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Metro - June 14, 2024

EFCC, FBI renew strategic alliance to tackle internet crimes

 

Stanley Ihedigbo

 

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Friday, June 14, 2024 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.

According to the Head, Media and Publicity, EFCC, Mr. Dele Oyewale, the  development came when Christopher Wray, FBI’s Director led a team of the Bureau’s top officials on a visit to the EFCC’s Executive Chairman, Mr. Ola Olukoyede at the Commission’s Abuja corporate headquarters.

 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.

“Thank you for your hospitality and in particular for the partnership that exists between the FBI and the EFCC across a wide range of threats that we face together. 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.

“We value the partnership between the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI. Over the years, this partnership has existed and it is for mutual benefits. We have to acknowledge that we have benefitted from your manpower and capacity development programmes, which have added value to the capacity of our operatives and our Academy. We also want to thank you for the technical support that you have provided over the years for the EFCC and by extension, Nigeria,”he said.

While suing 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.

 Assuring Wray and his team of the Commission’s commitment to collaboration with the American agency, he  said that “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”

“We also promised the nation that we are going to follow the rule of law.  I believe in results but I also believe that the way you achieve the result matters. I promised the nation that we are going to do it right.

“Thirdly is to use the activities of the EFCC to improve the international image of Nigeria and that 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”,  he said.

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

“The major thrust is to use the instrument of prevention to tackle corruption in the country. The EFCC has done well over the years in the areas of investigation and prosecution, but upon my assumption of office, I decided rather to look at the sources and causes of these problems. We will not just enforce but also look at prevention, since it is also within our mandate. So we decided to set up a new department, called Fraud Risk Assessment and Control”,  he said.

 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 also used the occasion to highlight the centrality of appropriate public communication in the overall success of the anti-graft fight. “We are also drumming up awareness to our public enlightenment programmes. We have just launched our own FM radio station where we drum up awareness for our activities because of the misconceptions out there. The radio station is for the public to know what we are doing”.

 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.

Other officials on the FBI delegation include: Charles Smith Jnr, Sydney Schaur, Joshua James Moldt, William Michael Miller, Vanessa M. Tibbits, William B. Stevens, Leigha Ramson, Sofie Admire Sosenzweig and Dr. Jim Oscar.

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