ANEEJ seeks amendment of EFCC Act over fuel subsidy fraud

By Stella Omona – Snr. Correspondent, Abuja

Participants at a town hall meeting organised by the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), with support from Justice for All (J4A), have advocated an amendment to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act of 2004 to create special courts that would speedily try fuel subsidy corruption cases and other financial crimes as opposed to the administrative arrangement in place.

The theme of the meeting was: “Advocacy against impunity in oil subsidy regime in Nigeria.”

The over 40 participants drawn from anti-corruption agencies, the media, civil society, and the academia also canvassed increase budgetary allocation to the EFCC as it has continued to decline over the years thus impacting negatively on the capacity of the commission to effectively pursue cases.

Participants also noted the insufficient information flow between the government, the EFCC and the public relating to fuel subsidy fraud and corruption investigation and prosecution since January 2012 till date.

They stressed the need to mainstream the fight against economic and financial crimes into electioneering debate by getting aspirants to make commitment on how they would support the speedy prosecution of fuel subsidy cases and other corruption cases and other financial crimes.

“For civil society organisations including the Nigeria Bar Association and the public to engage in public interest litigation, they advocated strategic use of the media beyond the shores of Nigeria by putting the issue in the front burner especially the use of social media.

“Civil society organisations should advocate financial independence for the EFCC and other anti-corruption agencies,” they posited.

Others included the need for CSOs to carry out independent investigations and make such information available to EFCC to assist them in their prosecution.

They also recommended that the Judiciary should treat fuel subsidy fraud and corruption matters expeditiously.

“CSOs monitoring the fuel subsidy corruption cases should liaise with the CSO desk at the EFCC to receive progress reports on prosecution of cases and widely disseminate such information to the public,” they stated