Following the nomination of Abdulrasheed Bawa as the new chairman for EFCC by President Muhammadu Buhari, a general outcry has trailed Bawa’s new position.
Although a majority of the 3500 staffers of the commission have received the news with excitement, a few individuals have expressed some levels of disgruntlement.
However, despite the opposition from several camps, many Nigerians are thrilled and hopeful that he will reset the EFCC on a trajectory of professionalism, especially with his numerous accomplishments as a seasoned investigator.
Abdulrasheed Bawa initially started off as head of Port Harcourt and Lagos Zonal offices. Under his able supervision, these offices were able to secure over 227 convictions, notwithstanding the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
It will also be recalled that Bawa played a significant and invaluable role in the investigation of former Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke, leading to the recovery of assets worth millions of dollars.
He equally supervised the investigation of all the cases for the Ibadan Zonal office in which 113 were concluded and 54 charged to court within 6 months. During his reign as a lead investigator for the EFCC, he handled the case of Atlantic Energy Group (2014-2015) and recovered millions of dollars worth of properties in Nigeria, USA, Canada, UK, UAE and Switzerland. He also identified fraud of about ₦70 billion in the petroleum subsidy fraud (2012-2015), recovering billions of Naira and prosecuting several companies and recovered billions of Naira in the Crude Oil Swaps and OPA (2014-2015), among others.
So far, Abdulrasheed Bawa has received numerous awards in recognition of his investigative prowess and excellent leadership skills such as the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (Criminal Investigative Division) Appreciation in 2019. This award was in recognition of his significant contribution to a multi-agency effort led by the FBI to dismantle international business email compromise (BEC) schemes. This operation tagged, “Operation reWired” resulted in about 209 arrests around the world.
Other awards which he has received include:
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Merit Award
US Federal Bureau of Investigation (U.S. Department of Justice) Recognition Award (2019) for spearheading and facilitating a collaboration between the FBI and EFCC.
Even though all these achievements point to Bawa’s suitability for his new role as the EFCC chairman, there have been several disgruntled comments, hinting at an unconfirmed allegation of corruption which reared its head several years ago.
A few years ago, a legal practitioner, Mr. Olaniyi Adekanla, accused Bawa of confiscating dozens of petrol tankers and buying them at ridiculous prices. However, after a thorough investigation, he was declared innocent and the claims were duly dismissed.
Thus, it seems absurd that anyone would want to resurrect unconfirmed claims and project them as propaganda to slur Bawa’s recent appointment.
Asides his groundbreaking achievements as a Zonal officer and lead investigator, Mr Bawa is also the first non-policeman to chair the agency, thus disrupting a controversial 16-year tradition. As such, many Nigerians are hopeful that this difference will signify a change and new dawn in the commission.
The war against corruption and fraud is expected to be strengthened under his leadership.
With Bawa’s previous accomplishments, leadership skills and youthful capacity, there is no doubt that the nation will witness a transformed and independent Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Oloketuyi; a Lagos-based journalist and Nollywood Entrepreneurial