Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Abdulrasheed Bawa has said that strict compliance with and enforcement of extant laws and regulations would promote public accountability and the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
The EFCC boss who spoke through the commission’s director, public affairs, Osita Nwajah at a roundtable on accountability organised by the Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism, PTCIJ, at the Orisun Art Source, Abuja, said, “There is no better prevention tool than a vigorous enforcement regime, one that is applied across the board in strict adherence with extant laws, rules and regulations”.
He further said while Nigerians were adept at comparing their system with those of other countries, those countries were not doing anything extraordinary other than enforcing their laws and regulations no matter who it is that has committed the infraction.
“A law or regulation is only as good as its enforcement. A society where enforcement is jaundiced or non-existent is inevitably sucked faster into the black hole of a failed society. We are plagued by the situation where the auto-response to any demand for accountability is to raise doubts as to the ‘real’ intentions underlying such a demand, adamant from the outset that it must be anything but altruistic!
“The question is, do we need more laws or regulations? I certainly think we need better, more responsive laws as veritable guardrails of our march to nationhood. But, whilst we are hard at work formulating those, the real question begging for answer is, how much of the functionality of available laws have we as Nigerians tested to hold both public officers and the public system they run accountable?”
Bawa said the EFCC has done more than any government agency in promoting the development of law in Nigeria. “We make bold to say that no agency of government in Nigeria has done more to advance the development of the law in the last 18 years than the EFCC. This is because every day, across the length and breadth of this country, we are using the instrumentality of extant laws to hold public officials accountable.