I was one of those who welcomed the appointment of Bawa as the new EFCC boss for several reasons. I will state just 2 for emphasis. First, the fact that his appointment meant that Magu was gone served as a huge relief for me. It was a huge mental scandal for me that in a country like Nigeria, a character like Magu was then the head of our anti-corruption agency.
Secondly, he was young and looked very coordinated. I was excited at the fact that after all said and done, an opportunity of that nature was given to a young person. This was a time to show the old guard that the young can do better.
At his screening, he was impressive. Unlike Magu who couldn’t get himself together to answer simple questions, Bawa was calm, coordinated and sounded highly knowledgeable. I watched the screening and I was happy that at least, someone better than Magu was chosen to replace him.
Of recent, I am beginning to question my earlier judgment of the EFCC boss considering the media reports on the operations of the EFCC. I had expected a more sophisticated form of operation that relied heavily on collaboration with financial institutions, remittance organizations and credible whistle blowers as the modus operandi of the EFCC under this new leadership.
I am shocked that breaking and entry has been adopted as the most effective strategy to fight cybercrimes populary known as yahoo-yahoo. We read reports about EFCC breaking into hotels at ungodly hours when people are at their most vulnerable state and harassing them with all the attendant psychological and emotional trauma that follows such invasions.
Dorothy of BBN narrated how they broke into her house in the dead of the night only to discover that it was the wrong apartment. Rather than tender an apology and make restitution, she was bullied into silence. Let us not even talk about the number of houses and hotels that had suffered such fate.
Somedays ago, a young lawyer I know shared pictures of how operatives of the EFCC jumped fence to enter his compound, broke down doors and harassed people without making any arrest. Probably that was another wrong call. As expected, no apologies or attempt to restore damaged property.
While the EFCC must be encouraged to stamp out financial crimes in our country, the manner of carrying that out should not be seen as draconian and lawless. This method has no place in 21st century crime fighting. Before you burst anyone, you must be sure that the target is right. I don’t think the FBI and CIA will burst into the wrong rooms in the middle of the night.
I encourage the EFCC under its new leadership to do things with more intellectual content and less of what we see today. A burst-up must always be for the target. Besides, introducing lifestyle audit and the collaborations I earlier mentioned can help us achieve more acceptable progress.
There is still time to change the narrative.