By Jonathan Ugbal
Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu on Thursday approved the appointment of Ola Olukoyede Esq as the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, pending confirmation by the Senate, a statement by his Chief Spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale said.
A clergyman and lawyer with over two decades of experience, Mr. Olukayode was sacked in June 2021 as Secretary of the EFCC by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and replaced with Geoge Abang Ekpungu Esq, a one-time Commissioner of New Cities Development in Cross River State.
Mr. Olukoyede was suspended along with the then-acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, in 2020 following reports of an investigation panel led by Justice Ayo Salami. And, although his sack was never announced, Mr. Ekpungu’s appointment meant he was relieved of his duties permanently. The report was never made public.
Prior to his appointment as Secretary of the Commission, Mr. Olukoyede also served as, “chief of staff to the executive chairman (2016-2018),” Mr. Ngelale’s statement read.
Ngelale added that the appointment of Mr. Olukoyede “follows the resignation of the suspended EFCC chairman Abdulrasheed Bawa.”
Mr. Bawa has remained in the custody of Nigeria’s secret police, the SSS without charges after his arrest on June 14, 2023, hours after he was suspended by President Tinubu.
Furthermore, President Tinubu approved the “appointment of Muhammad Hassan Hammajoda to serve as the secretary of the EFCC for a renewable term of five years in the first instance, pending senate confirmation,” the statement reads.
This effectively ends Mr. Ekpungu’s stay in the commission as Secretary, a powerful position only second to the Chairman.
“President Bola Tinubu tasks the new leadership of the EFCC to justify the confidence given to them in this important national assignment as a newly invigorated war on corruption undertaken through a reformed institutional architecture in the anti-corruption sector remains a central pillar of the President’s Renewed Hope agenda,” Ngelale’s statement added.