Lagos - The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has reacted strongly to allegations carried in the media the dismissal of two former officers bordered on tribalism.
Local media reported on Monday EFCC officers, Juliet Ibakaku and Michael Nzekwe, were dismissed because they were Igo, following an alleged witch-hunt.
However, in a hard-hitting response, the commission justified the duo's sacking.
"No reference was made to their alleged offences in appreciation of the fact that the two had pending matters in court," Wilson Uwujaren, Head, Media and Publicity at the EFCC said in reference to the media reports.
"However in their desperation to ascribe sinister motives to the Commission's action, they not only supplied the vital information that they were dismissed from service, but went ahead to bring up extraneous issues that have never been canvassed by them either in court or during the exhaustive internal disciplinary processes preceding their disengagement by the Commission."
For the avoidance if doubt, Uwujaren said, Nzekwe was dismissed for desertion, which the commission views a serious offence against discipline.
The EFCC spokesperson said on July 30, 2013, Nzekwe obtained a seven-day casual leave but not only did he fail to return to his duty post, Nzekwe travelled out of the country without authorization, in clear breach of service rule prohibiting such trips without management approval.
"Any officer who willfully absents for twenty one (21) consecutive days shall be guilty of the offense of desertion and shall be dismissed from the Commission as a deserter."
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Uwujaren said Nzekwe was not disengaged arbitrarily.
"He was subjected to the internal disciplinary process and appeared before the Senior Staff Disciplinary Committee. All through the process, he did not contest the fact that he violated the Commission's service rule by staying off duty without authorization. Instead, he consistently pleaded for leniency."
Uwujaren dismissed claims by Ibekaku she was wrongfully dismissed and did not receive fair hearing.
"Without prejudice to the action in court, the internal disciplinary mechanism of the Commission as it affects staff who abandon their duty posts was exhausted before her dismissal."
EFCC said she was dismissed on February 11 after 81 consecutive days
absence from work.
"Against this background, it is difficult to comprehend how the Commission's disciplinary procedure for erring officers would be reduced to ethnic and political agenda by some mischief makers masquerading as human rights writers. Early this year, the Commission published a disclaimer on nine former employees who were similarly dismissed for offence against discipline."
In conclusion, Uwujaren said the EFCC as a law enforcement agency, could not condone indiscipline by staff.
"The Nigerian society frowns at indiscipline and indisciplined characters have no place in our national affairs."
- CAJ News