The proposition by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to appoint Ola Olukoyede as the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been met with significant backlash from the legal community.
As reported by GISTLOVER, President Tinubu has made the proposal for the appointment of Olukoyede as the latest EFCC Chairman with an initial tenure of four years, subject to the agreement of the Senate, on Thursday, October 12.
The President’s media representative, Ajuri Ngelale, revealed the appointment in a statement, stating that the decision was taken following the resignation of Abdulrasheed Bawa, the former acting EFCC Chairman.
Ngelale also authenticated the selection of Muhammad Hassan Hammajoda as the Secretary of the EFCC with an initial office term of five years, which is dependent upon the Senate’s validation.
Nonetheless, the presidential proposal has faced opposition from many legal practitioners, who have questioned Olukoyede’s appropriateness for the role.
Sani Katu, a prominent Nigerian legal representative, voiced his criticism of the decision in a PUNCH interview, vowing to raise his concerns regarding the inadequate implementation of the EFCC Act by the National Assembly.
“The EFCC chairman’s appointment is governed by established rules and guidelines, which are codified in the law, which mandates the designee to be a retired ACS of a rank comparable to that of an ACS. This law needs to be followed.
“An appointment that does not adhere to these principles, is by default, illegal.
“I have previously contested the EFCC Act itself because the National Assembly didn’t properly adhere to the procedures for its establishment. We have initiated legal action regarding it. I won’t be surprised if others take legal actions to contest this appointment as well.
“I am currently evaluating the situation, and it’s likely that we will challenge the appointment,” affirmed Katu in his declaration.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, another seasoned Nigerian lawyer berated the Nigerian Senate for failing to object to the new EFCC chairman’s appointment.
The lawyer argued that Olukoyede’s appointment was a calculated move to destabilize the EFCC, and labeled the 10th Senate as a passive entity.
He stated, “In case of a legal violation, it is the Senate’s responsibility to intervene and resolve it.
“The Senate must acknowledge and address the fact that his appointment is contradictory to the Constitution’s provisions. Unfortunately, this Senate has been passively approving things without resistance.
“This act is detrimental to EFCC’s authority and reduces it to an ineffective entity, incapable of contributing significantly to the nation”.
Sam Amadi, Director at the Abuja School of Social and Political Thought, Nigeria, pointed out that the appointment violated the EFCC Act’s clauses.
He argued, “This might be politically convenient, but it fosters disregard for the rule of law and promotes impunity.
“It opens the door for further breaches of the constitution down the line. There is an urgent need to put an end to this harmful trend.”