It is Unlawful to Appoint EFCC, ICPC Chairmen From Same Geopolitical Zone – Femi Falana Tells Tinubu

Human rights lawyer Mr. Femi Falana contends that the simultaneous appointment of chairmen for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) from the same geopolitical zone violates the Federal Character Principle.

Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, emphasized on a live TV program that adherence to the principle requires balance, suggesting that if the EFCC chairman is from the northern region, the ICPC chairman should be selected from the southern region. The present appointments of EFCC’s Mr. Ola Olukoyede and ICPC’s Prof Bolaji Owasanoye both hailing from the South-West geopolitical zone, according to Falana, raise legal concerns.

Condemning Tinubu’s appointment of Olukoyede as EFCC chairman who is also from the South-West just like the current ICPC chairman, Falana said, “There is no issue; the only issue that has been raised has to be considered by the government is that we have in this country, the Federal Character Commission Act and also by the virtue of Section 14 of the constitution, appointments must reflect Federal Character.

“If you are going to have the EFCC and the ICPC, the heads cannot come from same zone. If there are two positions in the public service, one must go to the North, and one must go to the South. If there are four, two must go to the South, and two must go to the North. If there are six, one must go to each geopolitical zone. That is the law in Nigeria today.”

“So, I am not comfortable with the fact that the heads of the EFCC and the ICPC are from the same zone. Apart from that, Mr Ola Olukoyede is eminently qualified to head the EFCC. My colleagues who have criticised the appointment have not looked at the relevant provisions of the EFCC which is Section 2”, he submitted.

Recall that on October 12, 2023, the President, Bola Tinubu appointed Mr Olukoyede as the new EFCC chairman amid controversies.

Mr Olukoyede’s appointment followed the controversial resignation of embattled ex-EFCC chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, who was suspended on June 14, 2023 and detained by the Department of State Services over allegations of abuse of office.