The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday, called for adequate funding to effectively combat financial crimes in Nigeria.
The Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ola Olukoyede, during his appearance before the House Committee on Financial Crimes, decried the non-release of budgetary allocation to the Commission.
Meanwhile, a former member of the House of Representatives and Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Crimes, Hon. Kayode Oladele, has commended the new Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ola Olukoyede, over the spate of policy changes he has recently embarked upon to promote the rule of law, transparency and enhance the operational efficiency at the country’s foremost anti-graft agency.
Olukoyede said that the consistent and substantial budgetary allocation to the commission would enable the EFCC to operate independently and efficiently.
“The commission faces some internal challenges which hinders it from carrying out its mandate due to limited funding,” he said.
He listed recruitment of qualified personnel, acquisition of modern technology, and development of necessary infrastructure as some of the challenges.
The Chairman of the Committee on Financial Crimes, Hon. Ginger Obinna, while responding, acknowledged the role of the EFCC in promoting transparency, accountability, and good governance and pledged the committee’s commitment to supporting the agency’s anti-corruption efforts.
Meanwhile, while addressing the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), who also came for their budget defence, the chairman said that the challenges the committee faces require not only vigilance but a strategic allocation of resources to empower the NFIU to effectively counteract illicit activities that undermine Nigeria’s economic well-being.
His words: “Our task is formidable, as financial crimes continue to evolve in sophistication and scale, posing a significant threat to the stability and growth of our economy. I extend my gratitude to each one of you for your commitment to this process. The budget we will review today is not merely a set of figures.
“It is a reflection of our dedication to creating an environment where our citizens can trust the financial institutions that drive our economic engine for growth and development. It is a pledge to provide the necessary resources to fortify our defenses against financial crimes”
The lawmaker also underscored several key considerations to be deliberated on the budgetary allocation for defense, in collaboration with the NFIU.
He elaborated on some key dimensions of the watchdog agencies’ roles: “Information Sharing and Collaboration: The NFIU plays a pivotal role in gathering, analyzing, and disseminating financial intelligence. Strengthening our collaboration with the NFIU is paramount. Allocating resources to enhance information-sharing capabilities will enable us to stay ahead of emerging threats and bolster our ability to investigate and prosecute financial crimes effectively.
“Capacity Building and Training: The evolving nature of financial crimes necessitates a continuous investment in the skills and capabilities of our personnel. By providing comprehensive training programs, we equip our teams with the expertise needed to navigate complex financial investigations and ensure a swift and effective response to illicit activities.
“Technology and Innovation: Financial criminals often exploit technological loopholes. Therefore, investing in state-of-the-art technologies is crucial. By staying abreast of technological advancements, we enhance our ability to detect and prevent financial crimes in an era dominated by digital transactions and cyber threats.”
Furthermore, he added: “Public-Private Partnerships: Collaboration between the public and private sectors is integral to our success. Allocating resources to foster public-private partnerships will strengthen our collective ability to combat financial crimes, leveraging the unique strengths and perspectives each sector brings to the table.
“International Cooperation: Financial crimes transcend borders. Working closely with international partners is imperative for tackling transnational financial crimes effectively. Allocating resources for international collaboration will enable us to share intelligence, coordinate efforts, and bring offenders to justice across jurisdictions.”
However, the chairman said that the decisions made regarding the budget today will shape the trajectory of the country’s financial defense strategy.
The Director and Chief Executive Officer, NFIU, Mr. Modibbo Haman Tukur, said that the agency is a leading intelligence agency in Nigeria and by the nature of their work, they are under obligation to keep everything about the agency as confidential.
Meanwhile, Hon. Kayode Oladele, the anti-corruption expert and erudite lawyer also stated that from all indications, Olukoyede has started very well, saying that the recent changes he is making to rejig the operations of the EFCC shows that he is on course to fulfill the mandate of the commission to curb corruption to tackle insecurity for Nigeria’s economic development.
The former federal lawmaker who once served as the Chief of Staff to the former Chairman of the EFCC, DIG Ibrahim Lamorde (rtd), stated this during an interview with journalists in Abuja on Tuesday.
He further commended President Bola Tinubu over Olukoyede’s appointment, adding that the President’s decision on the matter was a right step in the right direction.
He said, “I commend the President for finding him worthy of the appointment giving his pedigree, knowledge and experience. Olukoyede has started very well and there is the need to commend him over his giant strides since he assumed office as the EFCC Chairman.
Juliet Akoje in Abuja