Editor's note: An invitation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is not your regular appointment. It is one that sends spasm through the body of the invitee as a visit to the office of the anti-graft agency is a visit that has the ability change the course of a person’s destination.
The EFCC under President Muhammadu Buhari is becoming notorious for its ruthless way of handling cases of financial corruption. The appointment of Ibrahim Magu by President Buhari to replace Ibrahim Lamorde who was enshrouded in corruption-related cases was a clear sign of serious business and this was predictable considering Buhari was elected as president on the expectation that he would deal with the menace.
People who understand and know Buhari’s stance on the issue of corruption and possibly have skeletons in their cupboards already fled the country around the time Buhari was sworn in as president. Ask Diezani Madueke, the former minister of petroleum who reportedly travelled to London on the same flight with Buhari. There were reports that she used the opportunity to try a last minute attempt to verbally clear herself to the president-elect but it was reported that Buhari turned his attention to something else. She has not returned to Nigeria since then and has been linked to a lot of financial mismanagement.
If you get an invitation from the EFCC, here are 10 things to expect
You are likely guilty
An invitation by the EFCC is unofficially a sign that you are guilty of financial crime. Legally, a court has to decide if a person is guilty of a crime or not which makes every accused innocent until proven otherwise by a court. However, Magu has assured that anyone arrested by the anti-graft agency is likely not to come out clean because proper and extensive investigation would have been carried out before such invitation. What this means is that an invitation by the EFCC means there is a higher chance that you have committed financial; crime.
You’re not going home soon
Ask Femi Fani-Kayode and he will tell you a visit to the office of the EFCC is a long one. The office might be in Abuja or Lagos but it’s advisable you pack like you’re travelling to Australia. Fani-Kayode probably thought he would be questioned and be out of the anti-graft agency in a few hours but it soon became a long stay that turned into days and then weeks. Ask Olisa Metuh why he grew a beard while being held by the EFCC and he’ll probably tell you he didn’t know he was going to be there for a long time. What transpires during that period is not known but it will go a long way in shaping the case.
EFCC may storm your house
An invitation from EFCC is likely going to be followed by fierce-looking operatives storming your house and retrieving what might be considered intelligence that will later be used against you. The house is likely going to be sealed for as long as the operatives deem necessary so if you need to take any valuables out, it’s better to do it quick.
Start thinking about Kuje prison
Kuje prison in Abuja is fast becoming the home or interim apartment of people facing trial from the EFCC and if you land in the net of the anti-graft agency, you need to start finding out what living in Kuje is like. High profile persons like Raymond Dokpesi and Metuh have spent nights in the prison and the experience seems far from exciting.
You’re going to fall sick
Any tussle with the EFCC is likely going to leave you bruised if you eventually make it out. Many high profile Nigerians who have had tussles with the EFCC appear in court sick or ask the court to grant then time to treat themselves for strange ailments that didn’t occur during the period when they were reportedly spending their loot. The very vocal Metuh came to court and vomited, Sambo Dasuki claims he has cancer; Haliru Bello Mohammed appeared in court in a wheelchair, Kingsley Kuku fled to the US and sent pictures of himself in crutches while Diezani also shared pictures of herself looking cancer-stricken. Whether the sicknesses are real or not is a discussion for another day but you can bet sickness is one issue that can’t be far away from the case.
If your lawyers are smart, EFCC is smarter
If you think the eloquence and SANship of your lawyers is enough to sidestep EFCC, then think again. The EFCC under Buhari has shown its ruthlessness in dealing with court issues so that when a court order keeps you for two weeks, they are ready to activate another court order that will keep in under for another period. If a court grants you bail, another court is ready to keep you tied down for two weeks. Don’t rejoice yet if you get a bail as the anti-graft agency has aces up its sleeve.
You might be related to Dasuki or Diezani
The anti-corruption crusade in the present administration has focused on the misappropriation of arms deal and petroleum fund and Dasuki and Diezani were in charge of both respectively. Many persons who received money from the duo have either been arrested or are under the scrutiny of the anti-graft agency. Dasuki was accused of mismanaging fund meant for the purchase of arms especially at a time the country is facing terrorist attack while Diezani reportedly used petroleum money to campaign for the re-election of Jonathan. If you are related to either of the two, you might need to fact-check your sources of fund.
You may return some money
One thing the EFCC is interested in if the recovery of fund or loot and returning it is one way to save yourself from passing nights at the EFCC office. If you have not exhausted the entire fund with you, it is better you return it. If you have, then you should start preparing your defence. Before you make any choice, you may want to ask those who have been there before.
You’re going to blame Buhari
Of course there is no way you will engage in a tussle with the EFCC without seeing President Buhari as the architect of your woes. It’s also a sort of mental cleansing so its fine to blame Buhari. You can almost bet that if Buhari was not president, the issue of corruption might not be considered a big deal and you won’t be facing charges from the EFCC.
Your life will never remain the same
Whether you come out guilty or innocent (which is unlikely) from your tussle with the EFCC, your life will never remain the same. It’s going to be a bumpy ride full of media prosecution (or persecution). Some of your friends will desert you (ask Dasuki) while your life might come to a standstill (ask Fani-Kayode) while you struggle to untangle yourself from the crises EFCC has thrown you into. You might end up being less of a talkative (ask Metuh) and embrace the altruistic fight against corruption.