Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa has called for practical attitudinal change and collective actions as preventive tools in the fight against economic and financial crimes.
He made this call in Abuja on Thursday, 28 July, 2022 while delivering a Keynote Address at the Chatham House African Programme Conference, theme “Towards Collective Action On Corruption In Nigeria: Linking Evidence and Practice in Support of Attitudinal Change”
According to him, “behavioural and social norms are the drivers to our daily response to issues, which collectively impacts society, either positively or otherwise”.
He admitted that issues of economic and financial crimes have caused reputational damage to Nigeria and Nigerians across the world but acknowledged the bold, decisive and far-reaching efforts of the government in breaking the strongholds of the crimes in the land. “This audacious task of government is exhibited in the clear political will to deal with the issues frontally, to show its understanding of the problem, the government came up with the mantra; if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill us”
Bawa advocated a multiple-pronged approach to solving the corruption problem, pointing out that the EFCC has always employed such a mechanism in addressing the menace of economic and financial crimes. “The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is conscious of its mandate and the need to adopt multiple approaches in its fight against corruption, money laundering, economic and financial crimes. These approaches revolve around the brick-and –mortal surveillance, investigation and prosecution processes and mechanisms that centre on attitudinal and behavioural changes that can serve as preventive tools in the fight against this malaise.”
Another approach the EFCC’s boss advocated is the use of social media to push for more vigorous citizen engagement in the fight against corruption. “We must look beyond the traditional approaches to citizens’ engagement and extend to new frontiers, such as the digital space. Social media offers a delicate but helpful outlier for participation by citizens in the fight against corruption”, he said.
Highlighting the success of the EFCC in previous years, Bawa added that “The Commission set yet another record of convictions in 2021, where it recorded Two Thousand Two Hundred and Twenty-Two(2220) convictions, representing a 127.5 percent improvement over the 2019 record. The 2021 conviction record represents a 98.49 percent success rate in prosecution, as the Commission lost only 34 cases during this period.”
He further urged Nigerians to push for accountability of the anti-corruption agencies by demanding for more appropriate counter measures and taking an active interest in the affairs of even the agencies themselves using the whistle blowing policy of the Nigerian government.
The Conference paraded a cream of accomplished professionals, including Dr Alex Vines OBE, Managing Director, Ethics, Risk and Resilience and Director, African Programme, Chatham House; Professor Olatunde Babawale, Provost, Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria, ACAN, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, among others.