There is no doubt that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been discharging its duties creditably in spite of the numerous challenges strewn along its paths. There are also opinions that it is yet to discharge satisfactory performance. Whatever may be said, it cannot be completely denied that today among public officials the fear of EFCC is the beginning of wisdom.
The anti-graft agency has succeeded in dealing with high profile crimes and secured convictions that jailed three former governors. Crime in the nation today is pervasive. Financial crime is even more pronounced among the teeming youth population and this gives cause for concern. These youths touted as the leaders of tomorrow but neck deep in scam deals leaves the future of the nation very scary and bleak.
For sometime now, the agency has been making successful harvest of those young men involved in financial crime. They are found mostly around our higher institutions of learning especially within the dominant student community. It is sad to remark that the level of scam businesses experienced in the economy is scary and leaves the mind guessing. It is dominated by young minds who apply their ingenuity developed through their study of Information and Communication Technology to dupe many innocent and unsuspecting victims.
However, it is important to observe that the manner the security agency goes about to fight crime in recent times is very crude and leaves much to be desired. It is a quick recipe for the public to attack it. Reports indicate that the agency laid siege in the capital city of Owerri for over a week which climaxed at weekend before it had a confrontation with unknown gun men who challenged what observers referred to as the frequent raid of Owerri.
Unconfirmed reports indicated that the agency is always in the habit of raiding the state capital whenever the operators are broke and in the recent operation at the weekend made a big haul of suspects some of who ‘settled’ with handsome amounts ranging over a million and secured their freedom and the unlucky ones were taken to the Enugu zonal office for further interrogation.
It was gathered that when the operatives hit a premises by 4am in the Umudagu Mbieri Estate around the Spibat area, they used a ladder to climb the fence and beat up the security chap who denied them access. Thereafter they stormed each apartment breaking doors like armed robbers and beating up their victims. An elderly woman reportedly collapsed in the process but they supported to revive her.
Some questions are pertinent at this point. How would the story be told if an armed tenant had taken down the operative as he descends the ladder in the mistaken belief that an armed robber was coming to attack. Did the law authorize the operative to so conduct themselves invading people’s privacy with impunity and forcefully too. Is this mode of operation of the agency different from that of armed robbers or kidnappers and is that the best preferred mode? What if the woman who fainted had passed on, who will pay for her life lost?
News Echo takes serious exceptions to this approach in the corruption fight which tramples upon the rights of others. Rather than travel forward in time we are travelling back in time adopting a crude criminal approach that negates good intentions of the government. We are convinced that the agency can do better. The current method gives out the agency that it is out to make money through intimidating actions that will even make the innocent yield to their pranks.
We frown at a blanket arrest of many innocent people and dubbing them as suspects. A more decent approach should be more of undercover investigation of a suspect which should satisfy the operatives before hitting their target. Mounting road blocks on the road and picking people randomly as alleged leaves doubts if that does not amount to usurping the work of the other police unit on road checks.
The activities of the agency in recent times have come under serious attack as they allege the agency has become more corrupt than many of the institutions and the people that they are hunting. The authorities should review the activities of the security operatives within the country with a view to giving it human face.