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Date Published: 07/14/10

President Jonathan, rename the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to meet our current times By John Egbeazien Oshodi

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At a time when the people of Nigeria live in an ever expanding, complicated and challenging time, national agencies in the areas of security should bear names or designations that reflect instant symbol of authority, immediate sign of power and on-the-spot perception of influence.

During the sweeping reform era in Nigeria by   President Olusegun Obasanjor’s post-military administration, one of the national agencies born in 2004 was the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).

As a national intelligence, security and anti-crime agency the Economic and Financial Crime Commission with all of its preventive, investigative and prosecution powers persist in the  fight against crimes like money laundry, Bribery, bank financial malpractice, computer crimes, forgery, land fraud, alien fraud, various schemes, scams and other related crimes like terrorism.

However, it is the physical name that is the “Economic and Financial Crime Commission” that bears some questioning and calls for refurbishing.

As a designation, it is too broad, and an all-over-the place term, in regards to the wording, symbol, and delivery. It is a label that has outlived its transitional given name and period.

From the point of symbolic human psychology, a breakdown of most of its respective words “Economic”, “Financial”, and  “Commission” as well as the supervisory name, “Chairman” on a face value are collectively suggestive of an advisory board on “Crime”.

Since symbols by definition assume special imagery and functions these long-winded, wordy and boring words  unconsciously, consciously, implicitly, explicitly, as well as directly and directly could collectively portrays images of  a compensation body, a review forum,  a charitable board, a delegating board, a trading house, a conciliation board; operating under a Chairman, as in a  commercial or political head.

No one doubts that the EFCC is a statutory authority in regards to its internal and external law enforcement functions. However this does not excuse the inherent and complete vagueness that its name carries, even the it’s acronyms, which present as a bunch of successive letters that equally spell out a mouthful, drag-like and wide-ranging expressions. Of course it is easy for an EFCC officer to scream out “police” as a quick identifier of authority to a suspect or in the course of his or her duties. But that is not the point being made here is this paper.

For example, a new visitor to Nigeria or for many educationally disadvantaged Nigerians the collective name, “Economic and Financial Crime Commission”, and its contracted letters, “EFCC”, might on a face value symbolize anything, or everything else other than the instant representation of power or authority.

 The question now is what is a more appropriate name that is conducive to the going expansive and operational functions of the agency?

Mr. President, let’s get right on to it, the new designation(s) being put forward could be called the “Federal Bureau of Criminal Investigation” (FBCI, which equally sounds as FBC), or the “Federal Force of Investigation” (FFI).

Mr. President, unlike the current agency’s vague, and ambiguous name, this proposed new designation(s) is colored with the sign, image and notion of instant directedness and specificity.

 There could be is an assuming perception of clarity, distinction and clear-cut depiction of power in the newly proposed name, at least amongst the public and those who serve in the agency.

The new designation appears to align well with the operational, practical and strategic work of the agency.

On a psychological level the new name could help in   personalizing the agency as an instrument of fear or uneasiness, and more likely to portray in the mind of any person, fear-arousing feelings and attitude.

The new designation could elicit powerful visualization of controllability embedded in the agency, at least from the perception of those in an offending mode especially.

 The visibility of this proposed designation both in print and in the media could arouse a preventative mindset among those thinking of doing bad things.

Along the lines of these new labels, the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Federal Force of Investigation is the on-the-spot authoritative and up-to-the point sounding acronyms, like the “FBCI”, or “FFI”.

 In the same vein, there should be a new label like the “Chief Director” or “Executive Director” in place of the commercially, corporately or politically sounding label of the term   “Chairman”.

Accompanying the proposed new designations should be the label of “Special Detective” with driving characteristics of uniqueness, authenticity, professional stance and expert-driven outlook.

Mr. President, these suggested designations, appear congruent with the agency’s continued expanded roles and operations.

These functions include but are not  limited to the fight against;   treason, fee fraud, land scheme, cyber crimes, cult violence, aircraft kidnapping, sex trafficking,  racketeering , medical child abuse,  major weapon offense, international money swindling, medical fraud, espionage, sea piracy , terrorism , ethnic violence, and its other works with related law enforcement and investigative agencies.

In our contemporary world, the agency now works within a global context as crimes nationally and internationally are becoming more sophisticated and a daring   in form, therefore with the up-to-date new designation like the ones proposed here, the agency’s representation become easier to be recognized globally.

 Along these lines, the agency in its ongoing fight against more treacherous and expanded crimes requires an expanded human resource and contemporary technical support, in order to produce top-notch detectives.

The current training Academy in Nigeria might as well bear a new name along the lines of the already noted new labels, the FBCI or FFI. The new name of the Academy could be called the “National Investigation Training Institute” (NITI).

Mr. President, it is hoped that in your position as a 21st century leader that along with the appropriate advisors that you thoughtfully consider these up-to-date psychological and symbolic driven designations with respect to the specified agency.

It is also hoped that the federal legislature in its forward looking posture gives the needed blessing to this apparent aligning   designations to an advancing national security agency like the ‘FBCI’ or ‘FFI’, in today’s world. 

John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D,  DABPS, FACFE  is a Forensic/Clinical Psychologist and the Interim Associate Dean, Behavioral Science, Coconut Creek, Florida. joshodi@broward.edu

 

 

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