President Bola Tinubu has commended the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for making impressive gains in the fight against economic and financial crimes and called for more vigorous and robust efforts to tackle the monster of corruption.
Tinubu gave his commendation yesterday while declaring open the 5th Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the EFCC-National Judicial Institute, and the NJI Capacity Building Workshop for Justices and Judges.
There have already been profound gains in the fight against corruption, and the EFCC played a remarkable role in achieving them, Tinubu said.
“For instance, available records show that EFCC has continued to achieve significant milestones in securing convictions and asset recovery running into billions of naira.
There have also been significant improvements in the policy and legal frameworks for combating corruption with the National Anti-Corruption Strategy Plan and new legislation against money laundering, illicit financial flow, and terrorism financing”, he said.
He noted the devastating effects of corruption on the growth of the nation and called for multi-sectoral and multifaceted approaches to tackling them, placing emphasis on synergy and inter-agency collaboration as potent weapons of attack against the monster.
“Corruption and related financial crimes have become a menace in our national life and have, in consequence, attracted poor perception index ratings for Nigeria globally. It requires concerted collaborative efforts to effectively combat it”, he said. The President, while commending the efforts of “successful leadership of the EFCC and NJI” for sustaining the anti-graft war, charged judicial officers to be more passionate and courageous in carrying out their assignments to rid the nation of corrupt practices. “Without competent and courageous judges who are passionate about their country, progress in fighting corruption is impossible”, he said.
The President, who spoke through the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, applauded the theme of the workshop, “Consolidating on the Gains in the Fight against Economic and Financial Crimes”, stressing that his administration is determined and resolute in bringing corruption to its knees.
“My administration is determined to ensure that these gains are not reversed and that Nigeria achieves her dream of reducing corruption to the barest minimum. He assured that his agenda of fighting corruption is “not just a mantra but a call to duty by all agencies involved in combating the malaise”.
President Tinubu specifically called for proper inter-agency synergy and collaboration while promising the “provision of adequate resources for the achievement of this noble objective and will therefore not accept any excuse for failure”.
Tinubu expressed commitment to improve the efficiency of the administration of the criminal justice system and make “comprehensive investments across the entire justice system in Nigeria to improve human resource capacity and create an enabling working environment in view of rising backlogs and attendant congestion of correctional centres. He charged the NJI to take decisive steps to ensure drastic improvement in the rating and perception of the nation’s judiciary. He also tasked the judiciary with being more proactive in the trial of awaiting inmates, arguing that “victims of all manner of crimes and their families must also be able to get justice within a reasonable time”.
In Tinubu’s goodwill message, Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, noted that the judiciary, as an arbiter between parties,has continued to live up to expectations and called on judges to be more proactive in resolving lingering cases of corruption across the courts.
He particularly called for more focus on dispensing justice without allowing legal technicalities to stand in the way of the right adjudication of cases.
“Judges must be proactive by not allowing technicalities to stand against substantive justice’’, he said. He commended the theme of the workshop, saying that it is appropriate as “it resonates deeply with the current state of our nation and the challenges of resolving lingering cases in our courts”.
Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Abdulkarim Chukkol, emphasised the collaborative efforts of the EFCC with the NJI, stressing that, to effectively fight the menace of corruption and economic and financial crimes, the symbiotic relationship between the EFCC and the judiciary must be enhanced and encouraged.
He noted that, though the challenges of fighting economic and financial crimes are daunting, “our dynamism and pro-activeness as a law enforcement agency have given us the advantage to be a step ahead of these criminals and continue to develop strategies to deal with them accordingly”.
He expressed confidence in the prospects of the workshop to deliver optimal benefits to every stakeholder, assuring that “this workshop will yield its desired purpose and communicate implementable solutions that will guide the EFCC in executing its new agenda in the fight against corruption and economic crimes”.
Other dignitaries at the opening ceremony of the three-day workshop include Chief Judges of many states, Justices of the Court of Appeal, and senior legal luminaries, among others.
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