I am pleased that the EFCC has found it fit to send a reply to my second intervention on this issue. I have some questions, however, that I hope Nigerians will follow up, as I will.
First, the Commission responded to my second article in which I demanded the resignation of its chairperson, within hours of its publication. For two weeks, however, it ignored the first, which did not seek sanctions against its head. This seems to confirm my position that top Nigerians often put themselves ahead of Nigeria.
Second, the EFCC says the issue is the 2007 Report, not the 2008. This is untrue. On 27 September 2006, the Commission submitted the 2006 Report to the General Assembly. If that was the 2005 Report, as the EFCC now claims, the Commission owes two reports: 2006 and 2007 (the one it now says it has submitted).
The Commission asks of me the following questions:
(1) 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? I am not aware. The Commission should specify what those issues are, and what it means by "should have been taken care of." Is he suggesting that there are important issues that were not taken of in that report, and that are also omitted in the “2007 Report”?
(2) 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?
Yes of course. And I also had other journalists try to confirm the existence of the report. On the basis of those inquiries, I know that by September 30, 2008, no current report (whether called 2007 or 2008) had been submitted to the General Assembly. If there had been such a report, today's EFCC reply suggests that the Commission would quickly have pointed that out, if only to put me to shame.
In fact, following the publication of my piece on 28 September, Mr. Femi Babafemi, the EFCC's Head of Media & Publicity sent out a piece entitled: “UPDATE ON THE ACTIVITIES OF THE ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIMES COMMISSION, EFCC.” Not once did he mention that a “2007 Report” existed. If the report indeed existed at that time, why did he not draw attention to it?
My suspicion is that in the past two weeks, the EFCC has cobbled together some kind of report labeled the 2007 Report in which it treats some 2006 issues, and smuggled it into the National Assembly.
I hereby ask Mr. Babafemi, who penned the reply to my article, to fulfill the demands of full disclosure and tell Nigerians when the so-called "2007 Report" was submitted to the National Assembly. Why did the Commission wait for me to write a follow-up article before announcing that a current report has been submitted to the Assembly? And if the 2008 Report is premature, where is the 2006 Report, and when was it submitted?
Finally, I would like to assure Mr. Babafemi that my concern is Nigeria, not my ego. I am happy to hear that there is a report, and I will try to obtain it over the next few days. I hope it is thorough, thoughtful, and honest. In 2006, the EFCC submitted a 32-page report on the mess on Enugu State alone.
Hopefully, the report also covers such important issues as that of Patience Jonathan, the wife of the Vice-President whose husband was at that time the Governor of Bayelsa State. Nigerians would recall that in August and September of 2006, the EFCC seized N104 million and $13.5 million dollars (US) in two cases from Mrs. Jonathan. At that time, the EFCC told the media that Mrs. Jonathan had tried to launder the N104 million through one Nancy Ebere Nwosu. It sought obtained a court order to freeze the money.
I am sure I am not the only Nigerian who would be pleased to be updated about this and hundreds of other outstanding epochal matters. Our being educated on the issues would be easier if Mr. Babafemi chose to make the reports in question available to the media. Otherwise, we will find them on our own, and make a judgment about the quality of work that the EFCC is doing.
By Sonala Olumhense