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    Buhari charges EFCC against political interference

    The President, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Friday, admonished the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to avoid being used for partisan politics or settle personal disputes.

    Buhari disclosed this at the State House in Abuja during the unveiling of the EFCC’s Standard Operating Procedures, Policies and Manuals.

    He urged the anti-graft agency to focus on serving the nation whilst entrenching good governance and equally advised its leadership including all operatives of the commission to resist the temptation of being influenced by political actors for personal gains.

    “I must advise the leadership and operatives of this commission to resist the temptation of being used for partisan politics or dragged into personal disputes.

    ‘’Your job is to serve the nation in its efforts to entrench good governance,’’ the president noted.

    Buhari commended the leadership of the EFCC for securing 2,220 convictions within one year and recovering over N152bn and $385m.

    “I am glad to note that the war against corruption, which is one of the cardinal objectives of this administration, is being strengthened.

    “This is being done through the institutionalisation of operational procedures particularly as they form the building blocks of transparency and accountability in administration and public expenditure,’’ he said.

    The president personally commended the EFCC chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, for efforts made in further institutionalising the agency by developing 26 Standard Operating Procedures and 25 Policies and Manuals for the Departments, Units and Staff of the commission.

    He also appreciated the support of the Board, Management and Staff of the commission, whilst calling on other Ministries, Departments and Agencies, especially Law Enforcement Agencies, to also ensure the standardisation of their processes within the extant laws and regulations.

    “I need not underscore the importance of today’s occasion, but let me remind you that the stakes are high but national expectations are higher.

    “Therefore, we must continue to strive and deal decisively with matters in accordance with the rule of law,’’ Buhari urged, stressing that the government would continue to accord all necessary support to the MDAs in order to ensure the sustainability of the initiatives already commenced in actualising the vision of a corruption-free society.

    He said, “Let me conclude by saying that the fight against economic and financial crimes in Nigeria is a collective responsibility of all Nigerians if we are to make meaningful progress as a nation.

    “I invite you all to fight corruption in all its ramifications and join us to entrench good governance values and integrity within all our systems.

    Buhari hit the punch line saying, “If we do not kill corruption, corruption will kill us as a nation’’.

    The chairman of the commission earlier said the agency was undergoing various phases of reforms, including the production of the manual, to reposition it for the task of fighting financial crimes in the country.

    He appreciated the president and the National Assembly for the confidence reposed in his ability and competence to take over the leadership of the organization.

    Bawa said departments had been reorganised and upgraded, including intelligence gathering, training, and the academic institutions, toward the fulfilment of the founding objectives of the anti-graft institutions.

    He added that software had been developed for operations, and a mobile app, “The Evil Eye’’, deployed for ease of reporting economic and financial crimes.

    He noted that the EFCC already had a five-year (2021-2025) strategic plan with clear and measurable targets, based on five objectives.

    According to him, the objectives remain: improving – public engagement to fight crimes; systems and processes for prevention; intelligence gathering; prosecution, and law enforcement.

    The chair summed up his speech, vowing to ‘’lead an agency that will be the pride of our country, Nigeria’’.

    NAN

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