Concerns Raised Over EFCC’s Handling of Alleged Fracas with NAF Personnel
Security experts have voiced apprehension regarding the approach taken by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in addressing its alleged clash with Nigerian Air Force (NAF) personnel in Kaduna.
The experts, in particular, expressed disapproval of EFCC’s inclination toward a media trial, especially when dealing with another government agency. They highlighted the need for the EFCC to explore alternative channels and avenues to resolve the matter rather than relying solely on public exposure.
According to the experts, regardless of the issue at hand, the EFCC should have initiated communication with the leadership of the NAF in Kaduna. If such attempts proved unsuccessful, engaging with the NAF headquarters in Abuja would have been a more prudent course of action, instead of resorting to seeking public sympathy before a thorough investigation had taken place.
One expert, Demola Mubarak, criticized the EFCC’s historical reliance on media trials and judgments, dating back several years, which, according to him, have not enhanced the agency’s professionalism or public image. Mubarak referred to a November 24, 2021 article in The Guardian by Sulaiman Aledeh titled ‘The EFCC gaffes, media trials and politics,’ where Aledeh attributed the EFCC’s media trial strategy to either “distrust in Nigeria’s judiciary or the absence of enough facts and evidence to charge the alleged people.”
Mubarak also drew attention to a poorly handled case involving students of Obafemi Awolowo University, as discussed by Sunday Ehigiator in a November 13, 2023 piece in ThisDay newspaper. The article criticized the EFCC’s strategy of public shaming without due profiling, stating that it fell short of global best practices.
Regarding the EFCC’s claim that NAF personnel attempted to release their colleagues from the Kaduna office, the experts unanimously deemed the anti-graft agency’s approach as unnecessary and uncalled for. They emphasized the importance of critical government agencies finding amicable ways to resolve issues involving their staff.
Commending the NAF and its leadership for their maturity in handling the matter without succumbing to the media show by the EFCC, the experts concluded by advising the EFCC to abandon its ineffective strategy of media trials. They stressed that such an approach not only degrades the operational standards of the agency but also amounts to a deliberate policy of intimidation. The experts asserted that the EFCC, as an agency of uncompromising standards, should reflect the country’s domestic and international image in the fight against corruption.