were laws unto their own self and might was right. Mayhem, chaos, lawlessness was the order of the day and injustice reigned supreme. It occurred to man that without an agreement to co-exist irrespective of differences, life will become nasty, brutish and short. They gave up their rights and agreed to set up government which shall become the embodiment of law and shall dispense of justice in the most equitable ways.
The lives liberties and properties of the people became the responsibility of government, it became necessary that social welfare should be given paramount attention going further sec 15 (5) CFRN  provides that the state shall abolished all corrupt practices and abuse of power.

 

Sec 16 (a) CFRN provides that the state shall harness the resources of the nation and promote national prosperity and an efficient, dynamic and self reliant economy for every citizen on equality of status and opportunity.

 

sec. 16 (b) CFRN  the state shall control the national economy in such manner as to secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every citizen on the basis of social justice and equality of status and opportunity.
the foregoing provision has established that the government  should do all in their power to ensure a favorable economic condition for all and sundry. This aim cannot be achieved when proper economic strategies and policies are not put in place.
A quick mental throwback will reveal that it was corruption that led to the military interventions  in Nigeria. various regimes has been derided  for their corrupt roles and abuse of office, gross embezzlement and economic mismanagements. Hence, the clarion call for drastic measures to save our economy. The fact that corruption is an obstacle to economic growth is certainly beyond dispute. In a situation where public money find their way into the pockets of corrupt politicians stacked away into foreign bank, the economic balance of Nigeria continues to weaken. Despite the economic gains made by Nigeria through the “oil boom” of the 1980s/1970s Nigeria still ranks one of the underdeveloped countries and more so ranks the highest in all corruption index publications.
Significantly, it is worthy of note to mention that the effort to curb or stem the tide of corruption started during the chief Olusegun obasanjo regime. This effort led to the promulgation of the bill, EFFC act of 2004. Judging by its economic resources Nigeria was seen to be a viable economic and promising investment zone. Woefully this is no longer achievable. profligacy and mind bugling corruption has brought Nigeria to its knee and to a state of stagnancy. President Umaru musa Yaradua (late) commented pitifully that “corruption has dealt with us as a nation and it is a shame that we have allowed it to exist a day more”. Nigerians has entrenched corruption and it has become a system, a way of life and anybody who is not corrupt is said not be smart. this fight is indeed not a one to be fought alone by the EFCC. The fight against corruption is a battle for all.
 

 

THE ROLE OF THE EFCC

 

The EFCC was set up pursuant to the EFCC act LFN CAP I 2004. Their role can be located clearly within the ambits of the law. The agency was established pursuant to the section 1 (1) of the act and it shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession with a common seal and can sue and be sued in its corporate name. the supreme court has ruled that the EFCC is an agency of the economy.
The commission shall be responsible for the operation of the Act and shall  fight all economic and financial crimes. they are the main agency for the war against corruption. They are charged with the responsibility of
Investigating all manner of financial and economic crimes, Prosecution of persons who are found guilty of corruption, embezzlement or fraud.
Carrying out rigorous campaign awareness and sensitization of the public on the role of the EFCC.
After, the creation of the EFCC under the Obasanjo regimes there was a perceived although not substantiated claims that the EFCC was a political machinery or weapon  the president used to hunt and persecute his political rivals, opponent and enemies. However, the social role they have played cannot be underestimated, their efforts has been enormous, they have contributed a lot in salvaging the economy of Nigeria from the devouring claws of insatiable and selfish   politicians who think they own Nigeria and all that is within it.
Under the leadership of Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, James Ibori, the then Governor of Delta state was arrested and prosecuted for financial mismanagement and economic crimes. But due to the bias in the judiciary at that time, the trial of Ibori in Nigeria was not carried out with due considerations, it became obvious that there was a possibility of circumventing justice. Furthermore, due to his foreign financial comes  as well, he was extradited to Britain where speedy trials were held and he was appropriately convicted, sentenced and sent to jail where he is still serving his term.
Recently, we have had the EFCC raise the serious economic sabotage wrecked by the former National security adviser (Dasuki sambo) to the tune of 2. 1billion dollar. This huge amount of money was allegedly shared and distributed amongst political friends and allies. His case popularly regarded as the DASUKI GATE has trended severally on twitter and other social media. The amount of criticisms for this act perpetrated has left many political observers wonder how he thought that the theft of such huge sum cannot be detected. The money for purchase of arms for the Nigerian army currently fighting Boko Haram was redirected into private pockets and foreign accounts. Olisah metuh (former spokesman PDP) Alex Badeh (former chief of army staff) are currently been tried for their  roles in the crime.
Although the opposition has seen these arrests to be a political witch hunt, it is however suggested that the bulk of determining that should be left to the courts as they are still undergoing trial. Regrettably, as structured today the EFCC do not possess the political or moral ability to fight corruption in Nigeria and to bring it to a stand still because it is not independent.  section 2 of the EFCC Act provides for the membership of the agency, it is suggested that it be amended and moreso the Agency should be removed from the control and manipulation of the executive arm of government. The EFCC as an agency do not exercise its power as supposed and has been commonly referred to as “toothless bull dogs”.
The sections 1, 3 of the act should be amended to guarantee the tenure of office of the chairman of the EFCC he should enjoy security of office this will give him the impetus to fight this battle  without fear of favour, however this may even lead to greater harm than the remedy it is intended to provide. Finally, when granted independency and non interference in their job, the EFCC will indeed be poised to curb the spate of corruption in Nigeria. It is the due course of action for every Nigerian to bear in mind that if we do not kill corruption in this country, it will someday kill us, our future as a people and a nation under God grossly depend on how serious we are to bringing this menace to a final stand still. It needs a contributive effort of all well meaning individuals from all works of life to see that the role of the EFCC is achieved. It is time to say no! to economic and financial crime and corruption. And to salvage the moribund economic situation of Nigeria.
 
 

 

As edited, arranged and submitted by Njoku David Chibueze,  Honourable member of the lawsa house representing 200level  constituency

 

 
 

 

                   Copyright reserved 

 

                               © 2016
For knowledge and Justice

 663 total views,  2 views today

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

Open chat