Nigeria: President Tinubu suspends anti-corruption chief under investigation

President Bola Tinubu addresses his supporters and the country after receiving his certificate at a ceremony in Abuja, Nigeria, on 1ᵉʳ March 2023.   -  
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Nigeria's President Bola Tinubu has suspended the country's anti-corruption chief, who is under investigation for abuse of office, the government has announced.

The ousting of the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdul Rasheed Bawa, is the second of a senior official ordered by Mr. Tinubu since he took office on 29 May promising economic reforms.

"Mr. Bawa has been ordered to immediately transfer the management of the affairs of his office to the Commission's Director of Operations, who will be in charge until the conclusion of the investigation" , the government announced in a statement published on Wednesday evening.

This sanction was taken because of "serious accusations of abuse of power against him," it added, without giving details.

Mr. Bawa was then questioned in this context by the state security and intelligence services, the government added.

His suspension comes just after the ousting and arrest last week of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, who is also under investigation.

The EFCC investigates money laundering, embezzlement and other financial crimes, including online scams.

The previous president, Muhammadu Buhari, made the fight against corruption one of his hobbyhorses during his 2015 and 2019 election campaigns. But Nigeria remains one of the most corrupt countries in the world, according to the leading specialist NGO Transparency International.

Elected on 25 February in a disputed election, Mr. Tinubu promised reforms to get Africa's largest economy, and one of the continent's leading oil producers, out of financial difficulties.

As soon as he took office, he announced an end to fuel subsidies, which were costing the state billions of euros according to analysts and forcing it to borrow massively to keep petrol prices artificially low.

This measure tripled fuel prices, leading to a surge in transport costs and higher food and electricity prices for many Nigerians using petrol generators.

Economic recovery is one of the many challenges facing Mr. Tinubu, along with the fight against insecurity fuelled in various parts of the country by jihadist groups, heavily armed gangs and separatist rebels.

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