EFCC: COVID-19 Lockdown Impacted Our Operations for Five Months

Secures 865 convictions, received 10,152 petitions in 2020

By Kingsley Nwezeh

The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mohammed Umar Abba, yesterday said the lockdown imposed by government across the country following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic impacted operations of the anti-graft agency for five months.

He said the investigation initiated by government that led to the suspension of the former Acting Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, created anxiety amongst stakeholders.

He also disclosed that the commission secured 865 convictions from a total of 1,305 cases it filed in courts in 2020.

The EFCC boss said that a total of 7,340 cases were under investigation out of the 10,152 petitions received by the commission.

A statement issued by the commission reviewing the operations of the agency in 2020, said the commission’s projections anchored on a strategic vision were greatly slowed down by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The lockdown enforced as part of measures to stem the spread of the deadly virus precipitated a scale down of our operations.

“For more than five months, activities were at the lowest ebb in our 17-year history as an institution”, he said.

He said a reform process that led to leadership change in the commision created anxiety amongst Nigerians.

“Also, a reform process that witnessed a change in the leadership of the commission naturally created anxiety among critical stakeholders.”

On recoveries, the EFCC boss said the “commission also recorded humongous cash recoveries and seizure of a significant number of assets from persons indicted of corruption, following due legal process”.

Abba, who made the disclosure in his end-of-year message, also thanked the staff of the commission for their dedication, hard work and sacrifices in the discharge of their duties which contributed to the feat recorded in 2020.

He, however, said that the commission, in spite of the overwhelming odds, was still able to achieve significant milestones across the spectrum of its work.

Abba also expressed the desire to make the EFCC more effective through expansion of its activities, strengthening existing collaborations with other
law enforcement agencies, building new linkages with relevant stakeholders and improving on its processes and procedures.

The EFCC boss, who reassured staff of management’s commitment to their welfare at all times in order to ensure greater performance, stated that “as a dynamic and responsive organisation, we will continually engage staff and review policies to motivate all for greater performance. I am confident that we can face the future together.

“My faith is premised on our collective strength to uphold the oath which we took to rid Nigeria of corruption”, he said.

He maintained that “no adversity can shake this faith, as we look to the future with renewed zeal, holding aloft
the blazing flame of anti-corruption. “

He, therefore, also charged the staff to be more committed to the anti-graft campaign, adding that “if the EFCC fails, the fight against corruption in Nigeria is imperiled.”

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