By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.
Dr Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has resolved to approach the courts for a declaration on the exact scope of powers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) especially in relation to states of the Federation.
Agbakoba who disclosed this in a press statement on Tuesday said there was need to test the scope of powers of the EFCC alleging that the commission sometimes, acted in excess of its statutory powers.
He said that the EFCC often exceeded its powers in the investigation and prosecution of alleged offenders of the nation’s criminal laws and felt concerned.
“| held a media conference to express my concerns, which | do occasionally on several national issues.
“| stated that | felt that the EFCC, often but not all the time, | must concede, exceeded its powers in what it considers to be its public duty, in the war against corruption in Nigeria.
“The EFCC issued a response stating that I was wrong to take the view that it sometimes acts outside the scope of its powers vested by the EFCC Act.
“The EFCC referred to some cases, but | would say that in a very recent decision, Dr. Joseph Nwobike SAN v The Federal Republic of Nigeria FRN SC/CR/161/2020, the Supreme Court drastically limited the scope of powers of the EFCC, as it recognized that the EFCC being very powerful could not be allowed to run amok.
“lam not a court. Neither is the EFCC. | will proceed to the Court for a declaration on the exact scope of powers of the EFCC, especially in relation to states of the Federation.
“A declaration by a Judicial authority is the most valid process to authenticate if am right or wrong with respect to my position that the EFCC often acts contrary to the Law.
I am not in any way against the EFCC on the fight against Corruption. As admitted by the EFCC, I have always supported the fight against Corruption.
“My concern is that the EFCC, in its undoubted statutory powers to stamp out corruption in Nigeria must strictly conform to the prescriptions of the law.
“EFCC must not in the fight against Corruption, undermine the rule of law. So to the courts, | go”, he declared.
It will be recalled that while addressing a press conference on “The Rule of Law in Nigeria Today”, in Lagos on Sunday, Agbakoba had faulted the EFCC over its recent actions against the Kogi State Government.
In his view, how a state spends its money should not be the business of the anti-graft agency as he accused the EFCC of impunity. (Ends)