Many concerned Nigerians have reacted to Abdulrasheed Bawa’s appointment, selected by President Muhammadu Buhari as the new Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Kemi Filani News had earlier reported that the President Muhammed, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, made this known to the public in a statement.
Bawa, via this announcement, becomes the youngest person and first non-police officer to head the anti-graft agency since it’s creation.
Following the announced appointment, an online media reported that Bawa had been arrested before on the grounds of uncleared sales of about 244 trucks that were seized by the Port Harcourt zonal office of the EFCC where he was working as the zonal leader.
In the report, he was arrested and detained by an anti-graft agency in 2019 for selling at least 244 trucks worth between N20-30 million each to his proxies at N100,000 per unit costing the country about N4.8 billion in potential loot recovery.
The report further disclosed that the trucks which were confiscated by the commission had not completed its forfeiture proceeding before Bawa allegedly disposed of them. This led the former EFCC Secretary, Ola Olukoyede, to challenge the new EFCC boss in 2019 after he received a complaint that Bawa was meddling with assets still undergoing forfeiture proceedings.
When asked about the truck, he claimed he was working on the directives of Magu but forgot to nail it in his statement.
Following the revelation, Nigerians seem to be opposing the appointment of Bawa s the EFCC boss, as most leaders from several regions of the country under the aegis of Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) rejected the appointment, declaring him unworthy to head the anti-corruption agency.
Stating this in a signed statement by Yinka Odumakin of the Afenifere, Chief Guy Ikokwu, Senator Bassey Hanshaw, and Dr. Isuwa Dogo accused Bawa, who was in charge of the Port Harcourt zonal office last year, of selling confiscated petrol trucks from suspected looters on auction to his proxies at ridiculous prices.
The leaders said: “President Muhammadu Buhari has for the second time in six years forwarded another nominee to the Senate for confirmation as the Chairman of EFCC. Anti-corruption is a star program of the President, and a large part of his following is owed to the anti-corruption propaganda on which a lot of Nigerians were sold.
“But walking the talk has been a challenge for the President as his first nominee, Ibrahim Magu, remained unconfirmed in almost five years because of the damning report of the Department of State Services on him which showed he is a man that should be running from anti-graft instead of looters running for him.
“As they are managing to clean up the Magu mess, he has put forward Mr. Abdulraheed Bawa as a replacement. But facts coming out about his latest nominee showed that the whole anti-corruption war is a joke that can only impress the unwary.
“The anti-graft agency is said by reports to have asked Abdulrasheed Bawa to lead its field office in Lagos with effect from August 8, despite a probe of his alleged theft of confiscated proceeds of ill-gotten loot at his previous appointment in Port Harcourt.
“Bawa was in charge of the Port Harcourt zonal office last year when dozens of petrol-bearing trucks that were confiscated from suspected looters were abruptly auctioned off to his proxies at ‘ridiculous prices.’
“Three of his junior colleagues who were alarmed by the sheer mismanagement of priced public assets and other suspicious acts of Mr. Bawa took immediate steps to curb his excesses by filing anonymous complaints to the headquarters in Abuja.
“He was said to have been subsequently arrested and detained for several days in Port Harcourt before Magu, erstwhile head of the agency, ordered his transfer to the agency’s training school in Abuja pending the conclusion of the investigation.”
However, Comrade Prince Kpokpogri, the Chairman of Anti-Corruption and Integrity Forum, while reacting to the questions regarding the appointment of the Bawa as new EFCC boss, said it was the best thing to have happened to the agency.
He added that Bawa’s 16 years of experience on the job would be an added advantage to the Crime-fighting agency.
He opines, “For us in the civil society, we are happy the President Muhammadu Buhari has considered Abdulrasheed Bawa fit to head EFCC. We have agitated severally that a career officer within the Commission should be given a chance. We are thanking President Muhammadu Buhari for giving us a listening ear.
“Having served and grew under all EFCC past chairpersons, starting with Nuhu Ribadu, who recruited the first set of civilians into EFCC (including Bawa) in 2005, the competence of Bawa is not in doubt.
“Bawa was trained by the FBI, KPMG, and many other institutions in the UK, United States, and Nigeria. Bawa has led a number of key corruption and financial crimes investigations, including the infamous case of former Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, the case of former Niger State Governor, Muazu Babangida Aliyu, and that of the controversial crude oil swap. He was also involved in the investigation of petroleum subsidy fraud (2012-2015).
“Bawa has headed EFCC zonal offices in Ibadan and Port Harcourt between June 2018 and December 2019. From Port Harcourt, Bawa was posted to Abuja as head of Capacity Development Division of the EFCC Academy, Karu.”
He also noted that the new appointee is someone with a listening ear who will always be ready to consult and carry all the stakeholders along.
“Having interacted and listened to him on several occasions, the new EFCC chair will bring about fresh air at EFCC,” Kpokpogri assured.
Nigerians have also taken to social media to react to Bawa’s appointment as the new EFCC chief.
See some reactions below;
@DanielRegha: “With all due respect, I believe a lot of people are more qualified than Abdulrasheed Bawa to become the next EFCC Lagos branch boss; I see no reason why someone who was arrested & exposed for his criminal act should occupy such an office. The govt should stop playing politics.”
@DigitalQueenn: “A trained EFCC investigator who was also formerly arrested by Magu’s EFCC for Oil Theft to replace Magu as EFCC Chairman. Wait, are you sure Ababakar Shakau’s name won’t be sent to the Senate for confirmation? Just asking.”
@oduhj1: “If there is a Senate for Nigeria, the confirmation will be denied, but there is none but a Buhari senate. Sad.”
@ola_olanath: “Must we accept this appointment? Is it only the North that must head the EFCC? Have we all been tied in one place at the mercies of this bad governance? Insane democracies, the citizens have a say. But here, those in power do anything they like without looking back. Things have to change.”
@MichaelBiafra: “Imagine people being selected from @NGRPresident since all this while; 1st it was chief of army staff who was fired for not leading the war against Boko Haram; now someone who is an official thief. Nigeria!”
@eebuchi: “My country, my beloved country! A criminal is appointed to pursue criminals. Let’s see what the Senate will do.”