The recent discharge and acquittal of Honourable Dimeji Bankole, erstwhile Speaker of House of Representatives, calls to question the efficacy or otherwise of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). In 2011, the commission made a big issue of Bankole’s arrest, creating a mole hill out of nothing by deploying virtually all police personnel available in Abuja to arrest just a single soul.
When he was arraigned in court, the road leading to the court and its main entrance were barricaded by fierce-looking riot policemen and other security forces, as if Abuja was under emergency rule. The gun-wielding policemen and other security personnel were everywhere within the court complex. Most Nigerians condemned this show of force to arrest just a single person, as if he is a common felon.
But EFCC’s “meticulousness” during Bankole’s arrest vanished in the two courts where he was docked. That a man could win in two different courts speaks volume of the inability of EFCC to prosecute cases, but rather engage in media war. While Bankole’s trial lasted, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) said he saw nothing wrong if Bankole borrowed to run the House of Representatives, he would and must have the means of payment. The war on corruption cannot be fought on the pages of newspapers but much on practical approaches to issues and not the personality involved, and more importantly is the record time at which this case was pursued.
Then, one begins to wonder why the trial of former governors like Joshua Dariye (Plateau), Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu), Mohammed Abdullahi (Nassarawa), Abubakar Audu (Kogi), etc has remained in a cul-de-sac. If, as EFCC would claim, the former governors are scuttling their trial by employing frivolous applications, is this endless? Or has EFCC lost the steam and/idea to pursue these cases?
EFCC should rise to the challenge by doing its homework before rushing someone to the court. This will guard against wasting tax payers’ resources. They should not act on the spur of the moment or on rumours. Instead, they should ensure rock-solid evidence that can secure a conviction before arraigning someone in court, and most importantly, not a media war. EFCC should be alive to its responsibilities, and not following the crowd.
Badejo Adedeji Nurudeen,
Surulere, Lagos State.