Image Of The Economic And Financial Crimes Commission As A Crime Fighting Agency Of The Federal Republic Of Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

Image Of The Economic And Financial Crimes Commission As A Crime Fighting Agency Of The Federal Republic Of Nigeria


Economic and financial crimes commission (EFCC) established in the year 2003 has the power and mandate to investigate financial crimes such as advanced fee fraud (419 frauds) and money laundering. The commission’s act empowers it to investigate people in all sectors of the Nigerian economy who appears to be living more than, they earn. However, corruption in Nigeria is on the high increase day to day with many cases of government officials stealing public funds. A report by Renters in Guardian newspaper shows Nigeria’s foreign debt stood at $10.32 billion by end of June 2015 that is the first six months of this year. The anti-corruption organization transparency international reports that Nigeria remains highly corrupt Just as the organization rated Nigeria the 35th most corrupt country in the world. As a result, the EFCC is seen by many Nigerians as in effective; as toothless bulldog that can neither bark nor bide. This research study intends to find out how the anti-graft agency is projected by Nigerian newspapers using Daily sun and the guardian newspapers as case study. Four hypotheses will be formulated for this study, and the work will be anchored on agenda setting theory of media. Also the research will adopt content analysis method in the study.

Chapter One


1.1 Background Of The Study

Nigeria as the gain of Africa is a country blessed with enormous resources and people of different dribes. As a political entity, one of the greatest problem facing this nation is corruption.

Corruption is one of the colonial legacies bequeathed to the post independent indigenous bureaucrats. This canker room has eaten deep into the vibers of its citizens especially the headers.

The pre-independence scame in the Africa continental bank (ACB) which involved top politicians was one of the grand corruptions recorded before independence in 1960.

Prior do the independence in 1960, Nigeria has been ruled by both military and civilian or democratic government and each of this government that come into power tried to stop corruption in Nigeria by establishing different law enforcement agencies.

Yet, the first Nigeria Republic was ousted in 1966 by the military on alleged corruption. The leader of the coup detat, major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu State that;

Our enemies are political profiteers, swindler, the men in the high and law places that seek dribe and demand ten percent, those that seek to keep the country dioid permanently so that they can remain in offices as ministers, VIPS, of waste, the tribalism, the nepotists, those that make the country look big for nothing before international cireles, those that have corrupted our society and put the Nigeria political calendar back by their words and deeds (Richardson, 2009:4).

Again, one of the principle reasons for the 1975 coup de tat in Nigeria was the allegation of corruption leveled against general yakubu Gowon’s administration.

Also, the shehu chagar (second administration) from 1979 to 1983 was alleged to have institutionalized corruption in public and private sectors under which basis the military ousted the regime.

The regime of general Sami Abacha witnessed unprecedented high of corruption as he championed direct looting from the central bank of Nigeria (C.B.N) from 1993 to 1997.

Successive government in Nigeria embarked on various anti-corrupting programmes consistently to educate the society at large on the adverse effect of corruption an the economy of the nation and the image of the country in the international scene.

In highlighting, report of the past regime in the war against corruption, this study takes a cue, from the general murtala Mohammed War Against corruption in 1976, which resulted in the major purge in public and private sector; the Jayi declaration in 1977 by General Olusegu Obasanjo Sign posting the commencement of the second phased battle against the creeping culture of corruption bribery and indiscipline.

The ethical revolution of Shehu Shagari from 1981 ro 1983, War Against Indiscipline (WAI) by Buhari –Ideaghbon in 1984, the National orientation movement in 1986 and the mass mobilization for social justice by Babangida in 1987; to the War Against Indiscipline and corruption by Sami Abacha in 1996.

The truth is that the counting (Nigeria) is more corrupt than the imagination of the outside world. Corruption transcends to our unemployed youth who have metamorphosed to security risk to the society.

Inspite of this seemingly noble effort of government to combat corruption, it is said to note that most tap government functionaries are deeply involved in corruption practices. Corruption inhibits development because resources meant for public services are being diverted do individual purses.

Asogroa (2008:86) points out that Nigeria has been deeply trapped in the web of systematic corruption a deadly, virus, once it enters into the blood stream of any system it spreads quickly to all the segment of the organization. The result is that the virus will adversely affect the effectiveness of the system.

The need to institutionalized the effort of government in waging War against corruption in Nigeria warranted the democratic administration of olusegun Obasanjo to sponsor the bill that gave credence to the law that established then Economic and Financail crimes commission (EFCC).

The EFCC was established in 2003 partially in response to pressure from the financial Action East force on money laundering (FATF), which named Nigeria as one of the 23 countries non-cooperative in international community’s efforts to fight money laundering.

EFCC jurisdiction in Nigeria is limited to financial crimes. As of 2014, the commission falls directly under the governance of the president of Nigeria. This allows the reigning president to appoint and dismiss the EFCC’s chairpersons. A case of this occurred on November 23th, 2011, when president Goodluck Jonathan dismissed chair woman farida member Waziri and replaced her with Ibrahim Lamorde.

Even since it was established in 2003, the EFCC had pointed to its ambitious goals as an indication of its commitment to the fight agaibt corruption.

However, the EFCC achievement record is poor. Many Nigerians regard the EFCC not only as a severely enfeeble anti-corruption agency but also as an organization that deeply confused about the dixation to which it should be headed.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) mission statement as clearly outline in its website states that the EFCC will curb the menace of the corruption that constitute the cog in the wheel of progress, protect national and foreign investments in the country; imbue the spirit of hard work in the citizenry and discourage ill gotten wealth and confiscate it; build an upright workforce in both public and private sectors of the economy and contribute to the global war against financial crimes.

The extent to which the EFCC has lived by or adhered to its mission statement remains a contested topic in the public sphere.

The EFCC has had a chequered history right from its early days. It is not a pretty history by anyone’s evaluation.

There are serious questions to be asked about the level of commitment and determination of the EFCC officials to deny corrupt politicians, public officers and business people, that important oxygen bags that helps to sustain their corrupt practices.

The public entitled to ask questions about how far the EFCC has accomplished its grand objectives. An anti-corrupt agency that is funded and supported with tax payer’s money must live up to public expectations and the key objectives for which it was established.

The drial and conviction in London of former Delta state Governor, James Onanefi Ibori on money laundering charges and other related offences in late February 2014, shows that there are dedicated anticrime organization across the world willing to handled high profile corruption cases in Nigeria which our spineless EFCC I s too terrified to touch. When Ibori was successful prosecuted and convicted in London, the metropolitan police beat its chest triumphantly in a symbolic message to the EFCC and compromised judicial system.

The message was that the an anti-crime agency with courage has caught a big fish in Nigeria’s sea of corrupt politicians.

What is really going on at the EFCC inspite of public outrage over major corruption scandals, the EFCC has maintained an old kind of silence over the embarrassing cases of corruption involving high profile people.

By showing lack of concern over major corruption scandals, the EFCC has exposed itself to accusation of complicity in watching parliamentarian, public officers and businessmen, and women paddle their boats freely in Nigeria corrupt water.

Specifically, the EFCC has been indolent in its response to shocking case of corruption across the nation. Here are some but not limited examples of corruption cases across the corruption.

The house of representative adhoc committee investigating how oil subsiding revenue was used or abused by the various companies has produced spectacular allegation and countries allegation of beribery between oil marketers Fermi Otedola and Farouk Lawan, the house committee chairman.

The allegation have been given further entertainment value by the emergency in the recent past of questionable audio and video recording of what transpired between Otedola and Lawan.

Additionally, investigation into the police pension fund have produced scandatius detail of how a syndicate compromising the permant secretary in a federal ministry and other senior official had stolen pension funds and defrauded federal government of over N3 billion every month.

The investigation also showed how N28 billion that belongs to the police pension fund was lodged in an unidentified bank account while N15 billion was spent on the purchase of grandiose property by some people in the pension unit of the office of the head of service.

Investigators also found out that more than 44,000 workers who retired between 1968 and 1975 were denied that pension benefits.

Furthermore, the corrupt practice leveled against the former first lady of Nigeria, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, over allegation of money laundering of about N1.9 billion by a civil society group, coalition against impunity and Illegality (CAGIL), is yet to be taken up by the EFCC. According to CAGIL, the anti-grapt agency has publicly declared in 2006 through its spokesman, Osita Nwajah, that Mr. Jonathan, who was then the first lady of Bayelsa State, was nabbled at the murtala Muhammed international Airport, Lagos, while attempting to smuggle out $ 12.5 million.

This is just to mention but a few of the corruption cases in the recent past in Nigeria which EFCC has usefully failed in living up to its responsibility of charging, prosecuting and punishing the people found culpable.

The EFCC has said nothing about how it has investigated these extrasodinary allegations and countries –allegations of corruption or whether indeed it is yet to commence investigation.

Still the public has not heard anything to suggest that the agency is taking the allegations seriously. There is something dodgy about an anti-corruption agency of government that operates system in which corruption has become an approved way of life but prefer to look the other way whenever senior government officers, politicians and business are accourant of corruption.

Corruption has virtually turned Nigeria into the land of starvation and a debtor nation in spite of the nations enormous resources.

The person does not believe the anti-corruption skgan of the EFCC and many people have little faith in candour and anti-corruption credential of officials of EFCC.

This research study intends to unravel the protection of the ant-graft agency in the war against corruption. Using Daily sun and the guardian newspapers.

1.2 Statement Of Research Problem

There is so much corruption in Nigeria today; this is disheartening especially when one notices that they are perpetuated by the people in government, who almost are seen as sacred cows and the untouchable.

However, the year 2003, the government inaugurated an anti-grapt agency; Economic and financial crimes commission (EFCC) to fight and defeat this ugly trend. Since the inauguration of EFCC as an anti-graft agency, it has ever been saddle with the responsibility of preventing and fighting corruption.

Thus, much has been heard about EFCC but little has been reported about those that have been prosecuted since its inception and many suspects on its watch list on a regular basis have never been charged.

Many as a result, sees EFCC as a tool in heard of ruling part to hand pick their opposition and to oppress them.

Similarly, little is known about various money and other recoveries made by the economic and financial crimes commission (EFCC), therefore, it becomes imperative to look at how news papers view the EFCC as a crime fighting agency.

1.3 Objective Of The Study

The general objective of this study is to determine the image of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as a crime fighting agency in Nigeria.

Specifically, objectives for this study are:

  1. To study the nature of stories the guardian and daily sun newspapers cover about the agency as a crime fight commission in Nigeria
  2. To determine the space/prominence the news papers portray the EFCC as a crime fighting agency in Nigeria.
  3. To investigate whether newspaper portray the agency in favourable or unfavourable undertone.
  4. To determine the direction of the stories about EFCC.

1.4 Signification Of The Study

There is no gain saying that the research finding will benefit the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the federal government of Nigeria.

This research study has become imperative and significant in view of the fact that the EFCC needs to put on the right footing, if the war against the canker-worm that has caten deep into the fabric of Nigeria economy must be totally won.

Also, the media practitioners are among the beneficiaries of this research study. More importantly, this study will contribute to the already existing academic literature on the phenomena.

1.5 Research Questions

To achieve the goals of the study, the following research questions are formulated, thus,

  1. What are the nature of stories the newspapers shows about Economic and financial crimes commission (EFCC) as a crime fighting agency in Nigeria?
  2. Do newspapers give prominence in terms of news about EFCC?
  3. Do the newspapers portray depth to stories about the agency as a crime fighting agency in Nigeria?
  4. Do the newspapers present EFCC in a favourable or unfavourable tone?

1.6 Research Hypotheses

Four hypotheses were put forward to guide and regulate the conduct of the study.

The hypotheses have both null and alternative hypotheses. The null hypothesis is represented by “Ho” while the alternative hypotheses is represented by Hi.

  1. H1: The nature of stories in newspapers shows EFCC as a crime fighting agency in Nigeria.
    Ho: The nature of stories in newspapers does not show EFCC as a crime fighting agency in Nigeria.
  2. H2: The newspapers give prominence in terms of the news about the EFCC.
    Ho: The newspapers do not give prominence in terms of the news about the EFCC.
  3. H3­: The newspapers portray depth to stories about the agency as a crime fighting agency in Nigeria
    Ho: The newspapers do not portray depth to stories about the agency as crime fighting agency in Nigeria.
  4. H4: The newspapers present EFCC in a favourable tone.
    Ho: The newspapers do not present EFCC in a favourable tone.

1.7 Theoretical Framework

Every research problem in the field of mass communication should be addressed on an appropriate theory, this research study finds anchor on Agenda setting theory.

This theory is indeed appropriate in view of the postulation made by its propounders.

This theory describes the powerful influence of the media in the ability to tell us what issues are important (Ndolo 2006, 32). Scholars agree that the audience attach important to issue in the domain of public discussion because the media have effectively brought them to public focus.

The link between media agenda and public perception of what constitute news is vital one to explore. It the public look to the media for news , what the media decides is news, is what the public recognize as news, what is emphasized by the media is emphasized in public perception, what is amplified by the media is enlarged in public perception.

Donald McCombs and Malcoh Shaw (1976) noted that, audience not only learns about public issue and other matters through the media, they also learn how much importance to attach to an issue or topic from the emphasis the mass media place upon it. For instance, in reflecting what people say during a campaign, the mass media apparently determine the important issue.

Macomb and Shaw argue that the agenda setting capacity of the media makes them highly influential in shaping public perception of the world.

This ability to effect cognitive change is one of the most important aspects of power of mass communication. The power of news organizations to influence what people think about often referred to as “Agenda setting” comes from their ability to choose the stories that will gain attention (Macomb and Shaw 1972:36).

Greater visibility of an event, they say leads to greater public awareness and concern for an issue. Therefore, the manner in which an event or issue is presented in the news media contributes a lot to the knowledge and understanding of the event or issue.

Eze (2006. 10), affirmed that even though Lippmann did not specially use the term “Agenda setting” itself, Bernard cohen is generally credited with refining Lippmann’s idea in theory of Agenda setting Cohen (1963:13) wrote.

The press is significantly more than a surveyor of information and opinion. It may not be successful most of the time in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful most of the time in telling people what to think about. And it follows from this that the world books different to different people depending not only on their personal interest but on the mag that is drawn for them by the writers, editors, and publisher of the papers they read. It is no longer in doubt that issue are made more important and popular than the other through the media.

The media with its ability to reach large and heterogeneous audience simultaneously makes it have an edge over others. The media can do this by bringing ideas to people on persistent levels.

Conclusively, the performance of economic and financial crimes commission (EFCC) in the fight against corruption has been severally projected by the media, especially print in recent past. It has become imperative to anchor this study on the agenda setting theory as to determine the image of EFCC as an agency in the fight against crime in Nigeria.

1.8 Scope Of The Study

Granted that the scope of study has to do with content area coverage of the study, this research has its scope premised on the image of Economic and financial crimes commission (EFCC) as anti-graft agency in Nigeria.

The period of study is a year and six months (Jan. 1,2014 to June 30,2015).

1.9 Limitation Of The Study

The researcher encountered some constraint and difficulties in the course of carrying out this study. Financial constraint and time factor were limiting factors to this research study. Nevertheless, the researcher was able to achieve a good work.

1.10 Definition Of Terms

The key terms in the research topic and those of research objectives have conceptual and operational definition.

Conceptual Definition Of Terms


printed publication usually issued everyday or weekly containing news, articles, editorials fresh information and advertisement.

Economic and financial crimes commission:

The commission or agency set up by the EFCC Act 2004 to investigate alleged economic and financial crimes.


A picture in mind.


Means offense against the state as armed robbery, child trafficking, internet fraud, bank and embezzlement of public fund.


In support of something or action.

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