Within the last six months, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, secured more than 140 convictions and recovered billions of dollars in stolen funds from unscrupulous individuals, the anti-graft body’s chairman, Ibrahim Magu, has said.
Mr. Magu spoke Thursday at a rally organised by the EFCC to sensitise Nigerian schoolchildren and teenagers on the perils of corruption to national development.
In a statement signed Thursday by EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, Mr. Magu said the agency also blocked several channels that people of questionable character used to launder their ill-gotten wealth.
‘‘In just six months of this year, we have secured over 140 convictions, including some elusive ‘high profile’ criminals. We have recovered billions of dollars worth of stolen funds and blocked numerous avenues of money laundering,’’ Mr. Magu said while speaking on a theme: ‘‘We Must Win The War on Corruption and Impunity.’’
Mr. Uwujaren later told PREMIUM TIMES that Mr. Magu meant “within the last six months”.
Mr. Magu said he is enlivened by the growing optimism of Nigerians in the fight against corruption.
‘‘Citizens are now more disposed to pre-emptively act against corruption; and where the act has been committed, they are willing to work with EFCC to fish out the criminals,” Mr. Magu said.
‘‘However, in order to ensure that justice is fully served to the victim, the perpetrator and the society, it is important for us all to continue to hold everyone in the justice delivery chain accountable.”
Mr. Magu urged the citizens to increase their scrutiny of the nation’s judiciary.
“Nigerians must also take more seriously their watchdog role over the judiciary to meet the yearnings of Nigerians for justice,’’ Mr. Magu said.
A former minister, Oby Ezekwesili, decried the miserable turn of events for Nigeria.
“Nigeria is a country that the whole world agreed had incredible potentials to be one of the leading countries of the world. As a matter of fact, at the time of Nigeria’s Independence, many around the world took a bet that Nigeria was the black nation that would likely put in hot pursuit all other nations of the world in terms of greatness that it had.
‘‘Sadly, 56 years after Independence, when some of those nations that took a bet on Nigeria look at what has become of the country, they ponder what has gone wrong. But what has gone wrong is what the EFCC has been established to tackle,’’ Mrs. Ezekwesili said.
Apart from youngsters in primary and secondary schools, Clean Hands Campaign drew a mammoth crowd of civil society actors in the fight against corruption, including Citizens for Anti-corruption Corps, Rivers State and the Patriotic Forum.