From: Segun Olatunji, Abeokuta
FORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday declared that the anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has become a “toothless bulldog.” Obasanjo said this during his 79th birthday celebration held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, Ogun State. The former president who expressed surprise at the current perceived weak
stance of the EFCC against graft and corruption, noted that during the tenure of the agency’s pioneer Chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, Nigerians became instilled and filled with fear of the commission. He therefore advised the Federal Government and all stakeholders to look into the current lacklustre situation which has enveloped the EFCC so that its activities would not amount to
taking a step forward and further steps backward. Obasajo said, “Honestly, when Nuhu was handling EFCC, he handled it in such a way that people coined the saying that ‘the beginning of wisdom is the fear of Nuhu Ribadu’ and then the thing you will ask is how did we go down? How did we lose that?
“Nuhu Ribadu is still here, he’s still alive, the institution we started together is still there, but what made the institution to become a toothless bulldog? What? And that’s the matter we have to
keep looking at so that we don’t take two steps forward, one step aside and three steps back.”
The former president also called for the development of technology to combat insurgency and violent extremism.
He added that if the insurgent groups could develop the technology to achieve their objective, it’s imperative to adopt the same method in stopping the tide.
Obasanjo who traced insurgency to lack of fairness and justice across the world, blamed institutions, including religious bodies
for shirking in their responsibilities towards having a safer society.
He said, “The world is interested in what can be done to stem the tide and I think what we did yesterday, we made our own contribution in a way that we believe will serve our country, serve our
sub-region, West Africa, our region of Africa and indeed the world we live in.
“I summarize that the solution lies in six areas;; at home, in the community, in the church/mosque, in the schools/colleges, in the state- local, state and federal government and in the international
community. At each of these, we do things that we should not do and we leave undone what we should do.
“Therefore, people have or they see perceived injustice or perceived grievances and they try to react but as I said yesterday, when you have to treat violent extremism and radicalization as an
issue, then it costs you more. What we should do which will be cost effective, wise and cheaper is to prevent and if we do what we should do at all those areas, we should be able to prevent.
“One of the things we now have to take seriously is technology because technology impacts on our daily life.
It’s built to our homes, it’s in our pocket and if those who want to do anything to make life unbearable for us in terms of security, then we must also use technology as the antidote and the means by which we can ward off what they may want to do against us.”