•Says they can’t come from one zone
Chuks Okocha in Abuja
Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, has said it was not fair and equitable for the chairmen of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), to come from the same geopolitical zone.
Bolaji Olufunmileyi Owasanoye, a lawyer and human rights activist currently serves as the chairman of the ICPC.
Last week, on October 12, President Bola Tinubu, also appointed Mr Ola Olukoyede as the new EFCC boss for a renewable term of four years in the first instance, pending Senate confirmation
Olukoyede’s appointment followed the controversial resignation of his embattled predecessor, Abdulrasheed Bawa, who was suspended on June 14, and since detained by the Department of State Services (DSS) over “weighty” allegations of abuse of office.
Nonetheless, Olukoyede’s appointment has been met with criticisms, as many claimed he was not an Assistant Commissioner of Police and therefore not qualified to lead the EFCC.
Falana, while speaking in an interview yesterday in Abuja, explained that appointing the chairmen of the two anti-graft federal agencies in Nigeria from the same geopolitical zone was against the federal character principle.
Falana stressed that since the chairman of the EFCC came from the southern region, the northern region should have produced the chairman of the ICPC.
According to him, “If you are going to have the EFCC and the ICPC, the heads cannot come from same zone.”
Although he maintained that the new EFCC chairman, Olukoyede, was “eminently qualified” to head the anti-graft agency, having previously served as Chief of Staff to the EFCC Chairman (2016-2018) and Secretary to the Commission (2018-2023) as well as having 22 years cognate experience.
“If you are going to have the EFCC and the ICPC, the heads cannot come from same zone. If there are two positions in the public service, one must go to the North, one must go to the South.
“If there are four, two must go to the South, two must go to the North. If there are six, one must go to each geopolitical zone. That is the law in Nigeria today.
“So, I am not comfortable with the fact that the heads of the EFCC and the ICPC are from the same zone. Apart from that, Mr Ola Olukoyede is eminently qualified to head the EFCC.
“My colleagues, who have criticised the appointment, have not looked at the relevant provisions of the EFCC, which is Section 2,” he said.