The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has tasked the media to continue to support its efforts at fighting Economic and Financial Crimes in Nigeria.
Ibrahim Lamorde, Executive Chairman of the Commission gave the charge May 12 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, while welcoming participants to a workshop on “Effective Reporting of Economic and Financial Crimes’’, organized by the agency for journalists reporting its activities in the six states of the South-South region.
The EFCC boss who spoke through Osita Nwajah, Deputy Director, Public Affairs, acknowledged the contributions of the media to the fight against corruption but noted there was room for greater support from all stakeholders as the Commission alone cannot win the fight against economic crimes. “Nigerians must buy in and take ownership of the fight against corruption in view of the fact that the Commission cannot win the fight against economic crimes alone,’’ he said.
He restated the commitment of the EFCC to its mandate of fighting economic and financial crimes in the country and disclosed that the agency secured 117 convictions in 2014.
He added that the Commission is also vigorously prosecuting suspects implicated in the oil subsidy and pension fraud.“The commission is actively engaged in the investigation and prosecution of persons and organizations implicated in the oil subsidy fraud, through which the nation lost billions of naira.“Some suspects involved in the subsidy scandal are being prosecuted in court, while tangible recoveries of assets had been made. “This development also applies to fraud in the pension sector and theft of crude oil in the creeks which everyone is really concerned about,’’ he said
The EFCC chairman said the Commission decided to organize the workshop to improve the proficiencies of the journalists.
Waziri Adio, respected columnist and Publisher of Metropole Magazine, who presented a paper on “The Media and corruption in the Extractive industry”, urged journalist not to be awed by the mystic created by players in the sector that the oil industry is too complicated to comprehend by laymen.
He took the participants on an excursion of oil production by explaining the gamut of the processes and procedures in both the upstream and down stream sectors. Adio, in the process, identified what he called the red flags, and challenged journalists to be prepared to ask questions on the well acknowledged leakages in the Nigerian oil industry.
He said the reason why Nigerians have not come to terms with the massive thievery in the oil industry is because there is not personal attachment as oil revenue is perceived as something akin to manna from heaven. He urged journalist to show patriotism and professionalism by tracking the usage of this important national resource.
In his paper entitled, “Between Facts and Fiction: The Place of Investigation in Journalism”, Mojeed Musikilu, managing editor, Premium Times, charged journalists to embrace investigative reporting if they are to serve the society better.
He said it was a misnomer for some media practitioners to believe that investigative reporting was the turf for a select breed of journalists. On the contrary, he opined that every journalist should be an investigative reporter. According to him, investigative reporting thrives on the ability of journalist to ask questions and look beyond the face value of situations or events by digging deep to unearth the hidden truths.
He also said that the investigative reporter must be passionate as change agent and be willing to check and crosscheck his report.
He also identified certain resources that would help journalists in investigative reporting. For instance, he said any reporter interested in corruption matters in Nigeria should be abreast with provisions of the relevant laws, such the EFCC Act, ICPC Act, Procurement Act, among others.
More than 40 journalists attended the one day event. One of them, Mike Mbonye of the News Agency of Nigeria, said he was pleased by the quality of the presentations by the resource persons as they have kindled his interest in certain aspects of public expenditures that requires closer scrutiny.
”The resources persons were great. One or two things they want us to do, I may not be able to do so for national interest consideration, but it was a truly rewarding intellectual exercise that will enhance my career.” He said the workshop also afforded him the opportunity to network with the key information managers at the EFCC, adding that he is now better informed about how the Commission operates.
Media & Publicity
14th May, 2014