By Sumaila Ogbaje
ome security experts have raised concerns over the manner in which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has so far handled the fracas with Nigerian Air Force (NAF) personnel in Kaduna State.
The experts specifically frowned at EFCC’s style and strategy of resorting to media while handling a case with another government agency, without exhausting the proper channels or avenues in resolving the matter.
They opined that the EFCC should had engaged the leadership of the NAF at Kaduna first on the issues at stake, then reach out to the Headquarters NAF Abuja, if engagement with Kaduna base failed.
According to them, the EFCC and the NAF are both federal government institutions with key roles to play in the security architecture of our country and therefore, does not augur well for them to be seen bickering over an issue that could had been easily managed.
Dr Abdullahi Jabi, the Secretary General, International Institute of Professional Security (IIPS), said it was wrong procedurally for the EFCC operatives to go after serving personnel of the NAF without first of all requesting their service to hand them over for questioning or investigation.
According to Jabi, in a decent clime you don’t go in a crude manner to arrest suspects of cybercrime, particularly when they are of military branch because of the image issue.
“Even if EFCC is a government agency that deals with financial crimes, you should know that the NAF too are members of the armed forces and they are equally there to protect the integrity of their personnel and the nation as a whole.
”They should have engaged the leadership of NAF on how to get that issue resolved amicably, without attention of the public and causing unnecessary rivalry and tension among the civil populace.
“You remember that not too long ago on the abnormal behaviour of EFCC operatives who went to OAU and other places at night and you saw the public outcry and how the new EFCC said it was wrong,” he said.
Jabi said that EFCC should stop resorting to crude method of doing its job, adding that there is need for the operatives to be sufficiently trained on rules of engagement.
He described the incident as a product of unhealthy rivalry between government agencies and institutions that had serious implication for the national security.
Another security expert, Mr Demola Mubarak, criticised EFCC for always adopting media trial tactics, that had not in any way helped their cause and image, but instead portrayed them as “unprofessional and always seeking the easy way out”.
Mubarak said that winning cases by thoroughly going through the court processes would earn the commission the respect it deserved.
He also referred to a case regarding students of Obafemi Awolowo University that was poorly handled by operatives of the EFCC.
According to him, the EFCC media trial style was thoroughly dissected by Sunday Ehigiator in a piece published in ThisDay newspaper of Nov. 13, where he noted that the commission’s strategy of public shaming without due profiling, fell short of global best practices.
On the allegation by the EFCC that NAF personnel stormed their office in Kaduna and attempted to release their colleagues, the experts unanimously noted that irrespective of what occurred, the approach adopted by the anti-graft agency was totally uncalled for and unnecessary.
He agreed that the two critical government agencies must learn to find amicable ways of resolving issues involving their personnel.
He commended the NAF and its leadership for their maturity so far in handling the matter and for not taking the bait to respond to the media show by the EFCC.
Mubarak also advised EFCC to desist from their ineffective strategy of media trial that tended to downgrade not just the operational standards of the agency but amounts to deliberate policy of intimidation.
”The EFCC is meant to be an agency of uncompromising standards that should be a reflection of our domestic and international image in the fight against corruption,” he added. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola