Following the recommendation of the Justice Ayo Salami panel that police officers should be withdrawn from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, palpable seems to have taken over the commission, according to insider sources.
Course One officers, who are foundation members of the agency, but are not police officers, have been accused of pushing the panel to withdraw police from the EFCC.
The Salami panel, which was set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to probe allegations of impropriety in the commission, recommended the removal of Ibrahim Magu as the acting chairman and the disengagement of police officers from the agency.
Salami also told President Buhari while submitting the report of the panel last Friday, “It is also important to point out that at the moment, 970 policemen – 114 drivers, 641 mobile policemen and 215 operations, are on secondment to the EFCC. Therefore, an exit plan for the disengagement of the police and other personnel within two years from now should be considered. This will address the issue of no promotion of core staff for over nine years.”
CompassNG gathered that EFCC’s operations have always depended on the police for guidance and coordination, although the Department of State Services, DSS, helps with information gathering for the investigations.
An official of the commission who pleaded anonymity said, “The move for the disengagement of the police was instigated by the overzealous ambition of a few elite Course One officers, who feel that the police officers have served for 15 years and above. They want to control the agency. Unfortunately, the experienced ones among them are just a handful.
“Course One officers rooting for the discharge of the police are among the second batch of Course One, not the first batch. They have ignored the superiority of the first batch of officers and have lobbied themselves to be posted as zonal heads in flagrant disregard of the principles of regimentation. This breeds indiscipline. This will ruin the EFCC.”
Another official, who declined to be named for of “fears of repercussion,” said that the incumbent acting chairman, Mohammed Umar Abba, is “causing confusion” in the agency.
He said, “I can understand his lack of experience – the highest posting he has ever held was a DPO in a village – but he allowed the Course One officers to use him during the Salami panel proceedings, and he probably did not understand that the implications is that the police men and officers have overstayed at the agency.
They had been seconded to EFCC sicen 2003 and were the ones who pioneered the commission and also served as enforcement officers. Magu was one of them, although he was in the first batch.
Another source volunteered, “These police officers have attended many courses on money laundering and economic crimes, home and abroad, with huge amounts expended on them by the country.”
Another of the commission’s officials said that Magu was unfairly treated and has not been served justice, adding, “I have no desire to serve this country again,” insisting that Magu was not suspended because of any allegations of corruption.
He added, “Magu’s ill-treatment has shown that no one will be willing to sacrifice himself and his life to the fight against corruption in the future for fear of offending the political class, who are using their evil machination to manipulate the President.
“Those in government stole billions of naira to embark on a nationwide property craze, which the suspended chairman vowed to unravel. Some individuals also conspired to pull him out of the commission with a view to hiding their true nature. This is responsible for their current desperation to ensure he does not return to the commission for fear of reprisal.
“To understand the nature of the suspended chairman regarding corruption, only recently the National Assembly, during the commission’s budget defence, discovered that a whooping N6 billion was left in the coffers of the commission because of prudent management.”
Since its establishment in 2003, the commission has been headed by police officers; with its pioneer chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, his successor, Farida Waziri, and Ibrahim Larmode who took over from Waziri, leading the agency as police officers.
The police started losing influence at the commission when the probe of Magu began; this was just as the Inspector general of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had initially ordered the withdrawal of all the mobile policemen attached to the commission and later recalled key police officers at the commission.