Olukoyede appointed by President Tinubu eminently qualified to head EFCC- Femi Falana

Olukoyede appointed by President Tinubu eminently qualified to head EFCC- Femi Falana

Senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falaba, has said that Olanipekun Olukoyede is qualified to head the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

It will be recalled that last Thursday, President Bola Tinubu appointed Olukoyede as the chairman of the EFCC pending confirmation by the senate.

But a group under the aegis of the Alliance for Good Governance and Due Process faulted Olukoyede’s nomination by the president.

The group argued that his appointment would infringe on a section of the EFCC act that defines who could be appointed as the agency’s chairman.

Daniel Bwawa, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), also said the president violated the law by appointing Olukoyede as the new EFCC chairman.

Bwawa argued that the Olukoyede does not have the requisite qualifications for the office.

But speaking when he was featured on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television programme, Falana said there is no issue with Olukoyede’s appointment.

According to The Cable, Mr Falana said, “No, there is no issue. The only issue that has been raised, which for me has to be considered by the government, is that we have in this country the Federal Character Commission act, and also by virtue of section 14 of the constitution, appointments must reflect the federal character.”

“If you are going to have the EFCC and the ICPC, the heads cannot come from the same zone. If there are two positions in this country, in public-serving, one must go to the north, one must go to the south.

“If there are four, two must go to the north, two must come to the south. If there are six, one must go to each geopolitical zone. That is the law in Nigeria today.

“I am not comfortable with the fact as of today. The heads of the EFCC and the ICPC are from the same zone. Apart from that, Mr Olukoyede is eminently qualified to head the EFCC.”

He said his colleagues who have criticised the appointment have not perused the relevant law that backs his appointment.

He added that Olukoyede has served in different capacities in the agency which makes him qualified for the role.

“My colleagues who have criticised the appointment have not looked at the law, the relevant provision of the EFCC which is section 2 which provides that the chairman must be at least an assistant commissioner of police or its equivalent in the security service, or in a law enforcement agency,” Falana said.

“When Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa was appointed, there were people saying ‘no, this position is for police officer’. No. If you have served in a law enforcement agency and you have acquired enough experience, you are qualified to head the EFCC.

“In the case of Mr Olukoyede, he has been the chief of staff to the chairman of the EFCC, he has also been the secretary of that body and of course, a board member by virtue of his position as a secretary of the commission.

“Now, people are saying no, he hasn’t acquired cognate experience. The law does not say a cognate experience must be in that agency.

“So, if you have a gentleman who is said to be a regulatory compliance consultant and who has also worked in the detection of crime or fraud, accomplished expert in those areas, you cannot say he hasn’t acquired a cognate experience.

“Cognate experience actually means your acquisition of the skills in the area we are talking about. It doesn’t mean it shall be in the EFCC.”

He reiterated that the only area the government has to go back to the drawing board is to ensure that the anti-graft agencies in the country are not headed by people from one region.

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