Sonala Should Apologize to Nigerians
The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has been drawn to an article by Sonala Olumhense entitled, EFCC: From Hope to Hogwash, which was published online by Saharareporters on Sunday October, 28, 2011. Olumhense in the ill-tempered piece appeared cross with the EFCC under the leadership of Ibrahim Lamorde for the singular (fallacious) reason that it failed to submit its Annual Report to the National Assembly by September 30, 2012 as demanded by law. This supposed failure, in Olumhense’s estimation, is evidence that Lamorde and the system which he runs is fraud.
He went ahead to make sweeping claim that Lamorde’s failure to submit the report was indicative that the EFCC Chief Executive is as much a fraud as the people he is pretending to be chasing about.
These are weighty and unsavoury conclusions which cannot be ignored, coming as they are from a columnist of Olumhense’s pedigree. Olumhense has over the years showed less than a passing interest in the fight against corruption In Nigeria. His interventions, through well considered and far-sighted commentaries have been invaluable. Indeed, he is considered a respected voice from the Diaspora, one of those who truly desire genuine change and positive development in Nigeria
However on this occasion, he falls miserably short of his own high standard by publishing an article that is anything but factual.
In the first place, Olumhense’s hubris is completely unfounded as it is predicated on a faulty foundation. The EFCC under Lamorde has not violated any law that it is supposed to comply with. Contrary to Olumhense’s claims, the Commission duly submitted its 2011 Annual Report to the National Assembly as demanded by Section 37 of the EFCC Establishment Act, 2004. That section of the Act states, that “”the Commission shall, not later than 30th September in each year, submit to the National Assembly, a report of its activities during the immediately preceding year and shall include in such report the audited account of the Commission”. This was done.
It is curious that a journalist of Olumhense’s experience made no attempt to verify his fact before publishing. In this instance, he neither sought to know from the Commission whether it had submitted the annual report nor did he verify from the National Assembly whether it was in receipt of the report. Had he done so, he would have saved himself the embarrassment of an article that is flawed and misleading.
Apparently Olumhense appeared fixated in his anticipation of the report, that he mistook the absence of ceremony in the fulfilment this statutory requirement as evidence of non-compliance.
Olumhense completely ruined what should have been an excellent treatise on the way forward in the anti- graft campaign by allowing his emotion to get the better of him over the issue of the EFCC Annual Report. But his anger was completely misplaced. Olumhense surely owes Lamorde an apology for doubting his professionalism. Everything the EFCC Chairman has done since he took the reins of the Commission’s leadership has been tailored towards restoring the Commission’s moral and professional integrity. From recalling some of the crack investigators that were asked to leave the Commission in its meltdown years, to investigating and prosecuting officers with integrity issues, to running integrity checks on all serving officers; Lamorde has had one thing in mind: Restoring the professional health of the Commission.
The result of this initiative is evident even to cynics. Many of the International partners that abandoned the commission in its testy years are back. The Commission now enjoys the confidence of law enforcement organizations around the globe, opening up fresh windows of cooperation and collaboration that have strengthened the fight against economic crimes and corruption in Nigeria.
More than 160 cases were investigated and charged to court in Lamorde’s first six months in charge, earning more than 30 convictions for the Commission. Some of the cases especially the ones relating to the mega scam in the oil subsidy regime affect highly influential individuals.
These are not the imprimatur of an anti-graft czar that “is as much a fraud as any of the people he is pretending to be chasing around”. Haba, Sonala!
There is no promise Lamorde has made concerning his current job which he has abandoned. Of course, those who have been carried away by the theatrics and drama that the Commission had come to be associated with in the recent past, may find it difficult to appreciate the professionalism of the EFCC under Lamorde. The era of high drama, the era of simply showing off and blowing hot air is gone. Real law enforcement the world over is serious business, and not one to be conducted on the pages of newspapers and television studios.
Mr. Sonala Olumhense: EFCC submitted its 2011 Annual Report, right on schedule to the two chambers of the Nigerian National Assembly, Thursday, 27th September, 2012. No fanfare. No drama. Run your checks and…apologise not just to Lamorde and his team that you so savaged in that piece, but to the millions of Nigerians who hang on to your every word, who you have unfortunately let down and led astray this time!
Ag. Head, Media & Publicity
Related Article :EFCC: From Hope To Hogwash By Sonala Olumhense