Olukoyede, Hammajoda In Senate For Screening As EFCC Chair, Secretary
The nominees of President Bola Tinubu as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ola Olukoyede; and Secretary to the Commission, Muhammad Hammajoda; are now in the Senate to be screened and confirmed.
The President had on October 12, 2023 appointed Olukoyede and Hammajoda as chair and secretary to the commission respectively pending Senate confirmation.
The leadership of the country’s focal anti-graft agency has experienced shakeup in the last few months since the assumption of President on May 29, 2023.
On June 14, 2023, the President suspended Abdulrasheed Bawa indefinitely as the anti-graft agency boss. Bawa was suspended “to allow for proper investigation into his conduct while in office”. The action followed “weighty” allegations of abuse of office levelled against him.
The President subsequently directed the Director of Operations at the Commission, Abdulkarim Chukkol, to step in as acting EFCC chair while the Department of State Services (DSS) took Bawa into custody.
However, with last Thursday’s appointment, Olukoyede becomes the new helmsman of the commission.
Presidential spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, had explained that Olukoyede’s appointment is for a renewable term of four years in the first instance, pending Senate confirmation.
He also said the President appointed Hammajoda to serve as the Secretary of the EFCC for a renewable term of five years in the first instance, pending Senate confirmation.
There had been scathing criticisms against the appointment of Olukoyede, a lawyer, whom some analysts and senior lawyers, said was not an Assistant Commissioner of Police and so therefore not fit to lead the nation’s number one anti-graft agency.
However, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, on Monday, argued that Olukoyede is “eminently qualified” to lead the commission having previously served as Chief of Staff to the EFCC Chairman (2016-2018) and Secretary to the Commission (2018-2023) as well as having 22 years cognate experience.
The senior lawyer, however, said if the EFCC chairman is from the northern region, the southern region should produce the chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
As of Monday, Olukoyede and the then ICPC Chairman, Prof Bolaji Owasanoye (SAN), who has been in office since February 2019, were from the South-West geopolitical zone.
However, in a major shakeup on Tuesday, the President said Owasanoye would proceed on pre-end of tenure leave. The President subsequently appointed a northerner, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Jigawa State, Dr Musa Aliyu, as the new ICPC Chairman.