As a fresh move to bolster security and anti- corruption situations in the West- African sub- region, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has called for stronger and more effective modalities aimed at stemming the spate of illicit financial flows and other corrupt tendencies in the region.
This call was made on Monday, March 21, 2020 by the Executive Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, while addressing the 5th Annual General Assembly Meeting of the Network of National Anti- Corruption Institutions in West Africa, NACIWA, holding at Transcorp Hilton hotel, Abuja, Nigeria. Bawa, who is the newly elected President of the 16-nation member organisation, noted that the ECOWAS sub- region is smarting from the throes of security challenges and stressed that efforts must be made to block leakages arising from illicit financial dealings.
“The ECOWAS sub- region is threatened by existential security challenges which may not be unrelated directly or indirectly to corruption. We must therefore intensify efforts to stem the spate of illicit financial flows within the sub- region including illicit flows by Politically Exposed Persons( PEPs)”, he said. The EFCC Chairman also stressed that “we must also continue to amplify effective collaboration and intelligence sharing in our quest to rid the sub- region of financial crimes while collectively addressing the security challenges prevalent in the sub- region”.
NACIWA, which draws its members from the 16- nation members of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, is holding a two- day meeting co- hosted by EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, in Abuja. At the meeting, Bawa was unanimously elected as the President of the Network to succeed the outgone President, Francis Ben Kaifala, Head of Sierra- Leone Anti- Corruption Agency, whose three- year tenure ends March 31, 2022.
According to Bawa, the new NACIWA President, the focus of the two- day meeting is ” to deliberate, share experience, exchange information and intelligence in our collective efforts against corruption within the sub- region..” . ICPC Chairman, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, decried the worsening security situation in the West- African sub- region and charged member states of NACIWA to ” criminalise corrupt practices and adopt legislative, police and technical measures for the prevention and detection of corrupt practices”.
The Federal Government, impressed with the theme of the meeting: ” Role of Regional Economic Communities In The Implementation of the African Union Convention On Preventing and Combating Corruption”, said that it would continue to support and strengthen all the anti- corruption agencies in Nigeria. Ambassador Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs that spoke for the government explained that Nigeria has ” always demonstrated commitment to efforts at promoting the development of Africa and especially the West African sub- region as a matter of foreign policy”. ” The government of Nigeria shall continue to provide the necessary material and capacity support to its agencies saddled with the responsibility of dealing with corruption and other related crimes”, he said.
“On NACIWA, Onyeama further said that “The Nigerian government believes that the West African sub-region has always been at the forefront of the fight against corruption and as such NACIWA shall be supported to achieve its objectives which includes among other capacity development and the harmonizing of legal, regulatory and administrative arrangements for effective fight against economic crimes and corruption in the sub-region.”