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I get death threats, says EFCC chair

By Yusuf Alli, Abuja

With the cooperation of all, the anti-graft war is winnable, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, has said.

He, however admitted that corruption is fighting back, alleging that he has been getting death threats.

According to him, he got to know last week that someone was threatening to kill him.

He however said the war against corruption is winnable because the social malaise can be tamed, stating that between 90 and 100 per cent of looted funds end up being laundered through real estate.

Bawa made the disclosures while appearing on the Sunrise Daily programne on Channels Television.

The EFCC boss said: “Last week, I was in New York, as all Nigerians are aware of. A very senior citizen received a phone call from somebody that is not even under investigation.

“What he (the caller) said to him on phone is that; he is going to kill the EFCC chairman, the young man. He said, ‘I am going to kill him. I am going to kill him’. This is to tell you how bad it is. It is actually real. Corruption can fight back.”

When further asked if he meant he has been receiving death threats, the EFCC chairman said, “Yes”.

Bawa claimed that proceeds of corruption were being laundered through real estate.

He added: “One of the problems we have in this country now is the real estate. 90 to 100 per cent of the resources are being laundered through real estate.

“Although they are being regulated, that is not enough in terms of how they make their returns to the special control unit against money laundering.

“A lot of issues that we can talk all day about but I think this particular area if we get it right, you will see that it will not be fashionable for us to have these grand scale corruption.”

The EFCC chair said he was confident that the anti-corruption war could be won with all hands on deck.

“I am very optimistic we will succeed in taming the monster of corruption in this country.  I am very optimistic and with the efforts of the government. One of the cardinal principles of the President’s administration is to fight corruption and we in the EFCC and other law enforcement agencies saddled with this responsibility, we are doing our best and trying to curtail it.”

He said the EFCC is working with the National Assembly to stop what he called “the gatekeepers” to reduce looting and money laundering.

He also unfolded plans to engage religious bodies in the campaign against corruption.

“Nigeria is a very religious country and that is why one of the issues that we do in public enlightenment is to engage with leaders of religious bodies.

“We are soon going to launch our interface with the Christian and Islamic communities to engage them on the ills of corruption. We have already designed the manual for that.”

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