BY ANKELI EMMANUEL, Sokoto
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has, in Sokoto, faulted corruption as one of the principal reasons behind the desperation to travel out of Nigeria by most youths.
“If all things are working fine in the country, nobody would want to leave the country. We, therefore, want collaboration with Nigerians on how best to prevent economic and financial corruption to make our country better,” Mr. Tony Orilade stressed.
Orilade, who is the Head, Public Interface Unit, EFCC Headquarters, Abuja spoke while addressing newsmen and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) at the Sokoto Zonal Command office of the Commission.
While noting that EFCC alone cannot fight economic and financial crimes in Nigeria, Mr. Orilade further appealed for collaborative efforts of all Nigerians to help them achieve their mission.
Supporting the call for collaboration towards preventing corruption in Nigeria, Aisha Muhammed, the EFCC’s Head of Orientation and Enlightenment Unit, Abuja said CSOs and CBOs are critical stakeholders in the struggle towards mitigating economic and financial crimes.
Aisha, who noted that cybercrimes remained one of the greatest crimes affecting Nigerian youths lately, added that they are dedicated to public enlightenment on the ills of corruption using diverse platforms and engaging with CSOs and CBOs as they are doing in Sokoto.
Responding to questions from newsmen, on whether or not plea bargain encourages corruption, ACE 1 Aliyu Yunusa said it’s an acceptable legal practice that the EFCC cannot say no to.
Aliyu Yunusa, who is the Zonal Commander of EFCC in charge of Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara States, however, added that plea bargain sometimes is dependent on the gravity of the corruption case involved.
On how recovered loots are used, the Zonal Commander, clarified that some of the funds are for individuals whose cases are reported to the commission by the petitioners.
He further added that those recoveries that are believed to have been looted from government are deposited in the Federal Government account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“Most of such monies are forfeited to the Federal Government after Court judgement,” he noted.
Talking on the challenges faced by EFCC in preventing corruption, the Deputy Zonal Commander, Adesola Amusan listed citizens non cooperation in investigations, lack of witnesses, religious and tribal sentiments as well as the laws which place huge constraints on effective prosecution of corrupt individuals.
“‘EFCC cannot be the prosecutor and at the same time be the witness. Sometimes, we lose cases due to technicality or absence of witnesses. This is also in addition to how both religion and tribalism affects investigation and prosecution of corruption cases.
“Most worrisome, is the fact that, our laws place the onus of proof of allegation of corruption on the prosecutor unlike in other climes where the accused is to prove his innocence beyond reasonable doubt,” Adesola decried.