The secret screening of candidates to head the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) began in earnest on Monday – six days ago.
Although it was not immediately clear which government agency is screening the candidates, dependable source close to the Presidency disclosed that “the shortlisted candidates are being screened right now.
Though the source refused to disclose whether it is the Department of State Services (DSS) or National Intelligence Agency (NIA) that is directed to carry out the screening, other indications point to an inter-security agency screening panel to make the screening multi-dimensional as every aspect of the lives of the shortlisted candidates will be thoroughly examined.
Though newsmen could not ascertain the exact number of candidates, investigations have spotted three front-runners, at present. One of them, from the South West, is a retired Commissioner of Police (CP) who has headed the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigeria Police. This lawyer recently bagged a doctorate degree.
What recommended him is that while at the SFU, most high profile cybercrimes cases, and related financial crimes cases were referred to him from all police formations as well as the Force Headquarters by a particular former Inspector-General of Police (IGP) who deployed him to SFU because he believed he could revive the outfit. This man made the SFU to compete favourably with EFCC in terms of arrests, investigations and prosecutions.
Investigations revealed that under him all financial crime cases were treated with dispatch and readily prosecuted after prima facie cases were established. The second front-runner is a serving Commissioner of Police from Yobe State. He is said to be thorough bred in cracking cybercrimes and other related financial crimes.
He is from North East geo-political zone. A most dependable source close to the Presidency confided on newsmen on Friday that, “he is the candidate of the Attorney-General of the Federation. He (CP) almost got the job the last time around but for the publicity the press gave him. And Aso Rock was not happy about that publicity blitz.”
The source hinted that the presidency does not want to be predicted correctly because “they (Aso Rock) like to surprise the public.”
Another front-runner is a retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) from the same geo-political zone with the CP.
He had headed the Interpol arm of the police and one of the state police commands in the South West. In both places he exhibited prowess of a trained and experienced detective. He is articulate and does not compromise illegality. He is known in the Force as a stern officer.
He had also served in the EFCC as an operational officer at the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP). While in EFCC, he was said to have exhibited prowess with good track records of thorough investigations.
Many, think he is the most favoured owing to his EFCC experience. Yet, his EFCC background is proving to be a double-edged sword as those who want a fresh EFCC run by fresh faces in totally fresh ways views his EFCC experience as unwieldy garbage.
Investigations also revealed that a retired Brigadier–General from the North is also being pushed forward. He is said to be close to President Muhammadu Buhari.