It is not a common occurrence in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to respond to every unfriendly report about the anti-graft agency or its leadership. It however becomes inevitable when there is a deliberate attempt to consistently peddle falsehood about the activities of the Commission. This is necessary to save the public from being misled in the overall interest of the nation. This then explains why I have to respond to two articles written in the last two weeks in The Guardian on Sunday by a respectable journalist, Mr Sonala Olumhense to help him and readers of his column from further misinformation.

It is not in doubt that Mr Olumhense has made a mark as an editor and a columnist. This is why a lot of readers will like to take every information he gives in his column as the gospel truth. But unfortunately this respectable Nigerian missed the point in his two articles being referred to here.

 

The columnist had about two weeks ago raised issues about the 2008 report of the EFCC under the caption: ‘Where is 2008 EFCC report?’ This article was the basis for the next one, entitled: ‘Resign, Farida Waziri, Resign!’ In the first piece, Olumhense had asked the Commission to submit its 2008 report as required by law while the latest one asked for the resignation of the Chairman of the Commission because of its failure to submit this report.

Let me therefore state emphatically that Olumhense’s conclusion from these two articles was drawn from false premises. This alone renders his conclusion invalid because it has no basis. What do I mean? EFCC can’t submit a 2008 report when the year has not ended. The only report the Commission has to submit this year is the one for 2007. Again, has the Commission submitted this report? I can confirm to Mr Olumhense and others he must have misinformed that the EFCC has indeed done this.

Then, why the attack on the Commission and its leadership by Mr Olumhense? Though it is not for me to explain why this great journalist must have committed this kind of blunder, but as his junior colleague in the pen profession, I know that Mr Olumhense lives in the United States and probably relies on inappropriate sources for his information.

As excusable as this may sound, Olumhense knows as much as I do that one of the cardinal rules in journalism is that when one is in doubt of a fact, one should leave it out. Why then was he asking for a 2008 report when he knows that that is only due in September 2009? Is he aware that some of the issues he raised in his first article were those that should have been taken care of in the 2006 report? Was there any effort to confirm from the Commission or the National Assembly whether the report he erroneously called 2008 report has been submitted before rushing to call for the head of the Chairman of the Commission? If he failed to do all these before giving his guilt verdict, then I can conveniently say that he was being deliberately mischievous and unnecessarily antagonistic.

Mr Olumhense has gotten to the peak of the pen profession and contributed his quota towards its development. It is not expected that it is those of us coming behind his generation that should be reminding him of the tenets of the noble profession. I’m ready to make my line available to him to always cross check his information to avoid the embarrassment of drawing ridiculous conclusions based on wrong assumptions. I think this way his integrity, that of the profession and the interest of the nation will best be protected.

Femi Babafemi
Head, Media & Publicity
EFCC, Abuja.

 

 

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