Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ola Olukoyede, has called for greater collaboration among agencies, organizations and the international community in the fight against economic and financial crimes and other acts of corruption.
He made the call on Friday, December 8, 2023 in Abuja at a One-day seminar to commemorate the 2023 International Anti-Corruption Day. At the seminar, put together by the Inter-Agency Task Team, IATT, in collaboration with the European Union, EU, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, IDEA, Rule Of Law and Anti-Corruption, ROLAC, the United Nations Office On Drugs and Crimes, UNODC and MacArthur Foundation, Olukoyede stated that the EFCC alone nor any other agency in the business of fighting corruption cannot operate without collaborating with others to achieve greater results.
The EFCC boss spoke through Director Operations of the Commission, Abdulkarim Chukkol and explained that “collaboration speaks strongly to the fact that neither the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, nor any other agency in the business of fighting corruption can do it alone. The multi-dimensional nature of corruption and sophisticated tactics which anti-social elements now deploy in ensuring that they defraud others or expropriate our commonwealth and protect the proceeds of their crimes for themselves and families make collaboration compelling.”
He further stressed that the theme of the event “Uniting the World against corruption” was appropriate, adding that it resonated loudly with the celebration of twenty years of United Nations Convention Against Corruption, UNCAC, being the legally- binding multilateral anti-corruption protocol adopted by the United Nations member states in 2003. He identified corruption as an existential threat, fatal to the survival of nations and their people, adding that the only one option left for the global community is to unite in battle against it.
“The world understands that corruption can be hedged in, and as such have at various times fashioned bilateral and multilateral treaties and protocols as instruments of warfare against the scourge. What should be of great concern is the enhancement of the global counter instruments, bringing them continuously up to a cutting edge that would make it impossible for anti-social elements who operate in trans-border rings to evade or circumvent them.”
He urged the global community to unite and work together in the fight against corruption through intelligence sharing, capacity building, field operation collaborations and renewed commitment to provide effective mutual legal assistance across jurisdiction.
He reiterated the EFCC’s resolve to ensure that corruption and the corrupt do not win against the country and the citizens, adding that “taking the corrupt down is a full scale war for us in the EFCC. Under my watch, the Commission will not pull its punches no matter who is involved. We will fight corruption with renewed energy and zeal.”
In her remark, representative of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Victoria Ojogbane, stated that December 9 “is the day designated globally to raise awareness on the negative effects of corruption on diverse aspects of our life and to restate commitment to the fight against corruption. This year represents twenty years of the adoption of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, UNCAC. Nigeria was one of the early signatories to the convention and has since shown commitment to the fight against corruption by making sure her treaty or deliberations are fulfilled”.
Director General, Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiatives, NEITI, Orji Ogonnaya Orji, called for renewed commitment from all stakeholders in the fight against corruption. “We need to review our commitment and approach to the war against corruption, our new approach requires global partnership, collaboration in sharing information and data, human capital development, passion and interest including inter-agency cooperation.” he said.
Representative of the United States, Jason Smith assured that the United States was committed to working with Nigeria and the international partners to reinforce anti-corruption efforts.
A debate was organized for some selected secondary school students to commemorate the anti-corruption day. Students from Government Girls Secondary School, GGSS, Dutse Abuja, emerged the overall winner.