The Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, has said the Nigerian media is not immune to corruption.
Lamorde, who was represented by the EFCC’s Director of Operations, Mr. Olaolu Adegbite, said this on Monday during a workshop on economic crimes reporting, organised by the commission for journalists in Lagos.
He said, “Without a doubt, the media is a critical stakeholder in the anti-graft war. With your pen, you can make or mar the fight against economic crimes and corruption. So far, the media has been helpful.
“There are issues in the media profiling of the EFCC that are less than desirable. The notion that only those who have fallen out of favour with the powers that be are touched by the commission, is unfortunately a creation of the media.
“This is sad; corruption threatens all sectors, including the media. It is not immune. If an individual can attempt to bribe investigators with $15m, is it possible that he can bribe the media? Yes.
“Is it possible that such a person will attempt to bribe the judiciary? The media should lend its investigative skills to helping the EFCC fight corruption and not allow itself become a pawn in the hands of the corrupt.”
The EFCC boss commended the efforts of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mrs. Aloma Mukhtar, in the ongoing reform in the judiciary, especially in the move to accelerate hearing in the cases of corruption, oil bunkering, terrorism and human trafficking.
He also denied reports that the commission was broke, adding that the Central Bank of Nigeria only assisted the agency technically and otherwise in cases involving bank fraud.
Lamorde said, “If the CBN pays the legal fees of our lawyers, that is because they are the complainants and this only happens in cases of bank fraud. There is no question of EFCC employees being corrupt; such reports are being sponsored by persons whom we have prosecuted. We have got a strong internal affairs department where employees are subjected to polygraph test.”
The workshop, attended by over 30 journalists, drawn from both the print and broadcast industries in the country, drew several resource persons from the media industry.
These included the Group Managing Director, Leadership Newspapers, Mr. Azubuike Ishiekwene; Chairman of Premium Times, Mr. Dapo Olorunyomi; and a former Editor of ThisDay, Mr. Simon Kolawole.