How the tenures of all 5 EFCC bosses ended in disgrace

How the tenures of all 5 EFCC bosses ended in disgrace

For those who believe in superstitions, there is enough
reason to conclude that there’s a curse accompanying the chairmanship of the
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

With the suspension of Abdulrasheed Bawa by President Bola
Ahmed Tinubu on Wednesday, June 14, 2023, the vicious circle of embarrassing
ends continues for EFCC bosses.

Since its establishment in 2003 during the administration of
President Olusegun Obasanjo, every individual who has headed the
anti-corruption agency left the establishment with their heads lowered in

This ignominious trend started in 2007, and curiously, the
suspension or dismissal of all the former EFCC bosses was occasioned by several
corruption allegations levelled against them. The same corruption they were
appointed to fight.

Nuhu Ribadu

The establishment of the EFCC and the appointment of Nuhu
Ribadu as the pioneer Chairman of the agency in 2003 gave the impression that
the Obasanjo administration had a strong conviction to rid the country of
corruption and financial crimes.

As a career law enforcement officer, Ribadu became the
poster boy for the fight against corruption. He went after top bankers,
prominent politicians, governors, senators and fraudsters. It was during his
tenure that the former Inspector-General of Force, Tafa Balogun, was convicted,
jailed and made to return £150 million under a plea bargain.

Impressed by his performance as EFCC boss, Obasanjo promoted
him to the position of Assistant Inspector General of Police in April 2007. But
eight months later, Ridadu was removed as EFCC chairman during the
administration of President Umaru Musa Yar’adua.

It was believed that the EFCC boss was sacked due to his
refusal to terminate the corruption trial of James Ibori, former governor of
Delta state, but according to Obasanjo, Ribadu was sacked because of his
refusal to marry one of Yar’Adua’s daughters.

Farida Waziri

In May 2008, Farida Waziri succeeded Ribadu to continue the
fight against corruption. But unlike her predecessor, she failed to secure the
convictions of many high-profile cases some of which were instituted by Ribadu.

Although, under her leadership, the EFCC went after many
ex-governors including Dr. Peter Odili of Rivers State, Bola Tinubu of Lagos
State, Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State, Joshua Dariye of Plateau State, Saminu Turaki
of Jigawa State, Jolly Nyame of Taraba State and Michael Botmang of Plateau
State, her failure to secure their convictions was perhaps one of the banes of
her tenure.

However, three months after her appointment, the EFCC
arrested Chief Bode George, a top politician in Lagos in August 2008. He was
arraigned on 163 count-charge after which he was found guilty and sentenced to
jail for 30 months.

But in November 2011, President Goodluck Jonathan sacked her
and replaced her with Ibrahim Lamorde. Waziri’s appointment was terminated
following an allegation that the EFCC had been selective in its investigations.

Ibrahim Lamorde

Shortly after Waziri’s dismissal, President Jonathan
appointed Lamorde on November 23, 2011, as acting chairperson of the EFCC. He
was confirmed as substantive Chairman of the agency in February 2012.

Lamorde was having a smooth administration until 2015 when
the Senate alleged that $5bn (£3.2bn) was missing at the EFCC under his watch.

The reputation of the EFCC chairman suffered a terrible blow
following an allegation that he diverted N1 trillion of assets recovered by the
anti-graft agency during his time as the director of operations and later

In November 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari sacked Lamorde
and replaced him with Ibrahim Magu.

Two months after his removal, the Senate ordered his arrest
for repeatedly refusing to appear before its probe panel, but despite the
allegations against him, he was not arrested.

Ibrahim Magu

Nigerians’ expectation of the administration of President
Buhari and the appointment of Ibrahim Magu as EFCC’ acting chair was very high
particularly on the government’s agenda to decimate corruption.

Both Magu and Buhari assumed office in 2015, and it was
expected that the president’s perceived aversion to corruption would strengthen
the EFCC’s operations and efforts to clean the country with Magu leading the

Standing up to the challenge, Magu’s EFCC within three years
recorded a total conviction of 603 Nigerians on corruption charges.

Over N500bn was recovered, and for the first time in the
history of the agency, judges and top military officers including retired
service chiefs were prosecuted for corrupt enrichment.

However, the party ended for Magu in July 2020, and it was
his turn to face the music.

On Monday, July 6, 2020, he was arrested by security
operatives at the entrance of the Wuse II EFCC office in Abuja and the
following day, he was suspended as the EFCC boss due to corruption allegations
levelled against him.

Abdulrasheed Bawa

Following the suspension of Magu, Abdulrasheed Bawa stepped
into his shoes at the age of 40, he is the youngest EFCC boss in the history of
the agency.

Like his predecessors, Bawa had his share of corruption
allegations. In September 2020, the trained EFCC investigator was accused of
selling seized properties in Port Harcourt.

In November 2022, a federal high court in Abuja ordered him
to be remanded for contempt for the EFCC’s non-compliance with a court order,
but Bawa’s disregard for the pronouncement strengthened the claim that he is
fond of disobeying court orders.

Bawa’s leadership at the EFCC followed his predecessors’
footsteps on Wednesday, June 14, 2023, when President Bola Ahmed Tinubu
suspended him indefinitely over alleged abuse of office. He was subsequently
taken in by the Department of States Service (DSS) for investigation.

Like others before him, Bawa’s suspension will most likely mark
the end of his tenure as the chairman of the EFCC.

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