The United States government says the economic and financial crimes commission (EFCC) led by Abdulrasheed Bawa, no longer prosecutes high-profile persons who are corrupt.
Washington says president Muhammadu Buhari administration much touted war on corruption spearheaded Bawa’s EFCC is now targeted at mainly “low-level” and “mid-level” fraudsters, especially corrupt government officials.
The United States made the assertion in its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.
According to the report, Nigeria’s foremost anti-graft agency has abandoned big corruption cases to focus on prosecuting small-time fraudsters.
“The bulk of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s anti-corruption efforts remained focused on low- and mid-level government officials,” stated the report.
While admitting that both EFCC and ICPC have commenced prosecution of active and former high-level government officials, the U.S. government averred that the corruption cases, especially the high-profile ones, have been stalled by judicial red-tapism and slow criminal justice system.
Last September, the EFCC chairman declined to disclose the identity of Boko Haram sponsors and other terrorism acts in Nigeria, fuelling misgivings on the agency’s genuine efforts to tackle high-profile cases and end a decade-long terrorism that threatens Nigeria’s sovereignty.
Nigerians have accused the agency of chasing after low-level internet fraudsters, while the U.S. government has had to go after high-profile corrupt officials, citing the case of disgraced police chief Abba Kyari and Governor Dapo Abiodun’s moneybag Bidemi Rufai.
Recently, the EFCC also became notorious for his gestapo style of raiding hotels and homes of suspected internet fraudsters. The EFCC operatives broke down doors of hotel guests in the dead of the night and sometimes opened fire on on them, sexual harassment of women by groping them in the genitals was also rife.