Olukoyede’s Appointment: Did Tinubu Breach The Law?

Olukoyede’s Appointment: Did Tinubu Breach The Law?
  • PublishedOctober 13, 2023

President Bola Tinubu on Thursday, appointed Ola Olukoyede as the executive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to replace Abdulrasheed Bawa, who reportedly resigned.

The appointment has however been generating controversies in some quarters with some people accusing the Federal Government of breaching the law on Olukoyede’s appointment.

The bone of contention was whether the President adhered to Section 2 (3) of the EFCC Act 2004.

The Section strictly stipulates that a chairman “Must be a serving or retired member of any government security or law enforcement agency not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police or equivalent; possesses not less than 15 years’ experience.”

Olukoyede is “A lawyer with over 22 years of experience as a regulatory compliance consultant and specialist in fraud management and corporate intelligence,” according to President spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale.

Ngelale, however, said since Olukoyede has extensive experience in the operations of the EFCC, having previously served as Chief of Staff to the executive chairman (2016-2018) and secretary to the commission (2018-2023), “he fulfils the statutory requirement for appointment as chairman of the EFCC.”

Olukoyede Qualified To Be EFCC Chair – Presidency

In another statement released yesterday evening to justify the appointment, Ngelale said Olukoyede satisfied every legal requirement to be appointed as EFCC chairman.

He said apart from having been the Chief of Staff to the Executive Chairman of the EFCC (2016-2018) and Secretary to the Commission (2018-2020), Olukoyede was “A member of a law enforcement organisation as secretary, in this case the EFCC, as stipulated in the EFCC Act, and as such satisfied every legal detail to be appointed as chairman.”

He stated: “Section 2(1)(p) of the EFCC Act plainly, ordinarily, and unambiguously established the secretary to the commission (i.e., EFCC) as its member and head of its administration.

“The Supreme Court determined in the case of Ejuetami v. Olaiya & Anor (2001) LPELR-1072 (SC) at Pg.23-24, that: The words used are to be given their ‘ordinary and natural sense’. Therefore the clear, explicit and unambiguous words used in sections 2(1)(a)(i)-(iii), (p), 2(2), 3(1)-(3) and 8(5) of the EFCC Act must be given their ordinary and natural sense in line with the guidelines set by the Supreme Court in its long line of undisturbed judicial precedents.

“The provision of Section 2(1) sub-paragraph (iii) of the EFCC Act did not state the nature of which a person is required to possess its similar or alike for fifteen (experience 15) years. This implies that such cognate experience is presumed to be that of the work or functions of the EFCC acquired anywhere since the EFCC Act did not state the specific place where it must be acquired. It is also unambiguous by the provisions of sub-paragraph (iii) that once a person possessed fifteen (15) years of such cognate (i.e., similar or alike) experience, then he has satisfied the provisions of sub-paragraph (iii) of section 2(1)(a) of the EFCC Act.

“It is clear from the unambiguous provisions of the EFCC Establishment Act, 2004, that any member of the commission whether serving or retired who has 15 years’ cognate experience in their chosen career is eligible to be appointed as the chairman of the commission.

“Prior to this time, the convention and precedence is that to be qualified for appointment as the Executive Chairman of the commission, the nominee must be a police officer or someone with law enforcement background, particularly in the area of investigation. This has not only exposed the commission to all manner of vices but has brewed internal wrangling, discontent, and hatred among the members of staff of the commission.

“It is nonjusticiable to elevate convention above statutory provision. It is time to move away from fiction to fact and from convention to strict adherence to the statutory provisions of the enabling Act of the commission in our constitutional democracy.”

The appointment is pending confirmation from the Senate and all eyes will be on the Red Chamber.

If there is a breach of the law, the Senate has the responsibility of remedying it.

The former Chairmen of the EFCC are; Nuhu Ribadu (2003-2007), Ibrahim Lamorde (Acting 2008), Farida Waziri (2008-2011), Ibrahim Lamorde, (2011-2015), Ibrahim Magu (2015-2021), Abdulrasheed Bawa (2021-2023) and
Abdulkarim Chukkol (June 2023 – Acting).

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