Falana: Why EFCC and ICPC Chairmen Can’t Be From The Same Zone


Femi Falana, a human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), claims that having the two anti-graft federal agencies in Nigeria having their chairmen from the same geopolitical region violates the federal character principle.

The senior attorney stated that since the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) chairman should come from the southern region if the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chairman is from the northern region.

“If you are going to have the EFCC and the ICPC, the heads cannot come from same zone,” Mr Falana said during a live appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Monday.

In addition, Mr. Falana claimed that Mr. Ola Olukoyede, who was recently named chairman of the EFCC, is “eminently qualified” to lead the anti-graft organization given that he has 22 years of relevant experience and has previously held the positions of chief of staff to the EFCC chairman (2016-2018) and secretary to the commission (2018-2023).

WhatsApp Image 2023 08 28 at 10.48.48 AM 1

Mr. Olukoyede and the ICPC Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye (SAN), who has held that position since February 2019, both hail from the South-West geopolitical zone.

In anticipation of Senate confirmation, President Bola Tinubu appointed Mr. Olukoyede to lead the EFCC on October 12, 2023, for a four-year initial term that is renewable.

Following the contentious resignation of the embattled former EFCC boss, Abdulrasheed Bawa, who was detained by the Department of State Services (DSS) on June 14, 2023 due to “weighty” allegations of abuse of office leveled against him, Mr. Olukoyede resigned.

Many lawyers and analysts have criticized the appointment of Mr. Olukoyede, claiming that he is unqualified to serve as the director of the EFCC and is not an Assistant Commissioner of Police.

Mr. Olukoyede, however, is qualified to head the anti-graft commission, according to Mr. Falana, having previously held some high positions in the agency.

“There is no issue; the only issue that has been raised has to be considered by the government is that we have in this country, the Federal Character Commission Act and also by the virtue of Section 14 of the constitution, appointments must reflect Federal Character.

“If you are going to have the EFCC and the ICPC, the heads cannot come from same zone. If there are two positions in the public service, one must go to the North, one must go to the South. If there are four, two must go to the South, two must go to the North. If there are six, one must go to each geopolitical zone. That is the law in Nigeria today.

“So, I am not comfortable with the fact that the heads of the EFCC and the ICPC are from the same zone. Apart from that, Mr Ola Olukoyede, is eminently qualified to head the EFCC. My colleagues who have criticised the appointment have not looked at the relevant provisions of the EFCC which is Section 2.”

WhatsApp Image 2023 02 21 at 11.32.38 PM


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here