After years and spurts of purported misdirection, questionable leadership and doubtful conduct, leading to misgivings in the social space, the marketplace and even inside and outside of courtrooms, Nigeria’s famed bad guy catcher, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), is announcing a wonderland turnaround that has many pinching themselves, unsure if this is a dream or for real.

The EFCC on Monday indicated it is doing a moral and operational audit of its overall outlook and conduct and that the outcome would be a change of its modus operandi.

Speaking during a meeting with civil society organisations Abuja, Chairman of the EFCC, Ola Olukayode, said he was determined to change style in the anti-graft war because in his view, it was time the commission started to obey laws and stopped the stigmatisation of persons and companies under investigation.

Olukayode declared that it would no longer be business as usual, as his administration would embark on a major policy review aimed at deploying the instrumentality of anti-corruption to stimulate economic development.

He affirmed that the new focus of the anti-graft agency would entail generating employment by way of discontinuing the policy of freezing bank accounts of companies under investigation, which often led to the collapse of such organisations, with attendant loss of revenue and jobs.

He said over N1 trillion was lost to the closure of such companies whose accounts were frozen for as long as 15 years while judgement was awaited.

The EFCC chairman said the anti-graft agency was undergoing a total overhaul and that there would be no more marking of properties under investigation, which he said stigmatised such properties. Rather, the agency has initiated a new strategy whereby marking of properties will be changed in a way that is not noticeable, in order not to stigmatise such properties.

Under his watch, he said, the agency would obey the rule of law and relevant constitutional provisions setting it up. The focus would be to use the instrumentality of anti-corruption to stimulate economic development.

The EFCC helmsman also warned that companies set up to destroy the economy would be shut.

He said the EFCC would embark on a comprehensive policy review to ascertain “what have we done wrong or right, after which we submit to government”.

He said his administration was keen on repositioning the agency and changing the disposition of staff.

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“We must be a foremost agency and sophisticated in the way we do our things,” he said.

He disclosed that the agency had revised guidelines for arrest and detention, in accordance with the constitution.

“If the law says release a suspect within 24 hours without trial, we release them,” he said.

The EFCC chair commended civil society organisations for their commitment to the anti-graft war, noting that 80 per cent of petitions at the agency come from CSOs.

This exposition is numbing, almost unbelievable and certainly worth observing through the full circle.

It’s as if the biblical prophet of reformation, John the Baptist, known in Islamic scriptures as Prophet Yahya, has visited the EFCC or some supervising agency or personality.

Here is an agency reputed for arbitrary conduct, including hounding opponents of administrations in power and disregard for court decisions over the years, despite doing some good and commendable work.

By this recent declaration, the EFCC, if it follows through with its words, would be cleaning up its perception in the public space regarding adherence to due process, respect for the constitution, as well as for law and order. It would further be displaying that it has made the connection between causality and consequence to good effect.

It would have also stamped an understanding that its assignment is meant to deliver service to humanity and not to hand out unconscionable pain, trauma and harassment as ends unto themselves.

Kudos to Mr.Ola Olukayode, the helmsman at the EFCC, for this remarkable display of moral standing, leadership and patriotism, and kudos to the team at the EFCC who are being led, mentored and challenged by the author and declaration of these sterling ethos.