24 August 2020. NAN: The Kingdom of Norway has urged the Federal Government to make the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), an independent body to build a strong hold for anti-corruption fight.
Mr Jens-Petter Kjemprud, outgoing Ambassador of Norway to Nigeria, gave the advice during a chat with newsmen in Abuja on Monday.
Kjemprud said it was necessary for the commission to have independence, its members nominated on professional basis and be protected from political leadership.
He said the anti-corruption fight anywhere was usually a long one and should not be done in a hurry because it took a longer process.
“Anti-corruption fight is a long fight that is not done in a hurry, it takes a long process and it returns to the political process.
“If you have different political ideology, you have contradictions and no control mechanism.
“As it is today in Nigeria, you have set of political class ruling another political party.
“The EFCC should be independent,’’ he said.
He also called for the independence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to ensure free and fair elections in the country.
According to him, there have been deficiencies in Nigeria’s democracy and election is not necessarily democracy itself, but a technical process.
“A milestone of democracy in Nigeria was achieved when former President Goodluck Jonathan accepted the election result in 2015 and it should be built upon.
“Unfortunately most election observers find some deficiency with the 2015 election but more with the 2019 elections.
“Election process should have a strong commission as the EFCC, so electoral commission should be independent to ensure free and fair election,’’ he said.
On security, the ambassador said that the escalation of conflicts in parts of the country had stretched the army and others security outfits and this was a challenge to the nation.
He called for continued reconciliations, negotiations and peace talks to help reduce conflicts.
“ In the current economic problems, it is difficult to lessen the real reasons for insecurity, as social and educational services take a long time.
“Insecurity is not too surprising when many people are living below the poverty line and over 25 per cent are out of jobs,’’ he added.