The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Ola Olukoyede as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The red chamber also confirmed the appointment of Muhammad Hammajoda as the Secretary of the anti-graft agency.
The confirmation of both men followed their screening by the upper chamber on Wednesday afternoon, about a week after they were appointed by President Bola Tinubu.
The Senate also screened and confirmed the appointment of Halima Shehu as the Chief Executive Officer of the National Social Investment Programme Agency (NSIPA).
The President had on October 12, 2023 appointed Olukoyede and Hammajoda as chair and secretary to the commission respectively.
The leadership of the country’s focal anti-graft agency has experienced shakeup in the last few months since the assumption of President on May 29, 2023.
On June 14, 2023, the President suspended Abdulrasheed Bawa indefinitely as the anti-graft agency boss. Bawa was suspended “to allow for proper investigation into his conduct while in office”. The action followed “weighty” allegations of abuse of office levelled against him.
The President subsequently directed the Director of Operations at the Commission, Abdulkarim Chukkol, to step in as acting EFCC chair while the Department of State Services (DSS) took Bawa into custody.
However, with last Thursday’s appointment and Wednesday’s confirmation by the Senate, Olukoyede becomes the new helmsman of the commission.
Presidential spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, had explained that Olukoyede’s appointment is for a renewable term of four years in the first instance.
He also said the President appointed Hammajoda to serve as the Secretary of the EFCC for a renewable term of five years in the first instance.
There had been scathing criticisms against the appointment of Olukoyede, a lawyer, whom some analysts and senior lawyers, said was not an Assistant Commissioner of Police and so therefore not fit to lead the nation’s number one anti-graft agency.
However, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, on Monday, argued that Olukoyede is “eminently qualified” to lead the commission having previously served as Chief of Staff to the EFCC Chairman (2016-2018) and Secretary to the Commission (2018-2023) as well as having 22 years cognate experience.
The senior lawyer, however, said if the EFCC chairman is from the northern region, the southern region should produce the chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
As of Monday, Olukoyede and the then ICPC Chairman, Prof Bolaji Owasanoye, were from the South-West geopolitical zone.
However, in a major shakeup on Tuesday, the President said Owasanoye would proceed on pre-end of tenure leave. The President subsequently appointed a northerner, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Jigawa State, Dr Musa Aliyu, as the new ICPC Chairman.