BY: SUNDAY ADEBAYO
It is no longer news that Abdulrasheed Bawa is on his way to becoming the new chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFFC as nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari, pending the Senate’s approval. This relatively unknown young man appears to be the perfect match for the country’s fight against corruption, both in the low and high places, going by his antecedents.
This was contained in a letter by President Buhari on Tuesday, February 16th to the Upper Chamber of the House of Assembly, as a matter of constitutional urgency, to confirm Bawa in accordance with Paragraph 2(3) of Part 1, CAP E 1 of the EFCC Act 2004.
A lot of controversies have surrounded the office of the anti-graft agency over various tenures, from preferential treatment to not following due process, unfair judgment in its investigations, cherry-picking who to take to the slaughter, and the likes. That seems to be the very ‘vices’ Bawa has come to nip in the bud.
For the first time in history, after so much drama surrounding the sack of the immediate past chairman, Ibrahim Magu, an officer who rose through the cadet of the agency is going to be leading the war against corruption, this is vital as he already knows and understands the terrains, which is going to be key in its leadership operating style going forward.
So, age and youthfulness are not just the things that stand Bawa out in this highly revered position. Bawa who rose from the pioneer cadet of the Commission is a maven when it comes to financial crimes investigations, having gone through several pieces of training in the agency institution in addition to his Degrees in Economics, Masters in International Relations and Diplomacy while currently pursuing another degree in Law.
Those who know him well tell tales of his bravery, dedication, fairness, and balance in his investigation expertise and well known for seeing through any case he hits with his teeth. His thorough stand for the truth, interest in hearing both sides before taking a stand are some of the features that distinguish him in his wealth of experience in the institution. The 40-year-old was the brave brain behind the famous Deziani crude oil swap, Atlantic Energy, and petroleum subsidy fraud investigations by the country’s formidable anti-corruption institution, recovering millions of dollars worth of properties in the UK, Switzerland, U.K., U.A.E., U.S.A., Canada including 92 of such assets in Nigeria and billions of naira, prosecuting many companies. The former Ibadan-zonal head of the EFCC was said to have run the notorious yahoo boys in the area out of town, before moving to Port Harcourt to wage war against oil bunkers. He has also been part of the prosecution of advance fee fraud, bank fraud, official corruption, money laundering, and other economic and financial-related crimes.
Bawa who has been in the anti-corruption fight for about 17 years now is also said to be putting to bed the impression that some people are untouchables as he is said to be taking the war to the house of ‘the bouillon chief’, former governor of Lagos and a Chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He is also chesting the investigations against the former governor of Niger State, Muazu Babaginda Aliyu, who is currently facing trial.
Prior to his appointment, Bawa who is the youngest ever to lead the EFFC, the Commission has been without a substantive chairman since Ibrahim Lamorde in 2015. The Immediate past chairman, Ibrahim Magu operated in an acting capacity from 2015 to 2020, after the Senate failed to confirm him and was later removed in controversial circumstances.