UPDATED: Senate confirms Olukoyede as EFCC chair

Sharon EboesomiOctober 18, 20233 min

Akpabio described EFCC as a persecuting agency as opposed to a prosecuting agency.

The Senate has screened and confirmed the appointment of Ola Olukoyede and Muhammad Hassan Hammajoda as Chairman and Secretary of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) respectively.

It also confirmed the nomination of Halima Shehu for the appointment of National Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer of the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP).

These confirmations were made at Wednesday’s plenary.

Recall that President Tinubu, last Thursday, approved the appointment of Olukoyede and Hammajoda.

Despite questions about his eligibility for the office, Olukoyede’s nomination by President Bola Tinubu was upheld.

During the screening, Olukoyede, in trying to state his resolve to spare no one accused of corruption, used Senate President Godswill Akpabio as an example for an investigation probing corruption.
He said, “If we are investigating the Senate President for example…” 
He had barely finished his statement when Senators burst into laughter.
In his reaction, Akpabio asked Olukoyede to refrain from using him as an illustration in the fight against corruption.
“I’m very glad that the nominee wants to use the Senate President as an example but Mr. nominee, leave the Senate President for now, look at this direction (pointing to the left side of the chamber).”

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Recall that the anti-graft agency is investigating Akpabio for allegedly stealing N108.1 billion following a petition raised by a lawyer and activist, Leo Ekpenyong.

Olukoyede also posited that many of Nigeria’s institutions and processes have been adversely affected by the financial crisis and vowed to halt it in accordance with the law and without fear or favor.

He further assured that anyone suspected of financial crimes would be investigated and if, found wanting, prosecuted regardless of their political affiliation as there would be no sacred cows in the fight against corruption.

“On the issue of investigating political opponents, we would find out if the person had committed financial crimes, and If he has, then I have cause to investigate him.

“If you are in the ruling party, and you dip your hands into what you are not supposed to, you will be called to question.

“If you are in the opposition and you swallow sandpaper that did not digest, you will also be called to question,” he stated.

On her part, Halima Shehu, who was nominated as the National Coordinator of NSIP, promised to act differently, particularly with regard to the selection of vulnerable Nigerians who meet the requirements to be integrated into the National Social Investment Programme’s (NSIP) key programmes across all 36 States of Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.

Meanwhile, Senate President Akpabio posited that the EFCC is more of a persecuting agency than a prosecuting agency, adding that the Act establishing the Commission will be reviewed.

“I don’t want to talk about the EFCC. We have the gavel in this chambers, and we will amend the (EFCC) Act to strengthen it and make the agency more effective,” he remarked.

Shortly after confirmation of the appointees, the Senate adjourned plenary to Tuesday, 24th October as the lawmakers immediately proceeded to Uyo, Akwa-Ibom for a 2-day retreat.

 

 

 

Sharon Eboesomi

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