The Nigerian Senate on February 24 confirmed President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointment of Abdulrasheed Bawa as the new chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC), marking the beginning of a new era for an organisation that has gone through nearly five years of leadership uncertainties and months of a probe that smeared its integrity.
Mr Bawa, a pioneer EFCC cadet officer from Course One of 2005, rose through the ranks to head the Ibadan, Port Harcourt and Lagos zonal offices of the commission at various times.
A graduate of Economics from the Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto, and holder of a Master’s degree in International Affairs and Diplomacy from the same university, Mr Bawa has garnered vast investigation experience since joining the EFCC in 2004.
His appointment comes with historic distinctions which he is expected to leverage on in steering the organisation in the right direction.
Here's what Nigerians are expecting from the new EFCC boss, according to Premium Times report;
Inependent working relationship with AGF, others
Of all the misgivings many Nigerians have expressed about Mr Bawa’s appointment as the new EFCC chair, none of them is as widespread and strongly held as the belief that the commission’s independence, under his watch, will be totally submitted to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
Impartial anti-corruption crusade
President Buhari rode to power on three key promises to address the insecurity in the country, redeem the economy and lead a never-seen-before anti-corruption war.
But almost six years down the line, President Buhari’s anti-corruption war is generally believed to be ineffective and one-sided over the years.
Many Nigerians believe that EFCC is generally by default, not inclined towards prosecuting powerful members of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) accused of infractions, but is eager to serve to be a witch-hunt tool against the opposition and critics of the current government.
Respect human rights, stop parade of arrested suspects
The EFCC under its former acting chairman, Ibrahim Magu, was often accused of disregard for human rights, by indulging in indiscriminate arrest of suspects and parading them publicly as criminals when they had not been convicted.
However, with the emergence of Mr Bawa, many Nigerians expect that the era of disregard for the rights of suspects should be done away with by the commission.
Extradition of corruption suspects at large
Another concern raised against the agency in the past is its failure to extradite corruption suspects who fled abroad to evade prosecution or stall investigation. This also is one critical area the new EFCC boss must improve upon.
Reversing the trend of losing anti-corruption cases
Many Nigerians also expect Mr Bawa to step up the commission’s investigations to ensure water-tight cases that can earn conviction and recovery of looted asset.
Stabilising and addressing internal lopsidedness
Nigerians also expect him to address internal lopsidedness in the agency among which is appointment of zonal heads with officials of higher grade levels made to report to them.
More accountable EFCC
A spectrum of Nigerians spoken to by Premium Times also wants the EFCC under Mr Bawa to be more accountable in management of recovered asset to avert suspicion that led to the establishment of the Ayo Salami panel to probe Mr Magu and the EFCC.
Interagency collaboration, asset recovery
Mr Bawa is also expected by Nigerians to collaborate effectively with other law enforcement and relevant agencies to ensure effective investigations, water-tight prosecution, and recovery of looted asset.
Making the public own the anti-corruption war
Mr Bawa has also been advised to prosecute the anti-corruption war with the support of the Nigerian public.
Be a hope for the youth
The emergence of the 40-year-old has been lauded by advocates of ‘youth in government’. Mr Bawa himself admitted he would be carrying the badge of the youth in his position as the EFCC chair. Hence, he must act according to his words because action speaks louder than word.