Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu has warned corrupt people to be wary of the long arm of justice, saying that “corruption will be fought like never before this year.”
Magu also urged Nigerians to join hands with the commission in its ongoing fight against corruption, adding that it is the responsibility of everyone to make the country a better place to live in.
Speaking to newsmen after the commissioning of Special and Sexual Offences Courts held at the Roseline Omotoso Courthouse, Ikeja, Lagos on Thursday, Magu commended the Lagos State judiciary for setting the pace in the establishment of the special courts.
The anti-graft czar expressed satisfaction with the establishment of the special courts to try corruption and financial crimes cases, describing it as a very courageous move by the state government.
The EFCC boss added that it was imperative for other states to toe the same line, as directed by the Chief Justice of the Federation, Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen.
He also charged journalists to embrace the anti-graft war, adding that they were also stakeholders in the crusade.
According to him, “you do not have to fight corruption the way I fight it; you can fight it by educating and sensitising the public on the ills of corruption.
“But I can assure you that corruption will be fought like never before this year.”
Earlier, the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Hon. Justice Opeyemi O. Oke, had stated that the special courts would fast-track the trial of corruption and economic and financial crime cases.
Justice Oke, who also expressed gratitude at the turnout of guests, said: “We believe strongly that the special courts shall fast-track the trial of economic and financial cases and encourage the EFCC and other relevant bodies like the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission to expedite the investigation and prosecution of such cases.”
Tracing the events leading to the setting up of the courts, she stated: “The journey started in June 2017 in the speech marking the second anniversary of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration when the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo announced the plan of the Federal Government to designate specific courts to handle corruption cases.
“He said the courts would be part of a general judicial reform to make the judiciary more efficient and to facilitate the determination of corruption and financial crime cases.”
Oke said that the bulk of over 500 cases of financial crimes pending before the High Court had now been assigned to the special offences courts.
“In the Lagos State judiciary, we have commenced a campaign against corruption in our courts and among supporting staff. All hands are on deck to see an end to this cankerworm that has eaten deeply into the fabric of our justice delivery system.
“We are enthusiastic about the designation of the new courts as we see the development as a step in the right direction,” she said.
In her remarks, the wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Oludolapo Osinbajo commended the state judiciary for the bold step to set up the special courts. “I am extremely delighted to be a part of this historic event. It is commendable because it has been put in place to ensure that justice is quickly served on corrupt people,” she said.
Mrs. Osinbajo enjoined everyone to be part of the anti-graft war and speak out against corrupt activities in the society.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode said the creation of the special courts would accelerate the dispensation of justice.
Ambode, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Idiat Adebule, added: “The major challenge to the sustainable development of our country is corruption and it has affected our integrity in the foreign space.
“It is not surprising that courts are being commissioned for economic and financial crimes.
“We are positive that the creation of these courts will assist in the expeditious prosecution of economic and financial crimes.”
One of the highlights of the event was the presentation of plaques to some personalities, including Mrs. Osinbajo; Dr. Adebule and wife of state governor, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode.