EFCC Has Lost Its Fear Factor, Obasanjo Says

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has attacked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), describing the anti-graft agency as a toothless bulldog.

Speaking, yesterday, during his 79th birthday celebration, held at Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, the former Nigerian leader wondered what had happened to the anti-graft agency that led to its present status. He recalled that the agency was dreaded during the time of the pioneer Chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu.

“Honestly, when Nuhu was handling EFCC, he handled it in such a way that people coined the saying that ‘the fear of Nuhu Ribadu is the beginning of wisdom’ and then the question you will ask is, how did we go down? How did we lose that?

“Nuhu Ribadu is still here, he’s still alive. The institution we started together is still there, but what made the institution to become a toothless bulldog? What? And that’s the matter we have to keep looking at, so that we don’t take two steps forward, one step aside and three steps back.”

The former President, however, advised the Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government and stakeholders to take a critical look at the situation that made the agency lose its power to tame corruption and avoid it.

Speaking on the need for government to develop technology to fight insurgency and extremism, Obasanjo said if insurgent groups could develop technology to promote their cause, it is imperative to adopt the same method to stem the tide.

“The world is interested in what can be done to stem the tide and I think what we did, yesterday, we made our own contribution in a way that we believe will serve our country, serve our sub-region, West Africa; our region of Africa and indeed the world we live in.

“I summarize that the solution lies in six areas: At home, the community, the church/mosque, the school/college, the state-local, state and federal government – and the international community. At each of these, we should do things and not leave undone what we should do.

“Therefore, people have or they see perceived injustice or perceived grievance and they try to react but, as I said, yesterday, when you have to treat violent extremism and radicalization as an issue, then it costs you more; what we should do, which will be cost effective, wise and cheaper, is to prevent and, if we do what we should do at all those areas, we should be able to prevent.

“One of the things we now have to take seriously is technology because technology impacts on our daily life; it’s built in our homes; it’s in our pocket, and if there are those who want to do anything to make life unbearable for us in terms of security, then we must also use technology as the antidote and the means by which we can ward off what they may want to do against us,” Obasanjo said.

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