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President sidelines police, opts for Bawa, 40, as EFCC chair

…asks Senate to confirm nominee

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, asked the Senate to confirm Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa as substantive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Bawa, on confirmation, would be the first appointee to head the agency outside the Nigeria Police Force in line with the recommendation of the Justice Ayo Salami’s probe panel. He rose through the ranks to become a Deputy Chief Detective Superintendent (DCDS), a position he has been holding since 2016.

Buhari’s request was contained in a letter to the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, which the latter read on the floor of the Chamber during plenary. According to the President, his decision to nominate Bawa for the appointment is in accordance with Paragraph 2(3) of Part1, CAP E1 of EFCC Act 2004.

The letter noted that, Bawa, who is 40 years, is a trained EFCC investigator with vast experience in the investigation and prosecution of Advance Fee Fraud cases, official corruption, bank fraud, money laundering, and other economic crimes. It further said that the nominee had undergone several specialized trainings in different parts of the world, and was one of the pioneer EFCC Cadet Officers in 2005.

The letter also revealed that Bawa holds a B.Sc degree in Economics, and Masters in International Affairs and Diplomacy. After reading the request, Lawan said that the screening of Bawa as substantive chairman of the anti-graft agency would be carried out during plenary in line with the tradition of the Senate. “The screening of the Chairman-designate of the EFCC will be done in plenary, in keeping with our tradition here,” he said. It is pertinent to note that Bawa’s nomination came almost one year after the former EFCC Acting Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, was suspended from office by the Presidency.

Magu’s suspension was sequel to allegations of sleaze levelled against him, which resulted in setting up of Justice Ayo Salami-led Probe Panel to investigate him. While the suspension of Magu lasted, a senior official of the EFCC, Mr. Muhammad Umar, was appointed to function in acting capacity as the chairman of the commission. Recall that the Bukola Saraki-led 8th Senate rejected the request of President Buhari for the confirmation of Magu as substantive chairman of EFCC twice in three months between 2017 and 2018 based on allegations raised against him by the Department of State Services (DSS).

Bawa, a native of Jega in Kebbi State, currently heads the Lagos zonal office, considered as the biggest operational zonal office of the EFCC with over 600 officers reporting to him. Armed with about 17 years working with the EFCC as a detective, Bawa is by no means an experienced investigative officer who has been part of prosecution of advance fee fraud, official corruption, bank fraud, money laundering and other economic and financial crimes related offenses. Bawa investigated allegations of sleaze against former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke.

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