Abdulrasheed Bawa is a Nigerian law enforcement officer serving as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Since stepping into the position, he has effortlessly distinguished himself among high-profiled citizens of Nigeria with a great reputation and zeal to fight crimes in the country. Bawa’s time in office has been characterized by a number of high-profile convictions and the recovery of several looted funds running into billions in dollars. Below are more interesting facts to know about the EFCC chairman.
Abdulrasheed Bawa Hails from Kebbi State
Abdulrasheed Bawa was born into a Muslim household on the 30th of April, 1980. He grew up with his family in a small town in Jega Local Government Area, Kebbi state. Not much is known about his childhood years, including his parents and siblings, however, he is said to be the cousin of Abubakar Malami, the current Attorney General of the Federation.
For his education, Bawa has a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and a Master’s degree in International Affairs and Diplomacy from Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto State. He obtained his first degree in 2001 and his Master’s degree in 2012. As of 2021, he was said to be studying for a Bachelor of Laws at the University of London.
Prior to his many years of study at the tertiary institution, Abdul attended Modern Primary School, Birnin-Kebbi, where he obtained his first school leaving certificate in 1991. He then proceeded to Government Secondary School, Owerri, Imo state, where he got his secondary school certificate in 1997.
His Career with the EFCC Began in 2004
Abdulrasheed Bawa was one of the pioneer cadet officers of EFCC. He joined the agency in 2004 as an Assistant Detective Superintendent (ADS) in its Lagos office. He has since gone on to work in the agency’s offices in Port Harcourt and Abuja and has received training from international crime-fighting organizations like the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN), and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
In 2015, Bawa was appointed to head the agency’s investigation of the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, and her associates. He headed this investigation from 2015 to 2019 and still continues to oversee it. Bawa has also been part of prosecutions of advance fee frauds, bank frauds, and other related crimes.
On 16 February 2021, he was nominated by President Buhari to serve as EFCC Chairman. A few weeks later on 24th February 2021, his nomination was confirmed by Ahmed Lawan and the National Assembly, making him Executive Chairman of the anti-graft agency and the first non-police EFCC Chairman.
Bawa is the Youngest Appointed EFCC Executive Chair
Abdulrasheed Bawa’s appointment as the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission ushered in many groundbreaking achievements for the young man. First, by being a native of Kebbi State, he is the first EFCC appointee from the North West region of Nigeria. His predecessors were either from the North East or North Central region.
One other big breakthrough for Bawa is that following his appointment as EFCC chairman in 2021, he became the youngest person to head the anti-graft body. He was 41 years old when he was appointed the chairman of EFCC and with his current age of 42, he still remains the youngest EFCC chairman.
Other persons who previously chaired the agency stepped into the highly coveted office at well over 40 years of age. The pioneer chairman of EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu, assumed office at about 43 in 2003 and he left in 2007. His successor, Farida Waziri, took over in May 2008 at the age of 59 and left on November 23, 2011.
Ibrahim Lamorde who stepped in as EFCC chairman in November 2011, became so at the age of 49 and he left office on November 9, 2015. The immediate-past acting chairman of the organization, Ibrahim Magu, who spent half a decade in office as EFCC chairman even without Senate confirmation, stepped into office on November 9, 2015, at 53. He was eventually removed under controversial circumstances on July 7, 2020.
Bawa’s Impact and Achievements as EFCC Boss
Abdulrasheed Bawa’s presence at the EFCC was helpful both to the antigraft body and the country at large. In addition to his role as lead investigator in the multi-billion Naira fraud case against Diezani Alison-Madueke that led to the recovery of properties and monies, Bawa has led many investigations that have led to the recovery of millions stolen by many government officials.
During his time as the agency’s zonal head in Port-Harcourt and Lagos, he successfully investigated several cases that led to convictions and recovery of looted funds worth millions in Naira. Some of his high profile cases as stated on his CV include:
- Supervising the biggest operations zonal office of the EFCC in Lagos having 604 officers and securing 227 convictions despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Supervising the investigation of all cases in Port Harcourt Zonal office in which an unprecedented 215 convictions were secured and securing Final Forfeiture of hundreds of properties to the Federal Government.
- Supervising the investigation of all cases in the Ibadan Zonal office in which 113 convictions were made and 54 people were charged to court.
- Heading the Diezani Alison-Madueke fraud case from 2015 till date. He recovered millions of dollars worth of properties in Nigeria, the UK, the USA, and the UAE.
- Heading the Atlantic Energy Group case from 2014-2015. He recovered millions of dollars worth of properties in Nigeria, the UK, the USA, Switzerland, UAE, and Canada.
- Heading the Crude Oil Swaps and OPA investigation from 2014-2015. Recovered billions of Naira.
- Heading investigations that centered on the Petroleum Subsidy Fraud from 2012-2015. He identified fraud of about N70 billion, recovered billions of Naira, and prosecuted several companies.
- Convictions of former Governor of Niger State, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu.
- Oversaw “Operation Cyber Storm One” across Nigeria in which over 60 suspected advance fee fraudsters and cybercrime perpetrators were prosecuted in 2008.
- Participated in several other periodic raids on notorious (419) cyber-cafés.
Upon assumption into office, Abdulrasheed Bawa had been quite vocal about the agency’s objectives under his leadership, thus portraying him as an enigmatic leader. He has also been vocal about bringing all sorts of criminal elements to the book, creating awareness about the agency’s mission, and canvassing public support to this effect.
A health scare in late 2021 saw Bawa keep out the public eye for a while, however, he is back in action as the EFCC boss and continues to run the agency with effective leadership zeal.
Controversies and Theft Allegations Involving the EFCC Chairman
As someone holding one of the most controversial positions in Nigeria, Abdulrasheed Bawa is not free from all kinds of controversies. However, the young talent has been able to manage his affairs and many other controversial issues about him. One of the biggest controversies involving Bawa had to do with his alleged arrest over the issue of theft.
An exclusive report by the Peoples Gazette in 2020 detailed how the current EFCC boss was arrested and detained in 2019 by the anti-graft agency itself for stealing and selling at least 244 petrol-laden trucks worth N20-N30 million each to proxies at N100,000 per unit while he was still heading the Port-Harcourt Zonal office branch of the commission.
According to the report, his handling of dozens of these trucks that had been confiscated from suspected looters cost the country some N5 billion in potential loot recovery. It was reported that he was detained as a result for several days by his boss, former acting chairman Ibrahim Magu, who later relieved him of his position and had him sent to the training school of the commission in Abuja.
Bawa was almost immediately promoted by his cousin Malami after this and not too long, nominated for the position of the agency’s chairman after Magu was removed. His nomination was greeted with controversy and condemned by several civil society organizations, analysts, and lawyers who argued that he did not qualify to be appointed as Chair of the agency since such equivalent in the Commission was a Grade Level 15, while his current rank as at the time of his nomination was of a Grade Level 13.
On 17 February 2021, the agency issued a statement denying that Bawa was ever arrested and detained for theft and illegal selling of petrol-laden trucks while heading the Port Harcourt office. Bawa himself also denied these allegations in a hearing. He was subsequently nominated to Chair the agency by President Buhari and his nomination was confirmed by the National Assembly in 2021, 24 February.
Is Abdulrasheed Bawa Married?
Abdulrasheed Bawa is married and blessed with children. However, he keeps his family and private life out of the public eye and is believed to be living a simple life despite his wealth and possession. He enjoys reading, tennis, football, current affairs, and politics.