A Civil Society Group, Center for Democracy and Human Rights, CEDEHUR, weekend, accused President Bola Tinubu, for alleged gross violation of Extant Laws of the Economic and Financial Commission, EFCC, by appointing Mr Ola Olukoyede as Chairman of the Commission on Thursday last week.
The National Secretary, CEDEHUR, Adebayo Ogorry, pointed out that Tinubu allegedly failed to understand that the EFCC Extant laws remain sacrosanct and needed to be strictly adhered to before going ahead to appoint Olukoyede chairman for the Commission.
According Ogorry, Tinubu needs to comply with the EFCC Extant Laws and immediately cancel the appointment of Olukoyede as EFCC’s Chairman, if not he stands to set a wrong precedence for successive administrations, and warned that his action will slip into anarchy.
It will be recalled that on Thursday last week, President Bola Tinubu appointed Mr. Ola Olukoyede to serve as the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission pending Senate confirmation.
He said: “Who qualifies to be the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission?
“To answer this poser, recourse will be made to the highlighted extant provision of the EFCC Establishment Act, 2004: (1) The Commission shall consist of the following members-(a)A chairman, who shall-(i)be the Chief Executive and Accounting officer of the Commission(ii) be a serving or retired member of any government security or law enforcement agency not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police or equivalent; and(iii) Possess not less than 15 years cognate experience
“The provision is very clear and unambiguous. The functions of the EFCC are not civil in nature. Hence it is a paramilitary organization. That is the rationale behind the inclusion of the police ranking system and its equivalent in other law enforcement agencies as one of the prerequisites for attaining the position of the Executive Chairman.
“Secondly, the person sought to be appointed must not only be a member of the law enforcement family, he must also have 15 years cognate experience. In other words, the person must have the knowledge, skills and abilities in the professional law enforcement activity.
“This section simply means that not all members of the police force, other Forces and indeed the EFCC can be the EC of the EFCC. A pilot, medical personnel, Admin officer, etc who have 15 years police or paramilitary service, are ordinarily devoid of the cognate experience of enforcing the laws of the EFCC.
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“This much is gleaned from Section 8 (5) of the EFCC Act which states that: …..all officers involved in the enforcement of the Act shall have the same powers, authorities, privileges (including power to bear arms) as are given by law to members of the Nigerian Police.
“The words that are underlined simply mean that not all officers or members are involved in the enforcement of the EFCC Act. This is not strange as the EFCC started as a new agency lacking in manpower across the board.
“Therefore, there was a massive recruitment and secondment of personnel of staff from sister agencies to boost the personnel capacity of the EFCC. In other words, there were different entry points. However, the EFCC in its wisdom consciously differentiated all the staff.
“To further buttress this point, the EFCC simply identified the officers who are beneficiaries of Section 8 (5) of the EFCC Act and issued them with a warrant card. Evidently, the officers who do not possess a warrant card are not regarded as equivalent to police officers as envisioned by the EFCC Establishment Act.
“To put it in context, there are various members of the law enforcement agencies and Military
organisations that are civilians and cannot take on the headship. Examples of these abound in the Nigerian Army and Nigerian Police Force. A person who serves in the EFCC as Chief of Staff (personal staff of the Chairman) or secretary has no law enforcement training as envisioned by the EFCC Act. Just like, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) may consider appointing a non-Police personnel in his office to carry out certain work.
“That does not make the civilian a member of the Police Force in the context of appointment to the headship. Also, a civilian Police pay officer who works with the Police does not become a member of the Police force in the context of appointment as IGP.
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“Any appointment that is contrary to the provisions of the Extant EFCC Establishment Act is an assault on the National Assembly which is the constitutional organ responsible for making laws.
“If the Executive is uncomfortable with a provision, the appropriate action will be to beckon on the National Assembly to amend or repeal such provisions. To let such infractions slide is a call to anarchy.”
Meanwhile, the group also alleged that the nominee, Olukoyede is not a personnel that rose through the ranks that make him deserve the proposed appointment based on his track record of service on his entry and positions held before his nomination by President Bola Tinubu to be the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The CSO asserted that, “He (Olukoyede) was appointed as Chief of staff to the erstwhile Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, and he served in that capacity from 2016 to 2018.
‘He was later appointed the Commission Secretary and he served in that capacity from 2018 to 2019 before he was suspended from Office, and we gathered that same indicted both principal officers were never re-absorbed back to the Commission.
“Dramatically, Olukoyede has been appointed as the new Executive Chairman of EFCC, and we also gathered he was recently invited by the EFCC, and sudden.
“We have been reliably informed that his offences has been written off, while his salaries and benefits suspended will be all paid while he was on suspension.
“In fact, we are all aware of Olukoyede spending eight years at the Commissio between 2016 to 2023.
“We also queried that how did he manufactured additional 15 cognate years experience as contained in as required by law to as contained in Section 2 (1)(iii) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Establishment Act, 2004?”, Ogorry queried.
FG To Shut Buildings Violating Accessibility Laws For PWDs
The Federal Government has announced plans to shut down public buildings that do not comply with the minimum standards of accessibility for Persons with Disabilities from January 17.
The Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, Dr James Lalu, disclosed on Thursday while briefing newsmen in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that, the news conference was organised as part of the sixteenth day’s activism to commemorate the 2023 International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
Lalu said the commission would swing into action immediately after the expiration of the five-year ultimatum given to organizations by the Federal Government, which is expected to elapse on January 16, 2024.
”This commission was established with full responsibility for the enforcement of its laws, and it has been stated in the commission’s establishment laws.
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”Five years was given to organisations to comply with accessibility laws and now the five years will expire in January 16 next year, we are now transiting from the era of advocacy to enforcement.
“By January, we would go out in full force to make sure that the provisions of the law are properly enforced,” he said.
He said the commission would engage all relevant stakeholders to constitute a special task force to ensure the implementation of the accessibility law.
“We would start meeting with own partners to constitute a taskforce immediately before this Christmas, everything will be on ground before the end of this year.
”So that as we come in early next year, the task force will swung into action immediately by January 17 at 12 am, the enforcement of accessibility laws will take effect.
”The commission’s task force will move out in full force and will start visiting key offices for physical assessment of facilities in the key offices,” he said.
The NCPWD Boss also said the commission would ensure that organisations not only comply with their accessibility requirements but the five percent employment opportunities for Persons with Disabilities.
”Our assessment may not only end on the physical facilities but the composition of the staff in these institutions.
”We want to know how many they have as persons with disabilities, the total number of staffing decisions, and then the maintenance of the five people in these institutions.
”So we have to find out all of these, so they will come to know whether they comply with the provisions of the law,” he said.
On her part, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, said the commission received the full backing of President Bola Tinubu’s Administration in the implementation of their accessibility laws.
Edu assured the Executive Secretary of her support to ensure the enforcement of accessibility laws.
According to her, the effective implementation and enforcement of the relevant Disability laws is a collective responsibility of all Nigerians.
She, therefore, assured all stakeholders of their determination to support the commission in its quest to protect the rights and privileges of its members.
Canada Hikes Proof Of Funds For Nigerians, Others By 100%
The Canadian Government has raised its “cost-of-living financial requirement for study permit applicants,” basically for international students, to $20,000 from $10,000 starting from January 1, 2024.
This was made known by the country’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Marc Miller, in a statement on Thursday.
According to him, from 2024, a single applicant will need to show they have $20,635, representing 75% of LICO, in addition to their first year of tuition and travel costs, adding, “This change will apply to new study permit applications received on or after January 1, 2024.”
“Starting January 1, 2024, the cost-of-living financial requirement for study permit applicants will be raised so that international students are financially prepared for life in Canada.
“For close to two decades, study permit applicants for international students have remained at $10,000. This review, which takes effect from January 1, ‘will help prevent student vulnerability and exploitation,’” the statement added.
This development is coming a few days after the United Kingdom introduced a new set of rules that would make it more difficult for Nigerians and other applicants to obtain a visa.
Home Secretary James Cleverly announced the changes in the House of Commons on Monday.
Tinubu’s Presidency Can’t Stop Struggle For Yoruba Nation – Sunday Igboho
Yoruba Nation agitator, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has reaffirmed his movement’s committment to achieving an independent Yoruba nation despite the emergence of a Yoruba president.
Igboho made his position known in an interview with The PUNCH.
When asked about shelving the sovereignty effort after President Bola Tinubu, a Yoruba man, took office, Igboho said his Ilana Omo Oodua group began agitating long before Tinubu’s election.
“We haven’t dropped the agitation for the Yoruba nation despite the emergence of President Bola Tinubu. We have been on this agitation long even before Tinubu clinched the presidential ticket of his political party, the All Progressives Congress.
“Our agitation is not predicated on the election of a Yoruba man as the President of the country. Tinubu is a Yoruba man and his becoming the President can’t stop us from the struggle for the realisation of the Yoruba nation,” he said.
While less visible recently, Igboho said his group is still actively furthering the cause, adding that the United Nations receives periodic updates on progress being made.
“You may think that you haven’t heard from us or seen much of us recently, we are still on the project and the United Nations is aware of our activities. We have submitted correspondence and letters keeping the world body abreast of our progression in the struggle for Yoruba,” he noted.
He also dismissed critics questioning his leadership or impact under the new Tinubu administration.
Igboho responded to accusations that he lacked the standing to spearhead the self-determination struggle.
“Nobody is exclusively vested with the power in this struggle. We have leaders like Prof. Akintoye, but my critics cannot determine the requirements for leading this peaceful, legitimate campaign,” he declared.
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