- President Buhari has been asked to withdraw the proposed executive bill to amend the EFCC Act 2004
- The call was made by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP)
- The group noted that the bill would severely undermine the anti-graft agency's independence
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President Muhammadu Buhari has been asked by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) to urgently withdraw the proposed executive bill to amend the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act 2004.
According to SERAP, if the bill is passed and signed into law, it will severely undermine the anti-graft agency's independence therefore rendering it a ‘toothless bulldog or toothless tiger’.
The group in a letter dated Saturday, September 19, asked the Nigerian leader to instruct Abubakar Malami, the minister of justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to withdraw the proposed bill in the public interest.
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SERAP explained that the EFCC would be pushed into a department in the federal ministry of justice under the control of the attorney general.
The appointment of the head of the agency will be subject to the approval of the directorate of state security.
The rights groups accused the government noting that by pushing the bill the current administration would seem not to be interested in combating corruption and halting its putrefying effects.
However, the group warned that should the proposed bill be signed into law, they will take legal actions to challenge its legality, in the interest of the public interest and to ensure the independence and effectiveness of EFCC.
Earlier, Legit.ng reported that Prof. Itse Sagay has called on Nigerians and the National Assembly to reject a proposed bill that will amend the establishment Act of the EFCC.
Sagay, who is also the chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), said the proposed amendment is a fraud.
According to him, those behind the bill are even ashamed to put their names on the bill being circulated.
PACAC, in a statement signed by Sagay, said the planned amendment was part of “an ongoing very sinister and dangerous attempt to demolish the anti-corruption infrastructure of Nigeria and return it to the situation it was in during the dark days before 2015."
In a related development, Malami has spoken on the extent of his powers over the EFCC. Malami on Tuesday, August 25, stated that he does not need additional legislation to supervise the affairs of the EFCC.
The AGF made it clear that section 43 of the EFCC Act already empowers him to "make rules or regulations with respect to the exercise of any of the duties, functions or powers of the commission..."
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