Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a German philosopher, prose poet, and cultural critic. When he put his ideas about corruption and those hired to fight it on paper, he probably had Nigeria in particular, the leadership of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), an anti-graft organization, in mind.
Nietzsche, a German, must have learned from older Africans who taught that if you view the pursuit of witches as a profession, you are likely to become a witch and become the pursued.
In one of his many works, Wilhelm Nietzsche, who is best known for his critique of morality and religion, said: “Whoever fights monsters should take care that in the process he does not become a monster.” And if you stare into an abyss long enough, it will stare back at you.
Anti-graft agency leaders like the EFCC have a history of having successful starts but unsuccessful finishes. Since the creation of the anti-corruption organization, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), they have either been ousted on the basis of alleged corruption scandals or abuse of constitutional powers.
Recall that on December 12, 2002, President Olusegun Obasanjo signed an act into law creating the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, or EFCC.
Following the Senate’s appointment and approval of the first Executive Chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, and other administrative officers, the anti-graft agency’s operational activities started on April 13, 2003, according to findings by WITHIN NIGERIA.
However, due to deficiencies in the 2002 Establishment Act that were discovered, the National Assembly annulled it and re-enacted the 2004 Establishment Act, which President Obasanjo signed into law on June 4, 2004.
While compiling this report, WITHIN NIGERIA made the deduction that five people had acted in the Chairman’s position of the anti-graft agency and they were all removed from their positions. With accusations of corruption and misuse of office, they all unceremoniously exited the building.
Here are brief biographies of five people who served as chairmen of the EFCC, an organization that fights corruption.
Mallam Nuhu Ribadu AIG (rtd.), Executive Chairman, [2003-2007]
Nuhu Ribadu served as the first Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Ribadu earned a Bachelor of Laws degree from Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Kaduna State, where he studied law from 1980 to 1983. 1984 saw his admission to the bar after spending a year at the Nigerian Law School. From the same university, he also obtained a Master of Laws degree.
In 2003 and 2007, respectively, by then-President Olusegun Obasanjo, Nuhu Ribadu was named as the chairman of the EFCC. On April 9, 2007, only days before Umaru Musa Yar’Adua took office as President, he was also given a promotion to the position of Assistant Inspector General of Police.
In addition to portraying the promotion as unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void, and having no legal bearing, Nuhu Ribadu was removed from office by Umaru Yar’Adua on charges of bribery, double standards, insincerity, failure to disclose assets, and witch-hunting alleged rivals of his principal, Olusegun Obasanjo.
Farida Waziri. AIG (rtd.) Executive Chairman, 2008-2011
Farida Mzamber Waziri, a police office and an assistant inspector general of police (AIG), served as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s (EFCC) executive chairperson for three years. After Nuhu Ribadu was fired in 2007, the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua nominated her.
The Gboko native graduated from the University of Lagos with a law degree and the Lagos State University with a master’s in law. She graduated from the University of Ibadan with a master’s in strategic studies in 1996, and she also wrote a book titled Advance Fee Fraud, National Security, and the Law.
Five days after President Goodluck Jonathan fired Farida Waziri on November 23rd, Ibrahim Lamorde took her position.
Reports state that she was removed from office due to allegations of selective investigation, a disagreement with Micheal Aondokaa, Minister for Justice, regarding the prosecution of cases, and corruption via a potential compromise in the investigation of financial misappropriation against Timipreye Sylva, a former governor of Bayelsa State.
According to reliable sources, the president had her removed from office due to her allegedly trying to have cases against corrupt people dismissed.
Ibrahim Lamorde DIG (rtd.) Executive Chairman, 2012-2015
Former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman Ibrahim Lamorde served as a police officer in Nigeria for three years.
On 23 November 2011, he was originally named as the anti-graft agency’s acting chairman after President Goodluck Jonathan fired Farida Waziri from her position. Later, on February 15th, 2012, the Senate confirmed Lamorde as Chairman.
The officer, who was born in Mubi, attended Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria and earned a B.A. in sociology there in 1984. In 1986, he became a police officer in Nigeria. After Tiyamiyu Oluwagbemiga retired in 2006 as the first Director of Operations and Strategy following the establishment of the EFCC, Lamorde was appointed Director of Operations.
Lamorde took over as Acting Chairman in January 2008, holding this position until Farida Waziri was appointed chairperson in May 2008. On 9 November 2015, President Buhari sacked Ibrahim Lamorde, replacing him with Ibrahim Magu as the new EFCC chairman after the Nigerian Senate alleged that $5bn (£3.2bn) had gone missing at the EFCC among other allegations of corruption.
A Senate committee led by Senator Peter Nwaboshi at the time alleged Lamorde diverted assets and cash recovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Ibrahim Magu Executive Chairman, 2015-2020
Former acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and police officer Ibrahim Magu.
After President Muhammadu Buhari fired Ibrahim Lamorde, he was appointed as the interim Chairman. Magu presided over the EFCC in an interim capacity from 9 November 2015 to 7 July 2020.
The officer, who was born in Maiduguri, attended Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria from 1982 to 1986 and earned a B.Sc. in accounting there. In 1990, he left his position as a zonal accountant in the civil service to become an assistant superintendent of police with the Nigeria Police Force.
He participated in the investigation committee set up by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, at President Muhammadu Buhari’s request to look into the purchase of weapons by the Armed Forces between 2007 and 2020. Magu was not confirmed by the Senate as the substantive Chairman of the anti-graft agency until President Buhari removed him from office.
On July 6, 2020, Magu was detained on suspicion of corruption in connection with money he is said to have embezzled to pay for his opulent lifestyle and travel expenditures, among other things. In June 2020, there were also 22 claims of corruption against Magu.
Due to accusations of corruption, Magu’s position as chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was suspended on July 7, 2020.
Abdulrasheed Bawa, Executive Chairman, 2021-2023
AbdulRasheed Bawa is a Nigerian detective and suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He replaced Umar Mohammed Abba, the acting chairman of the anti-graft agency from 24 February 2021 to 14 June 2023. Until his appointment, he was the Deputy Superintendent of the anti-graft agency.
The officer from Jega received a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Usmanu Danfodio University in Sokoto. He graduated with a Master’s in International Affairs and Diplomacy from the same institution in 2012, and he is currently enrolled in the University of London’s Bachelor of Laws program.
Recall that in September 2020, while in charge of the Port Harcourt office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Bawa was accused of stealing, selling, and auctioning off dozens of petrol-bearing vehicles seized from suspected thieves to his proxies at exorbitant prices.
Notwithstanding protests from civil society, the Senate confirmed him notwithstanding his denial of this accusation.
However, due to serious accusations of abuse of power, corruption, and the diversion of confiscated property, among other things, President Bola Tinubu has suspended Abdulrasheed Bawa as the chairman of the EFCC and has directed a thorough investigation.