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Lawyer faults call for EFCC’s scrapping

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Wahab Shittu, has said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has been empowered by law to prosecute financial crimes committed in any of the country’s federating units.

A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Olisa Agbakoba, argued last week that the EFCC lacked the right to examine states’ accounts.

However, Shittu, in a statement made available to Journalist on Monday, explained that the EFCC is a special agency that was created specifically to tackle corruption.

He said, “The call to scrap the EFCC and Independent Corruption Practices Commission, which has received some vociferous backing by prominent members of the bar, is misconceived.

“In the first place, and with all due respect to Olisa Agbakoba SAN, it is contradictory to argue that the EFCC should not exist and also argue that the EFCC, as a creation of the National Assembly, does not have the power to interfere with the activities of the state government and therefore should only be restricted to the Federal Capital Territory. These two points of view cannot stand side by side.

Section 19 of the EFCC Act grants the Federal High Court, the High Court of a state, and the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory jurisdiction to try offenders under the Act, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any other enactment. As provided for in Section 1(2) of the EFCC Act, the commission may sue and be sued in its corporate name. This provision empowers the commission to prosecute cases at the Federal High Court, the state High Court, and the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory. By implication, the commission is empowered to prosecute financial crimes committed in any of Nigeria’s federating units.

“It is also worth noting that the EFCC is a special agency created specifically to tackle corruption. There is no doubt that the police have wide powers, but their primary duty is to maintain law and order in society. Given the current trend in terms of corruption and financial crimes, a special agency must be dedicated to fighting corruption; this is a task the EFCC has largely been successful at carrying out.”

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