The Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, has charged media personnel to step up enlightenment on the hazards of cybercrimes to save the public losses and grave risks to their investments.
Bawa made the charge Wednesday, 17 August, in Abuja, while declaring open a one-Day Workshop on Financial Crimes Reporting organised by the EFCC for Financial Crimes reporters.
Bawa, while reviewing the Commission’s activities, disclosed that the EFFC is making progress in securing convictions, pointing out that as at August 5, 2022, the Commission has secured 2,210 convictions, “just ten convictions short of the 2,220 convictions secured in 2021”.
“One achievement which most of you may not easily recognise is the impact which EFCC’s intervention in the Forex market has had on the value of the naira. From well over N710 to the dollar, following the Commission’s intervention, the naira has appreciated significantly against the dollar in the parallel market, and we are not relenting in our efforts to check harmful speculative activities in the sector.
“I urge you to also beam your searchlights on this area as it is in our collective interests to have a national currency whose value is not subject to the whims of crooked speculators”, he said.
One of the resource persons at the workshop, Sylvanus Tahir, Head, Legal and Prosecution Unit, who spoke through Assistant Commander of the EFCC, Samuel Okeleke, itemised several challenges of prosecuting economic and financial crimes in Nigeria. He listed such hurdles to include non-cooperation of potential prosecution witnesses, nature of evidence gathered at the investigation stage; prosecutorial competences of the prosecuting counsel, strength of transparency and fairness of the presiding judge in the trial and gaps in the law guiding prosecution. “No trial can succeed if the trial judge is partial”, Tahir said.
Also, Dele Oyewale, Assistant Director, Media & Publicity Unit, who spoke on “Best Practices in Financial Crimes Reporting”, noted that, economic and financial crimes across the world are evolving with disturbing dynamics, with criminality outpacing technological advancement with breath-taking sophistication.
He called on the media to attune itself to the rising strides and trends of criminality, while at the same time, rising to the challenges of hard work, integrity, self-motivation and clear focus in their reporting.
“Unless issues of un-reporting, under-reporting and non- follow up of existing cases in court are addressed, best practices in financial crimes reporting would be a mirage”, he said.
Furthermore, Buhari Dalhatu of the Cyber Crime Section of the EFCC, in tackling the “Peculiarities, Trends, Typologies and Challenges of Cybercrimes Enforcement in Nigeria”, decried the increasing sophistication of hackers and other internet fraudsters in the country.
He spoke about the networking of cyber crime fraudsters across the world and the need to be more watchful and cautious with internet uses.
“Cybercrime fraudsters employ hackers from different parts of the world to compromise the systems of banks and other sensitive organisations but there is no hacking that can succeed without an insider compromise”, he said, and warned organisations to be fair to their employees, “because hackers always succeed through the involvement of aggrieved staff in any establishment”.