Senate President Godswill Akpabio criticized the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), accusing the anti-graft agency of prioritizing sensationalism over rigorous investigations.
Akpabio made these remarks during the Senate’s screening and confirmation of the newly appointed EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, and the Commission’s Secretary, Muhammad Hammajoda, during a plenary session held on Wednesday.
Akpabio expressed his concerns, stating, “The reality is that the EFCC has engaged more in sensation than in real investigation.” He went on to recall previous incidents, including an attempt to tarnish his reputation ahead of the 2023 elections, and an operation where EFCC operatives broke into the residence of former Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha.
Akpabio shared his personal experience, mentioning that he had communicated to the EFCC, informing them that he could not respond to a frivolous petition. To his surprise, the EFCC Chairman’s office released this letter to the press, along with the chairman’s stamp, seemingly to embarrass him in light of the upcoming elections. However, Akpabio expressed his determination and triumph over the situation.
Akpabio raised concerns about the EFCC’s approach and suggested a comprehensive review of the EFCC’s legal framework, questioning whether the existing legislation allows the agency too much discretion. He criticized instances where the EFCC had arrested a former governor by seemingly deploying excessive force, breaking through roofs, and using firearms.
In conclusion, Akpabio urged the newly appointed EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, to adopt a different approach compared to some of his predecessors. He emphasized the importance of allowing individuals to defend themselves only after substantial evidence of wrongdoing has been established. President Bola Tinubu nominated Olukoyede and Hammajoda for the positions of Chairman and Secretary of the EFCC, respectively, and their appointments were subsequently confirmed by the Senate.