The umbrella organization of journalists in the country, the Nigeria Union of Journalists has commended the strides of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in the fight against corruption in Nigeria. Stanley Ike Stanley, Chairman of the Rivers State Council of the union gave the commendation on Wednesday March 18, 2020 when he led members of the union on a courtesy visit to the Port Harcourt Zonal office of the Commission.

According to Stanley, the EFCC has to a considerable degree checked the impunity with which public resources are stolen in Nigeria. “Though we cannot say corruption has been eradicated in Nigeria, the society has been sanitized to some extent as people no longer loot with impunity as the fear of the EFCC is the beginning of wisdom,” he said.

He noted that thanks to the efforts of the EFCC resources that had been looted but recovered, are now available for spending by the government. He however charged the Commission not to stop at recovery stolen funds but to pay attention to how such funds are deployed to prevent what he tagged “public suspicion on the re-looting of recovered funds”.

The NUJ Chairman pledged the Union’s support to the EFCC. “We will continue to do our best to support the EFCC. Our doors are open for partnership in the fight against corruption, “he said.

Responding, the EFCC Zonal Head, Usman Imam, thanked the Union for the visit. He said he considers himself lucky to be the first zonal head to be visited by the NUJ in the zone. He noted that the media occupies a critical place in the fight against corruption and invited them to join forces with the EFCC. “We need the support of the media to deepen the fight against corruption and economic crime in our country bearing in mind that no individual has a monopoly of ideas on how to tackle this all important assignment.

“I call on you to be our eyes and ears in the corners where you operate. The EFCC as a small organization cannot be everywhere. You will be complementing the Commission when you play the role of whistle blowers. Any where you see corruption talk about it. It will not help media credibility if you begin to sensor yourselves by neglecting to write about certain issues for reasons that are not altruistic,” he said.

He used the opportunity of the visit to speak on the Commission’s focus in the zone which includes fighting illegal oil bunkering, checking corruption in the Niger Delta Development Commission and at the sub national levels and tackling the menace of cyber crime.

Imam also highlighted some of the milestones recorded in the two months since he took the reins as zonal head.

“In the two months that I have been in charge of this zonal office, we arrested have 32 suspected internet fraudsters. Those arrested included one Onwuzuruike Kingsley Ikenna, a big player in cyber crime whose forte is business email compromise. The cases are still being investigated.

“Two vessels, MT Preye and MV Gratitude; a barge and a truck arrested by the military for alleged illegal bunkering activities were handed over to the Commission for further investigation. Also handed over are 17 crew members and two other persons, including the chairman of the local branch of independent oil marketers in Warri, Delta State. These investigations are ongoing.

“The Zone in the last two months recorded ten convictions including a security staff of the NDDC, who was sentenced to 7 years in prison for N4m contract scam, and one Tonwerigha Tombrown who bagged 66 years for defrauding a foreigner 55,000 Euro in online money fraud.

“We also stepped up engagement with partners by organizing a capacity building workshop on evidence handling for officers of 6 Division Nigeria Army. Forty Five officers drawn from various brigades in the Division participated in the workshop, the first by any zonal office of the Commission”, he said.

Media & Publicity

March 18, 2020