CSO protests over Tinubu’s flagrant breach appointment of EFCC Chair, Olukoyede


….demands Senate to disregard Tinubu’s nomination for screening

A Civil Society Organization, Center for Democracy and Human Rights, CEDEHUR, Tuesday, protested over President Bola Tinubu’s flagrant breach of appointment of Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ola Olukoyede.

The protest attracted hundreds of Nigerians at the gate of the National Assembly, and was led by the Secretary General, CEDEHUR, Adebayo Gorry.

The protesters were seen carrying placards with different inscriptions, some read ‘Tribalism Kills A Nation Stop It; ‘We don’t want EFCC Nominee’; Oga Presido, do the right thing’, EFCC stands for due process’, and others.

The protesters who attracted the attention of NASS members, staff and visitors expressed their concern based on the fact that Tinubu violated the Extant Laws of the EFCC, and demanded he must do the right thing by following due process.

Meanwhile, Gorry in a petition with subject ‘LETTER OF PETITION ON THE RECENT APPOINTMENT OF MR OLA OLUKOYEDE AS CHAIRMAN OF THE ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIMES COMMISSION (EFCC) CONTRARY TO THE EXTANT LAWS, THE (ESTABLISHMENT) ACT 20O4 OF THE COMMISSION’ and addressed to the President of the Senate, said the President is not above laid down laws governing appointment of EFCC Chair, hence he has disappointed the country and must revert to do what the law states.

He said: “We write to draw your attention to the gross violation of the extant laws, which is the Establishment Act 2004 of the Economic and  Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in appointing Mr Ola Olukoyede as Chairman of the Commission on Thursday, October 12, 2023.

“The action of President Bola Tinubu in making the appointment of Mr Olukoyede into such a high office with enormous responsibility as the Chairman of the EFCC in flagrant breach of the provisions of the laws of the parliament is contrary to the oath he took on May 29, 2023 to protect and defend the laws of the nation.

“It is important to note that the EFCC Extant laws remain sacrosanct and needed to be strictly adhered to before going ahead to appoint a chairman for the Commission. President Tinubu as the number one citizen, whose office is the creation of the law, needs to comply with the EFCC Extant Laws and not be seen to set a wrong precedence for successive administrations in making his appointment, which can slip the country into a state of anarchy.

In our quest to see that the right thing is done, we have made our findings on “Who qualifies to be the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the law state.

“According to the 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

“Mr Senate President, The provision above 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 Executive Chairman 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.”

He also pointed out that CEDEHUR’s investigation indicated that, “(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 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 Commission 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?

“It is against this backdrop that we write the petition and calling you to use your office to give this appointment the proper scrutiny it deserves and stop the flagrant disregard and breach of the provisions of the extant laws of the EFCC Establishment Act 2004.

“We believe you will give our petition the prompt action it deserves and save our nation from anarchy.”