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UK Baroness Hails New EFCC Under Olukoyede

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Baroness Verma Sandy of Leicester, a Member of the UK’s House of Lords, has lauded Mr. Ola Olukoyede, the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), for his efforts in repositioning the Commission towards professionalism and effectiveness. The Baroness expressed confidence that the EFCC’s work under Olukoyede’s leadership would enhance the global perception of Africa and build new confidence in the continent.

Baroness Verma, leading a six-member delegation from the UK-based African Leadership Organisation, praised Olukoyede during a meeting at the EFCC’s headquarters in Abuja. She highlighted the positive changes brought about by Olukoyede and emphasized the potential of the African continent.

“We are so glad to be here. It is important having this organization led by somebody who has brought incredible positive changes to the country. I believe passionately in the strength of the African Continent. Your organization will help change perceptions and build new confidence. So, I am so pleased and honoured to be here,” she said.

Olukoyede thanked the Baroness and her delegation for their recognition of the EFCC’s efforts. He emphasized Africa’s potential and the need for good governance to harness its human and natural resources effectively.

“On behalf of the entire management of EFCC, we are glad to have you in our midst. Africa has great potential, but the major problem is bad governance. We need good governance to channel our resources rightly and bring Africa on top of the world,” he stated.

Olukoyede also commended President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for allowing the EFCC the liberty to operate independently in its fight against corruption. He explained the new trajectory of the Commission under his leadership, focusing on stimulating economic growth through the anti-corruption fight.

“Upon my assumption of office, I said I will use the instrumentality of the anti-corruption fight to stimulate growth in the economy. We are empowered by law to investigate anything that can vitiate economic and infrastructural development and bring offenders to book. The government in power is supporting us and not interfering in what we do,” he said.

He highlighted the shift in the EFCC’s approach, moving towards prevention rather than solely focusing on investigation and prosecution. Olukoyede noted that corruption in Nigeria is rooted in systemic issues and enabled by weak institutions.

“Nigerians are good people. Given the right ecosystem, you see Nigerians perform excellently well. We are looking into our systems and structures to address what allows corruption to fester, while also making people account for their bad deeds in office. So, we concentrate more on prevention now,” he explained.

Olukoyede further stated that the EFCC is examining systems and procedures, particularly in contract and procurement activities, and emphasized the importance of public participation in the anti-corruption fight.

“What we deal with is white-collar crime, which is non-violent. So we want people to own the fight. When you see something, you say something. That is what we are asked to do, and that is exactly what my team has been doing. We have made appreciable progress in stimulating the economy, arresting foreign exchange sharp practices, and ensuring that stolen money is recovered. As we are pursuing the criminals, we are also pursuing the money,” he concluded.

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