Nigeria: Strengthen ICPC, EFCC Instead - Nigerians React to Establishment of New Anti-Corruption Agency

17 September 2020

Many Nigerians have kicked against the creation of Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency, thus calling for the vitalisation of the existing Anti-Corruption agencies.

The country has two anti-graft agencies: the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), both established in 2000 and 2003 respectively.

The Federal Executive Council, on Wednesday, announced that it has sent a bill for the creation of the new agency to the National Assembly.

The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said the agency is expected to manage all recovered assets across the country.

"The Office of the Attorney General and the Federal Ministry of Justice presented a council memo today. The council memo is about a bill which sought the approval of the council to transmit to the National Assembly for passage a bill on the management of recovered assets.

"It is a Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency Bill. It is in essence, a bill that is targeted and intended to have in place, a legal and institutional framework.

Mr Malami explained that the new agency would help coordinate the management of recovered assets, unlike the current situation, where such assets are managed by multiple agencies.

"What happened before now was that the proceeds of crime were scattered all over and mostly in the hands of different and multiple agencies of government inclusive of the Police, the Directorate of State Services, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, including the Ministry of Justice."


While some accused Mr Malami of being interested in usurping the management of the proceeds from corruption, others called for the strengthening of the ICPC and EFCC.

In 2019, Mr Malami asked the National Assembly to approve a commission of 2.5 per cent of recovered loots to be paid to the Asset Recovery Unit in his office.

The money, according to him, while defending his ministry's budget for 2020 in the National Assembly, will be used to "service bills".

Recall that the suspended acting chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, accused the Attorney-General of working with the commission in the disposal of vessels involved in illegal activities to the extent of sabotaging the country to the tune of N283 million in recovered assets.

Also, some persons questioned the sincerity of the anti-Corruption fight under the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, and raised concerns about the duplicity of agencies and its effect on the cost of governance.

Mr Buhari had, in 2019, vowed to cut down the cost of governance through necessary measures including a review of the Steve Oronsaye report, which recommended the rationalisation of government parastatals and agencies.

Speaking to PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday, a human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, described the proposed agency as "unnecessary and nonsensical".

"It is nonsense to me. To begin with, if there are assets recovered from criminal suspects and corrupt individuals, they are supposed to be remitted into the Federation account. It is going to go into the public revenue of the Federation. After that, the national assembly must now appropriate by way of budget. The government on its own does not have powers to start spending.

"If it is about recovery of looted assets, it is nonsensical to create a new agency. EFCC already has the powers to do that under its establishment act. This is another multiplication of executive agencies which does not have any bearing in fighting corruption."

"If the federal government is keen on fighting corruption, it is supposed to strengthen EFCC. We don't need another similar agency," he added.

Mr Effiong, however, urged the National Assembly to throw out the bill because it does not hold any weight.

Another human rights activist, Festus Ogun, feared that the creation is meant to achieve a selfish political interest of the Presidency, and not necessarily to fight corruption.

"Creating a new agency to fight corruption, when we have two different ones, is an abuse. At a time when Nigerians are advocating the merger of the EFCC and ICPC to enhance efficiency, the creation of an additional one can be likened to filling a basket with water."

Mr Ogun said Nigerians must rally round to resist this "reckless wastage".

Meanwhile, when confronted with these reactions, Mr Malami's spokesperson, Umar Gwandu, promised to respond to PREMIUM TIMES' enquiries. He is yet to respond as of the time of reporting.

Below are other reactions from social media


You have EFCC and ICPC already handling corruption related cases. A new agency is a clear waste of taxpayers' monies.


Buhari's administration has approved the establishment of a new anti-corruption agency - Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency (PCRMA).

Of what reason and at whose expense, when we still have ICPC and EFCC?

Wastage everywhere!


Both EFCC and ICPC have that mandate. I would like to read the draft bill to understand the rationale, if any.

I reiterate that we need to reduce the number of agencies. I have often advocated for the introduction of a new rule: For every new agency you create, scrap at least two existing ones. Still, I would like to read the draft bill first.

I reiterate that we need to reduce the number of agencies. I have often advocated for the introduction of a new rule: For every new agency you create, scrap at least two existing ones. Still, I would like to read the draft bill first.

- Dr. Joe Abah (@DrJoeAbah) September 17, 2020


It is ridiculous to set up yet another government agency for corruption. This is a government that is borrowing externally to meet recurrent expenditure!


When you can create departments within the Efcc and ICPC to do this job.

You are setting up an agency to document and manage recovered stolen assets

Lmaooo a damn shame


This is madness. why not strengthen the EFCC and the ICPC?


Here comes another directionless idea on creating agencies for the fun of it.

After over 5 years of haphazard asset recovery with little or no transparency, instead of strengthening @ICPC_PE @officialEFCC to optimally deliver on their mandate.


It is quite ridiculous that we have the EFCC, ICPC, CCB, NFIU & the MOF and yet creating another agency/body with the aim of dealing with looted funds is on the minds of the AGF & lawmakers.

Why the duplicity?


Suddenly, EFCC and ICPC are not enough.

They want to create a parallel Anti-graft agency.

Very likely, the same role with Extra budget allocated when we should be cutting costs.


EFCC, ICPC now this.

We were talking about how to cut down by phasing out duplicitous agencies.

Alas, we are trying to triplicate things.


I don't see a reason for this agency. EFCC and ICPC should even be merged into one agency to cut costs. Instead you are creating a new agency. This government lacks forward thinkers.

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