Security experts have faulted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for engaging in media trial in handling alleged fracas between personnel of EFCC and the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) in Kaduna.
They berated the EFCC for not adequately exploiting other channels or avenues available for resolving misunderstanding between government agencies before resorting to media trial.
Blueprint report that there was a faceoff on Friday between officials of EFCC and some personnel of the NAF at the Kaduna Zonal Command of the anti-graft agency.
One of the experts, Demola Mubarak, reeled out EFCC’s well-known tactics of media trial and judgement which dates back to several years and which has not in any way helped their cause and image but instead portrayed them as unprofessional and always seeking the easy way out.
He specifically referred to a published article by one Sulaiman Aledeh in The Guardian of 24 November 2021 titled, ‘The EFCC gaffes, media trials and politics,’ where EFCC’s strategy of trial-by-media has not in any way helped the Commission in cracking cases.
In the article, Aledeh attributed EFCC’s style of media trial to either, “distrust in Nigeria’s judiciary or the absence of enough facts and evidence to charge the alleged people”.
The writer was further quoted as stating that, “latching on to pent-up emotions from the Nigerian public would not give the EFCC the respect and attention it desires. Instead, winning cases by thoroughly going through the court processes will earn the Commission the respect it deserves”.
Speaking further, Mubarak referred to a similar case regarding students of Obafemi Awolowo University that was poorly handled by operatives of the EFCC.
In this instance, the EFCC media trial style was thoroughly dissected by Sunday Ehigiator in a piece published in ThisDay newspaper of 13 November 2023, where he noted that the Commission’s strategy of public shaming without due profiling, fell short of global best practices.
Writing under the banner, ‘OAU Invasion and EFCC’s Penchant for Arbitrary Raids, Media Trials’ Mr Ehigiator stated that “even before profiling the students, the EFCC had issued a press release that went viral and posted the students on their official social media platforms tagging them fraudsters. They also included their names in the press release.”
Speaking on the allegation by the EFCC that NAF personnel stormed their office in Kaduna and attempted to release their colleagues, the experts unanimously noted that irrespective of what occurred, the approach adopted by the anti-graft agency was totally uncalled for and unnecessary, noting that 2 critical government agencies must learn to find amicable ways of resolving issues involving their staff. The experts went further to commend the NAF and its leadership for their maturity so far in handling the matter and for not taking the bait to respond to the media show by the EFCC.
He advised EFCC to desist from their ineffective strategy of media trial because it downgrades not just the operational standards of the agency but amounts to deliberate policy of intimidation.
“The EFCC is meant to be an agency of uncompromising standards that should be a reflection of our domestic and international image in the fight against corruption,” he said.