The Acting Executive Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Abdulkarim Chukkol has deployed the activities of illegal mining operators in Kwara State and vowed to check the menace.
He stated this on Thursday, July 6, 2023, at a workshop organised by the EFCC for print, electronic, and online reporters in Ilorin, Kwara State.
Chukkol, who spoke through the Ilorin Zonal Commander of the EFCC, Michael Nzekwe, said the activities of illegal solid mineral operators pose a grave threat to the local and national economy, through non-payment of royalties, taxes and other dues.
He, however, expressed confidence in the competence of the Commission to tackle the menace head-on. According to him, “the Commission has been active in tackling their criminalities and will continue to ensure that extant laws against illegal miners are enforced.”
The EFCC boss commended the media for collaborating with the agency in its fight against economic and financial crimes adding that the engagement provided an opportunity to interface with faces behind the news.
“This meeting evokes fresh consciousness of the critical and sacrificial roles of the media in nation-building. Besides, an interaction like this offers a rare opportunity to see the faces behind the news we read in newspapers and social media; watch on television or listen to on the radio”, he said.
While charging the media on professionalism Chukkol said, “Journalists, all over the world, are undoubtedly chroniclers of history and generation-builders. The media has always been the mirror and monitor of other arms of government.”
He particularly expressed delight over the synergy between the media and the EFCC saying, “The media has proven to be an important stakeholder, showcasing our activities and offering critical reviews that are germane to systems improvement.”
The commission’s spokesperson, DCE Wilson Uwujaren in his remarks appreciated the media for being good partners in the fight against corruption and urged them to always abide by the ethics of the job. He said the programme was part of the Commission’s efforts to build the capacity of men of the pen profession and enhance their reportage of corruption cases.
In his presentation entitled, “New Trends in Cybercrimes: How Not to Become A Victim”, CSE Alex Ogbole Ocheme of the Operations Department of the Commission put the damages done by cybercrimes globally at eight trillion dollars.
The resource person gave vivid descriptions of the typologies of cybercrimes across the world and exposed the deep secrets of hackers and other cyber-criminals.
“There is no system hackers cannot tamper with. What is important is for individuals and organisations to be vigilant and keep codes of their systems secret”, Ocheme said.
He urged the participants to be wary of unsolicited messages they received via social media platforms and avoid posting sensitive information on social media.
In his presentation entitled, “Investigative Journalism and Nigeria’s Fight against Money Laundering”, Dele Oyewale, an Assistant Director, Media and Publicity at the Commission’s Head Office admonished the members of the fourth estate of the realm to put extra efforts by having multiple sources in their reportage so as to maintain the credibility of the profession.
He said: “An investigative journalist is the one who stands out among other journalists; one who does not engage in armchair journalism; one who does not engage in cut and paste journalism or ‘brown envelope’ journalism; but instead, engages in deep, extensive, in-depth and serious research into issues of corruption, while also exposing such practices.”
Oyewale lamented that investigative reporting in Nigeria is minimal and challenged members of the fourth estate of the realm to shrug off excuses and fears and do more investigative reports that can assist the Commission in the investigation of the hitherto hidden corruption cases.
Larrys Peters Aso, an Assistant Director in the Legal and Prosecution Department of the EFCC, also took participants through the “New Money Laundering Laws in Relation to Activities of Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions”, urging stakeholders to always play by the rules.