By The Evangelist News edition, Friday September 15, 2023. Admin.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has called for increased synergy and collaboration with the media to combat the rising cases of real estate crimes, money laundering, and internet crimes in Nigeria. The acting Executive Chairman, Abdulkarim Chukkol, expressed concern over the growing involvement of Nigerians in these illicit activities, both within the country and abroad.
Speaking on behalf of Chukkol, the EFCC Assistant Zonal Commander 1, Bawa Hamidu Saidu, emphasized the importance of media support in reporting the commission’s activities, particularly arrests and arraignments. Saidu assured the public that the EFCC is determined to clamp down on the escalating real estate crimes and money laundering. He also cautioned individuals to be wary of fraudsters posing as EFCC officials and extorting money from unsuspecting victims.
Furthermore, Saidu announced that administrative bail is free of charge. This decision according to him is aimed at streamlining the bail process and enhancing accessibility for individuals under investigation.
Realizing the worrisome increase in real estate and internet-related crimes, the Chairman highlighted the real estate sector as a major hub for money laundering activities in Nigeria.
During the workshop, Mr. Dele Oyewale, the Assistant Director of Media and Publicity at the EFCC, commended the commission’s efforts in curbing cybercrimes despite the challenges faced in combating economic and financial crimes. Oyewale stressed the importance of investigative journalism in holding individuals, organizations, and institutions accountable for their actions. He encouraged journalists to rely on multiple sources and maintain professionalism in their reporting.
Oyewale argued that investigative reporting in Nigeria has been limited, particularly in areas such as corruption, drug trafficking, social injustice, environmental pollution, miscarriage of justice, and crime reporting. However, he acknowledged the EFCC’s commitment to fighting money laundering, which involves concealing illicit funds’ origins by channeling them through legal means to make them appear legitimate.
To overcome the challenges facing investigative journalism, Oyewale emphasized the need for stronger commitment, attracting funding through compelling work, overcoming excuses and fears, and utilizing social media platforms for investigative reporting.
In his lecture on cybercrime enforcement in Nigeria, Assistant Commander 2, Emeka Ukpai, lamented that Nigeria has gained a reputation as a breeding ground for cybercrime due to the high involvement of its citizens both locally and internationally. Notable cases, including those involving former governors, have shed light on the extent of money laundering in the country since the establishment of the EFCC in 2003.