Is more popularity bringing trouble to the EFCC?

by Alexander O. Onukwue

The death threat in a white envelope that was left by the attackers of the EFCC Wuse office was meant for an officer of the Commission named Ishaku Sharu.

Mr Sharu, according to a statement by Wilson Uwajaren, spokesman of the commission, “is a senior investigator with the commission” who “heads the foreign exchange malpractices fraud section”. The targeted detective also happens to be “in charge of corruption investigation involving several politically exposed persons and retired military brass hats”.

An EFCC investigator had been shot in Port Harcourt, Rivers State a few weeks ago. His name is Austin Okwor.

The EFCC has been in the news very frequently over the last 10 months, mainly for the issues involving the confirmation of Ibrahim Magu to be its substantive Chairman. But besides Magu, Nigerians have come to know a number of other names working within the dreaded (and derided) anti-graft agency. In the last four weeks, we have come to know the brains behind the smart posts from the Commission’s official twitter handle. The ‘handler’ was so good at his job that his followership bloated into thousands within hours of his unmasking.

And his unmasking came after he had parted company (amicably, we are told) with the Commission to pursue his other ventures.

Perhaps less popular, but by no means less important are two other names, Tony Orilade and Aishah Gambari, the authors of a rare op-ed piece on behalf of the Commission on the “appetite” of Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke. The former Minister is the EFCC’s most news-driving suspect for money laundering at the moment; there seems to be the uncovering of a few billions of naira or millions of dollars every other day. Orilade and Gambari are officers of the public affairs directorate, and brought their communication acumen to bear in using specific catch phrases to paint the picture of an indefensibly corrupt Alison-Madueke to the extent that her “acquisitive appetite’ dug billion naira holes in the Nigerian treasury.

Not many in the public would have known about Mr Sharu before this incidence but that he was singularly named in the death threat would imply that he is known in some quarters. For being a tough and by-the-book foreign exchange malpractices prosecutor? Perhaps. The Commission will rightly do all it should to provide him the protection he would need at this time, but will it feel the need for its officers to retreat from the public domain?

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