The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has identified illegal mining and crime activities as a major threat to the local and national economy through non- payment of royalties, taxes and other dues.
The Acting Executive Chairman of EFCC, Mr Abdulkarim Chukkol, represented by the Zonal Head, Mr Micheal Nzekwe, made the assertion at a Day Workshop, organised by the commission for journalists in Kwara.
The theme of the workshop, tagged: “Effective Reporting of Economic and Financial Crimes”, was held at the Ilorin Zonal Command on Thursday.
The chairman noted that cybercrime was a major crime, particularly among undergraduates and fresh graduates of tertiary institutions.
“The commission has been active in tackling their criminalities and will continue to ensure that extant laws against illegal miners are enforced.
“Our work is engaging because the commission has been combating the menace of corrupt practices, going by its impressive records of convictions, asset forfeitures and other tangible proofs of accomplishments over the years.
“The reporting has also been arduous because our work is not static and media have always been keeping pace with our speed and energy.
“It is in recognition of these tasks that the commission initiated a workshop on economic and financial crime reporting for journalists.
“The workshop is one of the modest efforts of the commission to build synergy and foster a more engaging relationship with the media,” he said.
The EFCC boss urged Nigerians not to wait until they suffer any loss on economic and financial crimes before they move against corrupt practices, as it remains a threat to individual and corporate progress.
“It is not only by being a victim of these crimes that we suffer losses, we also suffer limitations when our neighbours, colleagues, institutions and nation fall prey to them.
“I charge the nation journalists on patriotism, as you owe our nation and the entire world an obligation of exposing every shadiness and criminal acts through reporting.
“Journalism is the best gateway to whistle blowing and I charge the media to deploy more time, energy and commitment in exposing all fraudulent activities in our midst,” he said.
In one of the presentations, titled “New trends in cybercrime: How not to become a victim”, by Alex Ocheme of the EFCC, said that cybercrime had eaten over $8 trillion of victims’ hard earned finances in the world.
He, however, said that legal bottleneck was one of the factors hindering cross border corruption investigation in the anti-corruption war.
Ocheme said that not all African countries, for example, had passed the law on cybercrime, adding that since one cannot compel those countries to try corruption offenders with such law, means that “the money stolen is gone”.
“Each nation is entitled to its laws. They are not necessarily there to work with you.
“Some countries are fast to assist you in the war against cybercrime while some are not.
“For instance, if the UAE is not ready to collaborate with a country on a cybercrime investigation, it means the money lost is gone,” he said.
Participants at the workshop included journalists from the print media, television and radio stations as well as online publishers in Ilorin.