James Ojo, Abuja
As the build-up to the 2019 general electiongathers momentum, the British Government has tasked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to work together for the country; to deliver free and fair elections.
The charge was given by the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Paul Arkwright, when he visited the headquarters of the anti-graft commission, yesterday.
Thereafter, in a statement issued by EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, the British envoy assured INEC and the EFCC of Britain’s support in ensuring that the electione are free and credible.
Uwujaren quoted the envoy as having that “INEC and EFCC should be there to preserve the integrity of the political process, including taking forward investigations without any prejudice on one side or the other, following the evidence and taking action where it is justified.”
Wilson also said that Arkwright urged the EFCC to work hand in hand with INEC, in ensuring a free and fair political process.
On the activities of the anti-graft agency, he said that the United Kingdom, promised continue to support the anti-corruption crusade been spearheaded by the EFCC.
“We are pleased to see how the EFCC operates, and we are assuring you of the endless support of the British government in the fight against corruption,” he said.
Arkwright further gave assurances of the British government’s support, “both in technical assistance, in investigation and, of course, broadening support of this great independent institution of the EFCC.”
Arkwright was accompanied by Daniel Murphy, on the visit to the EFCC headquarters in Abuja.
“The UK and Nigeria have evolved and made progress in the fight against corruption, and the EFCC’s achievements have been impressive,” he added.
In his response, acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, appreciated the British government for its support and assured Arkwright of the independence of the EFCC in the discharge of its mandate.
Said Magu: “I assure you that there is no political interference in what we do.
“We will continue to work with stakeholders like INEC, which we have an agreement with, to ensure that there is no interference, to ensure free and fair election in Nigeria and we will stop people using money to buy votes.”
According to Magu, the EFCC operates international best practices, and “does diligent, preliminary investigation.
“We do not invite anybody here if he is not found to be involved in one offence or crime and that is why when you come here, it takes a lot of effort to be off the chain.
“Whatever case that comes to EFCC is investigated to the logical conclusion.
“We take the case to court which gives the final decision in any matter we have investigated.”