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Friday, May 24, 2024

2023: Many politicians under watch — EFCC

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Many politicians are under the watch of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, had disclose this yesterday.

He confirmed that the agency had received petitions against some political actors in the country, even against those contesting in the 2023 elections.

“Of course, certainly, there are a lot of them (politicians) that we’re watching and a lot of Nigerians have also provided us with information here and there. We are watching and we want you to join them too and give us that piece of information, if you have any,” Bawa said.

Confirming that a flood of petitions have been received on many of the politicians contesting various political offices, Bawa said EFCC operatives have been painstaking in sieving through the petitions to ascertain those that are true and really deserving investigative efforts.

He said: “A lot of petitions left, right and centre, against almost every politician that is contesting for office, but what are we going to do at this hour? Do you want us now to invite one presidential candidate to come and make a statement? The same media is going to say it’s politically motivated.

“We’re working behind the scenes on all the petitions that we’ve received that have merit and I’m not politically motivated and that’s why in every command we have what is called Petition Vetting Committee, made up of officers from the Legal Department as well as officials that review these petitions, to see whether they are in line with our own mandate, before they now recommend whether they can be investigated by the EFCC.

“We even have a manual on that, on the criteria that you need to follow, that guide them in terms of coming to accepting or rejecting a petition.”

On the welfare of those on EFCC payroll, Bawa said President Muhammadu Buhari had since approved a robust severance package for staff of the commission as a way of boosting their efficiency.

He said: “About issues of temptation, we thank God for President Muhammadu Buhari, one of the first things that he did when I came on board was to approve for us a very robust severance package and everybody is happy about it in the EFCC, everybody is looking towards retirement. So, we are secured in that regard.

“And for those that yield to the temptations they face, we are dealing with them one at a time, as soon as we get the information and we investigate. Those we found wanting have been punished, some have been dismissed, some demoted and so on. S for the risks we face, we are very prayerful and God will continue to protect us.”

He said the Commission was doing everything possible to stop vote buying, disclosing that the EFCC was in talks with various stakeholders, including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), politicians and others.

He called on the public to join the battle to end the practice.

Bawa said: “We’re doing quite a lot on this; we are working with INEC, we are working with a lot of people, but ultimately, we want to work with Nigerians. Nigerian should know the implication of them selling their votes or accepting that their votes should be bought by these individuals.

“Already, because of what is ongoing now, a lot of people are scared about whether or not they can buy votes, whether or not people will be willing to sell their votes.

“We hope and pray that our modest efforts will be able to curtail this issue of vote buying when it comes to be in February and in March. God willing, we are working towards seeing that we contribute our quota to curtail. “

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