By Samuel Adeyinka (Abuja)
Nigeria’s two leading anti-graft agencies vow to tackle corruption head-on, saying there is no place for the corrupt in the present government.
Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr Ola Olukoyede stated this when the chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, Dr. Musa Aliyu paid him a courtesy visit at the corporate headquarters of the commission in Abuja.
He gave assurance that there would be no hiding place for the corrupt in Nigeria, given the political will of President Bola Tinubu to tackle economic, and financial crimes and other acts of corruption head-on.
According to Mr Olukoyede, President Tinubu is offering the right atmosphere for anti-graft activities, both for the EFCC and ICPC and no Nigerian is immune to investigations for any corruption allegation.
“We believe that with the kind of President we have, who is ready and willing to do the right thing and from what we have seen in recent times and in the last 48 hours, it is clear that he has provided the political will and leadership and created the atmosphere for us to work. So there is no hiding place for the corrupt. We must give our best; we must be committed and give the President the right support he needs”.
He stressed, ”Nobody is too big to be investigated in this country. Once you are not playing according to the rules, we will investigate you”.
The EFCC boss further noted that the engagement with the ICPC was sending the right signals to the entire country that the anti-corruption agencies are coming together and extending hands of comradeship and fellowship to each other with a mind to work together.
Mr Olukoyede recalled that there was a subsisting memorandum of understanding, MoU, between both agencies.
“Today, the MoU is in place. It is going to be a living document that we can review from time to time to accommodate mutual interest.”
He pointed out that the enormity of cases both agencies are handling justified their independent existence and the need to increase the manpower of the agencies.
“Even with five anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria, we hardly can do more than scratch the surface. One anti-corruption agency in the US has a staff strength of about thirty-five thousand. I am not sure the staff strength of the EFCC and the ICPC put together will be up to seven thousand. Though people have been talking of duplication of responsibilities between the EFCC and ICPC, I don’t see it from that perspective. I see it from the perspective of the enormity of the work on our hands. When you are limited by staff strength and resources and there is still so much to be done, it becomes important to work together and see if we can move the country forward”, he said.
To reinforce his commitment to collaboration, the EFCC boss recalled that he reminded the Senate during his confirmation session about the overarching need for collaboration among the EFCC, ICPC, Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU, and Code of Conduct Tribunal.
In his remarks, the ICPC Chairman, Dr. Musa Aliyu stressed the need for understanding and synergy between his commission and the EFCC to stem the rate of corruption in the country.
“It is very important for us to work together. And we cannot work together without having a good relationship, that’s why I decided to extend hands of friendship to the EFCC so that we can see how we can work closely in helping this country to fight corruption. I am aware that there is an MoU between the ICPC and the EFCC”. He said.
Dr Musa explained that ICPC was ready to collaborate and partner with the EFCC.
The meeting was attended by top management staff of both commissions.