The Nigerian branch of the Journalists Network on Money Laundering/Terrorist Financing, a part of the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (known by its French acronym, GIABA) has condemned the attack on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) headquarters in Abuja.
The network said that last week’s mafia-styled attack at the facility of the anti-graft agency has again reinforced the reality that the EFCC's anti-corruption war is making progress, hence the desperation by corrupt elements to stop it through violent means.
The group disclosed this in a statement that was jointly signed by its Country Coordinator, Odan Agbese, and Program Advisor, Muhammad Nurudden, and was obtained by SaharaReporters’ New York office.
“The attack on the EFCC facility in Abuja by gunmen simply unveiled the truth that the corrupt elements who are bearing the brunt of the agency's well-articulated onslaught on corruption are losing and will leave no stone unturned to stop it.
“We are therefore calling on all well-meaning Nigerians to stand by the EFCC at this crucial time where beneficiaries of corruption are deploying all their available arsenals to ridicule, sabotage and derail the anti-graft war,” the network said.
The group, a transnational network for tracking money laundering and financial terrorism, is an institution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) responsible for facilitating the adoption and implementation of anti-money laundering policies and countering the financing of terrorism.
The network added that the attack on the EFCC facility in Abuja and its operatives is a "total war on Nigerians, therefore, it shouldn't be allowed to happen again."
Specifically, Mr. Agbese said, “the EFCC leadership must not be cowed by the recent violent tactics,” and advised its operatives to "tighten security around its facilities across the country.” He emphasized that operatives should not allow the attack to deter it from ridding Nigeria of corruption.
The network also stated that the anti-graft agency should brace for “more subtle and violent attacks from people who are losing billions of their stolen funds to the EFCC's aggressive war on graft in the last two years.”
In the early hours of Wednesday, gunmen stormed the head office of the anti-graft agency located at Wuse Zone 7 in Abuja and shot sporadically into the premises, damaging vehicles parked inside the facility.
Wilson Uwujaren, spokesman of the EFCC, said that the attack was repelled by armed guards stationed at the premises of the anti-graft agency, but the hoodlums escaped after dropping a message that contained a death threat addressed to Ishaku Sharu, a senior investigator with the commission.
Mr. Uwujaren said the incident has since been reported to the police for further investigation, adding that the anti-graft agency would not be deterred by the attack in its fight against financial crimes.