The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, has expressed support for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in its crusade against economic and financial crimes and other acts of corruption, stressing that the Commission is pivotal to President Bola Tinubu’s plan to entrench a culture of accountability in governance.

He stated this in Ilorin, Kwara State on Thursday, December 21, 2023 at the commissioning of the new office complex of the Ilorin Zonal Command of the EFCC. Fagbemi stated that Tinubu was determined to free Nigeria from the grip of corruption, noting that the EFCC was pivotal to the actualization of the plan. “The EFCC is pivotal in the Tinubu administration’s plan to remove impediment to accountability in governing institutions and strengthening mechanisms and platforms by which Nigerians can hold public officers to account”, he said.

He further stated that the recovery and repatriation of Nigeria stolen wealth was an issue of great concern to the administration stressing that, “the EFCC is expected to continue to lead the charge to trace, recover and facilitate the return of our stolen wealth.” To achieve this, the AGF hinted at the government's plans to embark on reforms aimed at strengthening legal frameworks geared towards improving the Commission’s investigation and assets recovery efforts.

The chief law officer of the nation reminded officers of the Commission of their obligations to always conduct their affairs strictly in accordance with the rule of law. “Beyond providing accommodation for the personnel of the Commission, it is the contemplation of this administration to remove every institutional and legal obstacle encumbering the Commission. Myself and the Executive Chairman, Ola Olukoyede are in accord on this, and I hope all personnel of the Commission will appreciate the fact that corruption is best fought within the ambit of the law”, he said.

Earlier in his welcome address, Executive Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ola Olukoyede charged officers of the Commission to be steadfast in their efforts to sanitise the business environment and support the nation’s drive to attract foreign direct investment, FDI, by tackling economic and financial crimes of all hues, stressing that there would be no excuse for non-performance.

Olukoyede used the occasion to reiterate his commitment to refocus the anti-corruption war by adopting modalities capable of stimulating economic growth and development in the overall interests of Nigerians.

He described the commissioning of the Ilorin Zonal Command’s office complex as “a dream come true”, pointing out that the occasion was a fulfilment of a promise he made a few days ago when he was in Ilorin on a familiarisation visit.

He recalled that the office, which was established in 2019, began operation from a rented apartment not too far from the new site, noting that the desire to have a more secured environment for operational and administrative works informed the commissioning of the new office.

The EFCC boss commended the Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq for his contribution to the successful delivery of the project. He also acknowledged the support of the Presidency and the National Assembly in appropriating funds for the completion of the project.

He further stated that “the anti-corruption thrust of the present administration is backed with political will” and assured that “the EFCC is ready to carry on with the fight in accordance with the rule of law.”

The EFCC Chair while commending the Ilorin Zonal Command for the successes recorded particularly in the mining sector, urged officers of the Commission to intensify efforts on the actualization of the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Tinubu administration in the solid minerals sector. “I expect to see more vigorous enforcement of the law against illegal miners to ensure the actualisation of the Renewed Hope Agenda of the Bola Tinubu administration in the solid minerals sector”, he said.

In his goodwill message, Kwara State governor Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq noted that the fight against corruption “is a national campaign that we must all support, especially at institutional levels' '. Abdulrahman, who is also the Chairman, Nigeria Governors' Forum said that his administration recently organised a three-day intensive training on Compliance with Anti-Corruption Policies and Financial Regulatory Frameworks to keep commissioners, permanent secretaries, and other top government officials abreast of key issues in public financial management, sustainability reporting, and tax frauds, among others. 

He stated further that, “erecting strong mechanisms to prevent the commission of crime, having the right legal framework and networks to checkmate corrupt practices, and striking the right balance between the public’s right to know of anti-corruption efforts of the government and actually recovering looted funds through strategic partnerships have been a bold feature of the President’s agenda to fight graft in a sustainable way.”

While congratulating the EFCC on the feat of having its Zonal Office in Ilorin, the governor praised the Commission’s efforts in tackling all shades of financial crimes. 

The newly commissioned office complex, apart from providing office accommodation for all categories of staff, also has purpose-built interrogation rooms, holding facility for suspects, and canteen that serves the needs of both personnel and suspects in detention.

The event was graced by eminent personalities across the country including members of the state’s executive council, federal and state legislators, heads of security and law enforcement agencies, heads of government corporation and agencies, captains of industries and the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari.


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