Following the exit of Ibrahim Magu as the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, an EFCC investigator recently assumed office as the substantive chairman of the commission. At 40, he is the youngest chairman since the inception of the anti-graft agency and the first non- police officer to head it. Expectations are very high that he will deploy his youthful energy, investigative skills and pedigree to reposition the commission. He should improve on the achievements of his predecessors and avoid their shortcomings, which allegedly eased them out of office. His coming from a different background puts him in good stead to end the ugly cycle of the hunter becoming the hunted witnessed so far in the agency. That way, the commission can regain the confidence of the public and international partners.
It is instructive that Bawa is heading the agency at a time corruption is perceived to have assumed a frightening dimension in the country. Therefore, the task ahead of him is enormous. We believe that transparency and sincerity of purpose will be the necessary pads that will make him to succeed. The fight against corruption, despite all odds, has remained a cardinal programme of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
Therefore, we enjoin Bawa to take the fight a step higher. In pursuit of this goal, he needs to be reminded that apart from justifying the confidence reposed in him by the president, he should spare no efforts in insulating the commission from partisan pressures. He should equally get the trust and support of all stakeholders in his resolve to sanitise the agency and ensure that the war against corruption is still on course.
Above all, he must operate within the ambits of the law. Let him carry along the workers in his effort to enhance the effectiveness of the agency. There is urgent need for transparency and accountability in the operations of the commission considering the opaque manner some of the heads of the agency administered it lately. He should regularly update the database of recovered assets and case management for the commission, as well as ensure broad consultation with the stakeholders. For the fight against graft to succeed, the new EFCC boss must be above board.
It is gladdening that Bawa has promised to rebrand the agency and run it transparently. With him at the saddle, we hope that the issue of “media trial” will be a thing of the past. In its place, we call for a thorough investigation of any case before the arrest and prosecution of suspects. The partisan and selective nature of some of the trials must be done away with.
Bawa, a native of Kebbi State, was born on April 30, 1980. He graduated from the Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics (Second Class Upper) in 2001. He also holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs and Diplomacy from the same University in 2012 and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Laws degree at the University of London.
He joined the EFCC as an Assistant Detective Superintendent (ADS) in 2004 and was part of the pioneer EFCC Cadet Officers, Course 1, 2005. He rose through the ranks to become a Deputy Chief Detective Superintendent (DCDS), a position he has been holding since 2016. Bawa has vast experience in investigation and has been part of the prosecution of Advance Fee Fraud, official corruption, bank fraud, money laundering, and other economic and financial crimes related offences.
He has been the head of the commission’s zonal operations office in Lagos since August 2020. He has also headed the Capacity Development Division, EFCC Academy, Abuja, from December 2019 to August 2020. Other important positions he held include Zonal head, Port Harcourt Zonal Office, Ibadan Zonal office, and head, Counter-Terrorism and General Investigations/Pension Unit of the Lagos Zonal office. He has successfully investigated and testified in prosecution of many cases leading to convictions and recovery of looted money and assets across the world. We congratulate him on his appointment and wish him a successful tenure.