By Samuel Itsede
A non governmental organization. The Human Rights Writers Association has advocated for the appointment of the next Chairman of the EFCC from within its pioneer staff or Department of State Service.
According to it. “The best methodology to break the chain of inefficiency and lack of professionalism in the top echelons of the prime anti-corruption institution in Nigeria- The Economic and financial crimes commission (EFCC) is for president Muhammadu Buhari to appoint a distinguished serving officer of the Economic and financial crime commission (EFCC) from amongst the course one staff serving or retired or alternatively to appoint a reputable senior staff of the department of State services (DSS) to head the EFCC.
With these words, the prominent civil rights advocacy platform -: HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA ( HURIWA) has warned against appointment of another police operative or the return of the suspended acting Chairman (Ibrahim Magu) to head the EFCC.
“Unfortunately the trends and erroneous trajectories of the appointments of all the past-Chairmen of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as recently claimed by a public affairs commentator and we in HURIWA hereby repeat that this cocktails of mistakes of picking policemen/Woman to head EFCC has now revealed that they are totally and comprehensively unsuitable”.
The group observed that as the investigations by the Justice Ayo Salami goes on, there have been a groundswell of protests by rational Nigerians to rescue the EFCC from the enslavement of the Nigerian Police Force.
Chairman of EFCC must not be a police officer again and rather a civilian and a trained detective who can carry out the functions of the Commission with professionalism and in line with the due process of the law should we appointed.
“HURIWA hereby recommend that if the Pioneer course one officers can’t produce the substantive Chairman of EFCC for whatever reason, then the President can look towards EFCC/NDLEA to head EFCC and we say it here that we are of the firm belief that not only police officer can and or must be appointed as Chairman of EFCC. Indeed there ought to be an official legislative embargo against appointing a police officer to head the EFCC because once beaten, twice shy.”
HURIWA stated that going by the enabling Act, it is not compulsory that the Nigerian Police Force must produce the head of EFCC because the legal frameworks setting up EFCC is unambiguous and states that a person with law enforcement background and not policing background must head the EFCC. Section (1) of the EFCC Act states thus: “The Commission shall consist of the following members-
A Chairman, who shall- be the Chief Executive and Accounting Officer of the Commission;
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 by subsection 3 of the section 2 of the Act, it provides as follows:(3) The Chairman and members of the Commission other than ex-officio members shall be appointed by the President and the appointment shall be subject to confirmation of the Senate’.
“Emphasis is on a serving member of any government security or retired member of any government security or
a serving law enforcement agency not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police or its equivalent; or
a retired law enforcement agency not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police or its equivalent. According to the classification, an Assistant Commissioner of Police is on level 15, so any law enforcement officer of level 15 is suitable to be appointed as Chairman of EFCC.
HURIWA hereby states that the Chairman of the Commission (EFCC) should and must not be restricted to a police officer as the Act in section 2(1)(b) recommends either a serving member of any government security or any any retired member of any government security as can as well be appointed as Chairman of the Commission even as the Rights group said that those constituting the National Security Agencies of Nigeria are listed as only three (3) in numbers under the National Security Agencies Act, 2004 (as amended).
“We note tuat the Preamble to the National Securities Act, provides thus: ‘An Act to disband the Nigeria Security Organisation and to create three security agencies, charging each with the conduct of the relevant aspect of the National Security and other related matters’. Section 1 of the Act lists these three security agencies as follows:There shall, for the effective conduct of national security, be established the following National Security Agencies, that is to say-the Defence Intelligence Agency;the National Intelligence Agency; andthe State Security Service. Our humble submission is that a reputable senior staff of EFCC or a non-police staff of EFCC be appointed as substantive Chairman of EFCC. The person to be so appointed should have a legal and/or HUMAN RIGHTS backgrounds so the EFCC will operate in strict compliance with the Constitution and to use only rights-based and law-oriented methodologies to wage determined and transparent war against corruption and abuse of office”.