President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday in Abuja admonished the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to avoid being used for partisan politics or to settle personal disputes.
The President, who gave the warning at the unveiling of EFCC’s Standard Operating Procedures, Policies and Manuals, at the State House, urged the Commission to focus on serving the nation and entrenching good governance.
He advised leaders and all operatives of the commission to resist the temptation of being influenced by political actors for personal gains.
“I must advise the leadership and operatives of this Commission to resist the temptation of being used for partisan politics or be dragged into personal disputes.
“Your job is to serve the nation in its efforts to entrench good governance,’’ he said.
The president commended the leadership of EFCC for securing 2,220 convictions within one year and recovering over N152billion and $385million.
“I am glad to note that the war against corruption, which is one of the cardinal objectives of this administration, is being strengthened.
“This is being done through the institutionalisation of operational procedures particularly as they form the building blocks of transparency and accountability in administration and public expenditure,’’ he said.
Buhari commended EFCC chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, for efforts to further institutionalise the commission by developing 26 Standard Operating Procedures and 25 Policies and Manuals for the Departments, Units and Staff of the Commission.
He also appreciated the support of the Board, management and staff of the commission.
The President called on other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), especially law enforcement agencies, to also ensure the standardisation of their processes within the extant laws and regulations.
“I need not underscore the importance of today’s occasion but let me remind you that the stakes are high but national expectations are higher.
“Therefore, we must continue to strive and deal decisively with matters in accordance with the rule of law”, Buhari said.
He said government would continue to accord all necessary support to MDAs in order to ensure the sustainability of the initiatives already commenced in actualising the vision of a corruption-free society.
“Let me conclude by saying that the fight against economic and financial crimes in Nigeria is a collective responsibility of all Nigerians if we are to make meaningful progress as a nation.
“I invite you all to fight corruption in all its ramifications and join us to entrench good governance values and integrity within all our systems.
“As I have often said, “If we do not kill corruption, corruption will kill us as a nation,” he said.
According to the President, the development of the standards demonstrates the commitment of this administration to the fight against corruption and the acceptance of transparency and willingness to be subjected to scrutiny.
“This is a confirmation of national efforts against graft.
“I understand from your remarks, Mr chairman, that these are the first collection of policy documents ever developed in the eighteen years of the Commission’s existence.
“These are indeed remarkable achievements and are very commendable,’’ he said.
The President assured of a rules-based system in government business and the provision of the enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
“You may recall ladies and gentlemen, that since we came into power in 2015, we have consistently demonstrated the necessary political will to fight corruption.
“We have ensured the operational independence of the anti-graft agencies, strengthened the legal framework, empowered the regulatory agencies and provided adequate funding to support the fight against corruption,’’ he said.
The chairman of EFCC earlier said the agency was undergoing various phases of reforms, including the production of the manual, to reposition it for the task of fighting financial crimes in the country.
The chairman thanked Buhari and the National Assembly for the confidence reposed on his ability and competence to take over the leadership of the organisation.
Bawa said departments had been reorganised and upgraded, including intelligence gathering, training and the academic institutions, to meet the demands of the job.
He said that a software had been developed for operations, and a mobile app, “The Evil Eye’’, deployed for ease of reporting economic and financial crimes.
He said the EFCC already had a five-year (2021-2025) strategic plan with clear and measurable targets, based on five objectives.
According to him, the objectives include improving public engagement to fight crimes, systems and processes for prevention, intelligence gathering, prosecution and law enforcement.
“I will lead an agency that will be the pride of our country, Nigeria,’’ he said.