The Senate has confirmed the appointment of Abdulrasheed Bawa as the substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The upper legislative chamber confirmed Bawa after screening him for over two hours yesterday, after he entertained questions from over 14 senators.
Bawa, who was ushered into the hallowed chamber at about 11. 45am by the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari, Senator Babajide Omoworare, was through with the screening at 1. 55pm.
Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari nominated Bawa as EFCC chairman and asked the upper legislative chamber to confirm him.
Bawa, 40, is one of the pioneer EFCC cadet officers. Before his appointment, he was the Lagos zonal head of the anti-graft agency.
At the screening, Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, said Bawa’s nomination has generated hope for the youth.
He said: “Ordinarily I’d have pleaded for him to take a bow but let him further showcase himself. This nomination has generated hope.
“I thank President Muhammadu Buhari for this nomination. This is the first time we are sticking within the EFCC to govern this institution.”
In his remarks, former Deputy Majority Leader, Bala Na’Allah, said Bawa has displayed the capacity to run the anti-graft agency.
“He has displayed that he has the capacity to run the EFCC. I know him very well, he is not even half of the qualities of his father. I call on my colleagues to approve this nomination,” Na’Allah said.
Speaking during the screening, Bawa, who was accompanied to the Senate by the speaker and members of Kebbi State House of Assembly, denied the allegation that he sold assets recovered by the anti-graft agency for personal gain.
According to him, the power to dispose of any asset lies with the secretary of the commission.
He said: “I never sold a single truck at the Port Harcourt office; the head office handled that at the time,” the nominee told the Senate.
“When I took over the Port Harcourt office, they had 34 convictions but when I got there, we recorded 216 convictions.
“Anybody that is familiar with the processes of the EFCC knows that the chairman doesn’t have the power to sell an asset but the secretary of the agency.”
Bawa, who assured that if he was confirmed, he would work towards strengthening the anti-graft agency, said further: “Before we reposition, we need to know what the institution stands for. We would work on our standard operational procedures to improve on those procedures.
“We are looking forward to an EFCC that when I give a wrong instruction to a junior officer; he will refuse it because that order contravenes the law.”
He also said the nation must recover all stolen assets for the benefit of Nigerians, and promised to work with strategic partners around the world to see that Nigeria benefitted from the repatriation of assets stolen from its coffers.
According to him, EFCC will achieve its independent objective by sharing information with its partners.
He promised that at the end of his tenure, the EFCC would be a better place than he met it, noting that his training by the FBI and the National Crime Agency of the United States and the United Kingdom respectively would come in handy.
Bawa said he will reposition the commission by ensuring that it strengthened its standard operating procedures and improve on them.
While acknowledging that the EFCC had issues with the management of assets, Bawa said if confirmed, he would embark on the digitization of the offices for proper record keeping.