*Says 300 cyber criminals arrested in the last one month
In its renewed poise to clamp down on financial crimes in the country, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said it is to focusing its spotlight on the activities of bankers from June 1, 2021.
Disclosing this to State House Correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in his office at the Aso Rock, Abuja, Chairman of the EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa, said the Commission would be making a demand for transparency on bankers.
According to him, from the said date, bankers would be required to obey extant laws by declaring their assets, explaining that this focus on bankers is aimed at achieving financial sanity and also to be able to track illicitly acquired funds.
He said plans of the new EFCC under his watch had been reviewed thoroughly and that President Buhari had shown satisfaction in the plans and laid out plans of action of the Commission.
“We reviewed a lot little things that we want to do towards eradication of financial crimes in Nigeria. As you are aware, I was here about two weeks ago before my taking over.
“He (Buhari) is happy with what he has heard so far with the reforms we are working on with the new EFCC going forward, in terms of the way we investigate, prosecute and the way we are generally executing our mandate.
“My assurance to Nigerians, going forward, is that we are going to do our best to ensure that this country is free of financial crimes. Let me just put this, we understood that the tail end of every financial crime is for the criminal to have access to the funds that he or she has illegitimately gotten.
“We’re worried about the roles of financial institutions. We have discussed, but we hope that all financial institutions, particularly the bankers, will declare their assets as provided for by the law, in accordance with the Bank, Employees Declaration of Asset Act.
“The EFCC, come the 1st of June 2021, will be demanding for this asset declaration forms, filled by the bankers so that the line that we have drawn from the first of June is really complied with by bankers in particular,” he said.
Expressing worries over the escalation of cybercrime in the country, especially among young Nigerians, Bawa appealed to those currently engaging in it to desist, noting that it is giving Nigeria the wrong image among other nations of the world.
Describing it as a huge problem that the country is grappling with, the EFCC boss disclosed that around 300 suspected cyber criminals had been arrested in the last one month in different parts of the country.
“Well, the issue of cybercrime is a huge problem for this country. In the last one month, we have arrested about 300 cyber criminals across the country and it was reported in the media. It is something that I am particularly worried about.
“As a young man, I am appealing to all young Nigerians to desist from these cybercrime activities. It is bringing bad image to our country, it is giving bad name to our country, it is also chasing away a lot of foreign investment that we need and I call on all parents, guardians, and, of course, elders in the community, in the society to be able to talk to these young people to desist from these crimes.
“These are crimes that they commit online. And of course, there is nothing like patting your back to say go and sin no more. Our laws do not provide for that. It is a crime and as we say in EFCC, EFCC will get you anywhere, anytime,” he said.