The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is one of the most criticised agencies of the Nigerian government. Since its formation in 2003, the commission has no doubt recorded a number of achievements. It is however also worthy of note that in the view of most Nigerians, the flaws of the EFCC far outnumbers its achievements.
In the days of Nuhu Ribadu, many high profile corrupt individuals were prosecuted and convicted. As hard as Ribadu worked or seemed to work then however, some members of the political class believed that the EFCC had become a tool in the hands of the then “all powerful President” to hound political foes.
From 2008 when Mrs Faridah Waziri took over, majority of Nigerians agreed that the EFCC had soft-pedalled on the issue of corruption. Even the international community made observations that Waziri was ineffective as EFCC Chairman. She was eventually shown the way out with about a year of her term left. It will be recalled that her predecessor too was sacked before she came on board. In Ribadu’s case, he was demoted from the position of an Assistant Inspector General of Police to Deputy Commissioner of Police.
Not a few people hailed the decision to sack the EFCC boss, though some described it as unconstitutional. The choice of Ibrahim Lamorde as replacement has however been hailed by many including Waziri herself. But the question now remains “will Lamorde change the EFCC.”
Some believe that with close to 25 years experience as a police officer and the time he had earlier spent as Director of Operations and Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Lamorde is the right man for the job.
Ibrahim Lamorde who joined the Nigeria Police in 1986 obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology in 1984 from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He was posted to the Niger State Police Command where he served between 1987 and 1988 in Minna. He was Divisional Crime Officer (DCO) in Rijau, Niger State between 1988 and 1989 and for four years (1989-1993), he served as Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Niger State Command.
Lamorde was a pioneer officer of the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigeria Police, created in 1993. He served in the premier anti-419 corps of the Nigeria Police until 2002. While still an officer of the SFU, he was deployed as Chief Investigation Officer of Ermera District of East Timor of the United Nations Civilian Police where he served creditably, between 2000 and 2001. He was briefly Divisional Police Officer, Ojo, Ibadan, Oyo State. He was later deployed to the Force Headquarters, Abuja, from where was seconded as a pioneer officer and Director of Operations of the EFCC. In his time at the Special Fraud Unit, he worked with Faridah Waziri who headed the unit then.
In terms of international experience, the Acting EFCC Chairman has worked with law enforcement agencies around the world, including the FBI, Metropolitan Police, US Postal Inspection Services (USPIS), Internet Crime Complaints Centre (IC3), the Dutch Police, German Police and the South African Police, among others.
Though the past EFCC Chairmen tried all they could, most people would agree that they were hindered by a number of limiting factors. While many are of the opinion that having served as Director of Operations for Waziri and Ribadu, Lamordeknows the internal workings of the commission and is the most suitable candidate for the job, some others are however saying that the factors that hindered Waziri have not been removed and as such, even if he is appointed as Chairman, the same fate that befell his predecessors might be his lot.
There is no gainsaying that most of the achievements recorded by the former Chairmaen had enormous contributions from the Director of Operations. To that effect, many have opined that there may not be any need to look further for a substantive chairman for the Commission. While the appointment of a substantive Chairman is however being awaited, whether he will make any difference before then or not is just a matter of time.