LAYI OLANREWAJU, Ilorin
A legal luminary, Malam Yusuf Ali(SAN) has called for the amendment of the Act that established the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC).
He said the amendment should among other things make provisions for the appointment of any Nigerian of proven integrity as EFCC’s chairman as against the present situation which limits the search for the anti- graft agency’s head to policemen.
This is as the Ilorin- Kwara state based lawyer called for the constitution of a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to probe alleged financial malfeasance at the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC).
He opined that such independent commission will do a more thorough job than any other panel and shall also allow more locals in the south- south to make their contributions to the probe of NDDC.
On EFCC, Yusuf said his suggestion is in line with global best practices, adding that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the United States and similar agency in the United Kingdom are not being headed by policemen or para- military agents, but any man of proven integrity.
He posited that ” the way EFCC is being run is not in tandem with the intentions of its founding fathers, adding that ” there is the need to put a round peg in a round hole in managing affairs of such organisations”.
He said the travails of the suspended chairman of the EFCC did not come to him as a surprise, adding that : ” I am one of the few Nigerians who were not shocked at the development at EFCC. It’s very important for the system to be audited from time to time. What’s going on at EFCC is the auditing of the agency. What is going on is necessary. It will at least, contain impunity among public officers. Nigerians will also learn from this that no matter how long it takes, nemesis will catch up.
“Once, the head of a fish is rotten, the entire body is bad. This why it is important that we appoint people whose backgrounds show that they don’t have history of corruption as head of such organisations. FBI and similar agency in United Kingdom are not headed by policemen or men of para- military agencies.
“You don’t need a crack detective to head the EFCC. What you need is a man of character and they are abound in our country. The EFCC’s Act should be amended to reflect this.”
Speaking further on the NDCC, Yusuf observed that the perceived faults of the federal government notwithstanding, ” the leaders of the south-south carry the larger share of the problems of under development in the area. I am never surprised about any Nigeria’s institution when it comes to issue of corruption. In Nigeria merit has no place; only people who can lobby or those who have influence get what they want.
“Judicial Commission of Inquiry should be set up to investigate NDDC. This will allow the national assembly to concentrate on its statutory functions. It will also allow many residents of south- south to participate in the the probing of the commission.”