A Civil Society Group, Center for Democracy and Human Rights, CEDEHUR, weekend, accused President Bola Tinubu, for alleged gross violation of Extant Laws of the Economic and Financial Commission, EFCC, by appointing Mr Ola Olukoyede as Chairman of the Commission on Thursday last week.
The National Secretary, CEDEHUR, Adebayo Ogorry, pointed out that Tinubu allegedly failed to understand that the EFCC Extant laws remain sacrosanct and needed to be strictly adhered to before going ahead to appoint Olukoyede chairman for the Commission.
According Ogorry, Tinubu needs to comply with the EFCC Extant Laws and immediately cancel the appointment of Olukoyede as EFCC’s Chairman, if not he stands to set a wrong precedence for successive administrations, and warned that his action will slip into anarchy.
It will be recalled that on Thursday last week, President Bola Tinubu appointed Mr. Ola Olukoyede to serve as the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission pending Senate confirmation.
He said: “Who qualifies to be the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission?
“To answer this poser, recourse will be made to the highlighted extant provision of the EFCC Establishment Act, 2004: (1) The Commission shall consist of the following members-(a)A chairman, who shall-(i)be the Chief Executive and Accounting officer of the Commission(ii) be a serving or retired member of any government security or law enforcement agency not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police or equivalent; and(iii) Possess not less than 15 years cognate experience
“The provision is very clear and unambiguous. The functions of the EFCC are not civil in nature. Hence it is a paramilitary organization. That is the rationale behind the inclusion of the police ranking system and its equivalent in other law enforcement agencies as one of the prerequisites for attaining the position of the Executive Chairman.
“Secondly, the person sought to be appointed must not only be a member of the law enforcement family, he must also have 15 years cognate experience. In other words, the person must have the knowledge, skills and abilities in the professional law enforcement activity.
“This section simply means that not all members of the police force, other Forces and indeed the EFCC can be the EC of the EFCC. A pilot, medical personnel, Admin officer, etc who have 15 years police or paramilitary service, are ordinarily devoid of the cognate experience of enforcing the laws of the EFCC.
“This much is gleaned from Section 8 (5) of the EFCC Act which states that: …..all officers involved in the enforcement of the Act shall have the same powers, authorities, privileges (including power to bear arms) as are given by law to members of the Nigerian Police.
“The words that are underlined simply mean that not all officers or members are involved in the enforcement of the EFCC Act. This is not strange as the EFCC started as a new agency lacking in manpower across the board.
“Therefore, there was a massive recruitment and secondment of personnel of staff from sister agencies to boost the personnel capacity of the EFCC. In other words, there were different entry points. However, the EFCC in its wisdom consciously differentiated all the staff.
“To further buttress this point, the EFCC simply identified the officers who are beneficiaries of Section 8 (5) of the EFCC Act and issued them with a warrant card. Evidently, the officers who do not possess a warrant card are not regarded as equivalent to police officers as envisioned by the EFCC Establishment Act.
“To put it in context, there are various members of the law enforcement agencies and Military
organisations that are civilians and cannot take on the headship. Examples of these abound in the Nigerian Army and Nigerian Police Force. A person who serves in the EFCC as Chief of Staff (personal staff of the Chairman) or secretary has no law enforcement training as envisioned by the EFCC Act. Just like, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) may consider appointing a non-Police personnel in his office to carry out certain work.
“That does not make the civilian a member of the Police Force in the context of appointment to the headship. Also, a civilian Police pay officer who works with the Police does not become a member of the Police force in the context of appointment as IGP.
“Any appointment that is contrary to the provisions of the Extant EFCC Establishment Act is an assault on the National Assembly which is the constitutional organ responsible for making laws.
“If the Executive is uncomfortable with a provision, the appropriate action will be to beckon on the National Assembly to amend or repeal such provisions. To let such infractions slide is a call to anarchy.”
Meanwhile, the group also alleged that the nominee, Olukoyede is not a personnel that rose through the ranks that make him deserve the proposed appointment based on his track record of service on his entry and positions held before his nomination by President Bola Tinubu to be the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The CSO asserted that, “He (Olukoyede) was appointed as Chief of staff to the erstwhile Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, and he served in that capacity from 2016 to 2018.
‘He was later appointed the Commission Secretary and he served in that capacity from 2018 to 2019 before he was suspended from Office, and we gathered that same indicted both principal officers were never re-absorbed back to the Commission.
“Dramatically, Olukoyede has been appointed as the new Executive Chairman of EFCC, and we also gathered he was recently invited by the EFCC, and sudden.
“We have been reliably informed that his offences has been written off, while his salaries and benefits suspended will be all paid while he was on suspension.
“In fact, we are all aware of Olukoyede spending eight years at the Commissio between 2016 to 2023.
“We also queried that how did he manufactured additional 15 cognate years experience as contained in as required by law to as contained in Section 2 (1)(iii) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Establishment Act, 2004?”, Ogorry queried