EFCC retrieved stolen N60b, $10m in six months, says Chairman

By Ologeh Joseph Chibu and Adewale Ikusagba

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC,) has retrieved a total of N60b and another $10m in the past six months, the Chairman of the Commission Olanipekun Olukoyede has said.

The funds were stolen by corrupt officials

The EFCC boss spoke at the 23th Anniversary of the Human and Environmental Development Agenda, (HEDA Resource Centre) held in Lagos on Saturday.

Marked ” Celebrating 23 of Impact,”, the event was to celebrate the well known contributions of Nigeria’s most vociferous anti-graft group.

Dignitaries included Hon Justice Latifat Okunnu, Prof Ayo Atsenuwa, Country Director, OXFAM in Nigeria, Mr Hamza Tijani, Prof Shehu Abdullahi, Independent and Corrupt Practices Commission, (ICPC) representative Dr. Musa Aliyu, (SAN), Dr Muiz Banire (SAN), Prof Adele Jinadu and a several leaders of civil society organisations.

Olukoyede said a lot of progress has been made since he took over the leadership of the anti-corruption institution.

He said Nigeria needs to fight corruption decisively to lift the country from underdevelopment to prosperity.

He said the EFCC has now designed a template for MDAs including parastatals and politically exposed persons on procurement mechanism and contract awards framework that would make it easy to discover financial misconduct adding that he was delighted the template has received support from the Presidency.

He said fighting corruption is a collective responsibility. The country, he said needs a system that delivers economic dividends where power is used for public good and democracy is enriched by robust citizens’ participation.

Olukoyede called on Nigerians to resist attempts by corrupt individuals to lure them to protest in defence of their criminality anytime such individuals are charged to court.

HEDA Resource Centre is the leading anti-corruption organisation in Nigeria.

Speaking on the N7b laundered through a faith based group, Olukoyede said he did not mention any religious denomination, either Christian or Muslim, but was surprised how some Nigerians twisted the report to suit their own interests.

He said though the EFCC got a restraining order not to investigate the faith-based group, but that the bank account of the offending group has been shut.

The EFCC boss described HEDA Resource Centre as one of the most ‘prolific organisation, the most industrious’ on anti corruption in Nigeria based on its work and the number of petitions written by the group and its consistency and courage spanning over two decades.

Justice Okunnu said some of the important issues are to build strong institutions, ensure law and order, due process and justice for the people whose resources are managed by those they elected.

She advocated for actions that militate against climate change adding that Nigeria needs to create a greener environment with various parks and gardens that would create windows for Nigerians to let out their emotional, social and cultural depressions.

Muiz Banire, (SAN) said Nigeria needs to deal with corruption by all means.

“If we are able to tame corruption, no doubt, we will have good governance. We need rule of law, not rule of man,” he said

Speaking at the event, the Chairman, HEDA Resource Centre Mr Olanrewaju Suraju said the group will continue to campaign vigorously against corruption until Nigeria attains the status of least corrupt country in the world.

The Executive Secretary, Mr Arigbabu Sulaimon said HEDA Resource Centre was delighted that the impact of its work against corruption is acknowledged in Nigeria and across the world.

There were goodwill messages from numerous organisations at home and abroad including those who had partnered with HEDA Resource Centre all of who pay tributes to the glowing achievements, hardwork, dedication and commitment of the HEDA team in ther remarkable fight against corruption in Nigeria.

The occasion was flavoured with radical afro-music led by Sir Shyna and the Phoenix musical band with lyrics focusing on anti graft campaigns and calling for collective rebuff of corrupt social and economic misfits. The band leader, Mr Sina Odugbemi was a former Students Union President of the University of Ibadan in late 1980s.

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