EFCC, FBI Strengthen Strategic Partnership

By Anne Osemekeh, Abuja

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), have brokered a renewed strategic alliance towards tackling the menace of internet crimes and other waves of emerging and old crimes that are of mutual interests to Nigeria and the United States.

A statement by the anti-graft agency’s spokesman, Dele Oyewale, says the development came when FBI’s Director, Christopher Wray, led a team of the bureau’s top officials on a visit to the EFCC chief, Ola Olukoyede, at the Commission’s Abuja corporate headquarters on Friday, June 14, 2024.

In his remark at the meeting, Wray expressed delight at the bond that has existed over the years between the EFCC and FBI and called for its upscaling in the face of common crime threats that confront Nigeria and the US.

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“We have had a relationship over the years and this is a reflection of how stronger than ever we are looking forward to taking our partnership to higher and higher levels in tackling threats that affect the people of Nigeria and the people of the United States. We have had close partnerships in shared values and focus and I want to say thank you for the wonderful partnership,” he said.

Responding, Olukoyede expressed appreciation to the FBI for being the EFCC’s personnel and institutional capacity building benefactor over the years and expressed optimism that the collaboration between the two agencies would be taken a notch higher.

While pushing for the enhancement of the collaboration and strategic partnership, Olukoyede noted that doing so was in mutual interest of Nigeria and the US, especially as criminality has become borderless.

“Some of the crimes we fight are borderless crimes, so it is extremely important for law enforcement agencies across the world to come together to collaborate. Law enforcement agencies must collaborate more. Our activities must be borderless so that we will be able to challenge the activities of the bad guys”, he said.

He further assured the FBI Director and his team of the Commission’s commitment to collaboration with the American agency, saying, “we are willing to continue and develop ideas that would be of mutual benefit to both agencies and ensure that the issue of cybercrime will take utmost priority in our scale of preference and also ensure that sextortion that has become a major challenge to us is taken very seriously”.

Olukoyede also used the meeting to spotlight the new direction of the Commission under his leadership. He pointed out that tackling public corruption was at the zenith of the policy directives.

“One of our major problems in Nigeria is public corruption. Upon my assumption of office I shared my three major policy directives with the entire nation. I promised to use the instrumentality of the anti-corruption fight to stimulate the economy, in other words to ensure that businesses that are registered in Nigeria play by the rules. And we have shown in some of our activities that we were looking into a lot of government agencies as to how they carry out their activities particularly in the area of contract and procurement”.

He also mentioned the rule of law, and the use of the activities of the EFCC to improve the international image of Nigeria, which is “why we are vigorously pursuing the issue of cyber criminals because some of the activities of these folks have dented Nigeria’s image in the global space”.

Olukoyede noted that achieving the shift in paradigm called for new dynamism and mechanisms in the tools of the anti-corruption fight.

He expressed optimism that contract and procurement fraud would soon be a thing of the past as “we are going to ensure e-procurement in the entire nation so that it would be easy for us to track the execution of projects. That is one of the key innovations we have brought into our activities and we are really going to follow it through.”

The EFCC boss commended President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for mustering strong political will to fight corrupt practices.

“The President’s commitment is strong against corruption and this has been of immense motivation for us”, he said.

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