The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, who withdrew suddenly during a public event at the Presidential Villa Thursday, morning, has revealed what doctors told him was responsible for the health-related incident.
Mr Bawa spoke in a live interview with Channels Television hours after the incident that occurred during an event commemorating the National Identity Day at the Presidential Villa on Thursday.
During the interview monitored by our reporter, Mr Bawa said he started feeling dizziness while he was speaking at the ceremony.
The EFCC boss who was rushed to an undisclosed hospital from the venue, said the doctors who attended to him revealed that he suffered dehydration and advised him to take a lot of water.
He expressed gratitude to many concerned Nigerians, whose prayers he said “has been keeping me going”.
Mr Bawa said he went straight to his office after leaving the hospital and had returned home, from where he spoke with Channels TV via a call.
“While giving my goodwill message during the programme there was a bit of dizziness and I had to excuse myself from the stage and of course I had to visit the hospital where the doctors confirmed to me everything with me is okay except for the fact that I am a bit dehydrated and I need to take a lot of water.
“And straight away from the hospital I went to the office to tidy one or two things and I am now back at home.
“I also want to thank millions of Nigerians for their prayer and well wishes I appreciate that and I think that has been keeping me going,” Mr Bawa said.
‘Why I can’t names of suspected terrorism sponsors’
Mr Bawa also said not in the best position to give the names of suspected terrorism sponsors in Nigeria being held within and outside country.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) government had reportedly named six Nigerians on its terror list.
This comes barely a year after the Gulf country convicted six other Nigerians indicted for funding Boko Haram, a dreaded terror group in Nigeria, last November.
In March, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the Nigerian Government arrested some bureaux de change operators who were facilitating the transfer of money to Boko Haram terrorists.
Also, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, had said ongoing investigations revealed many highly placed Nigerians and businessmen involved in financing terrorism.
Mr Malami, who spoke in May, said the ‘strongly’ suspected financiers were already being profiled for prosecution.
While the Nigerian government has yet to reveal the names of the alleged Boko Haram financiers, the question of who they are was posed to Mr Bawa during the Channels TV interview.
The anti-graft agency boss, however, refused to mention names, saying he was not President Muhammadu Buhari’s publicist.
“If you are my adviser, will you advise me on national television to tell the world regarding matters of national security, certainly not?
“But what I want to assure you is that we (EFCC) is working with other sister agencies to ensure the country is free of terrorism and transparency is one of the bedrock of this administration and you are aware I am not the spokesman of this government.”
According to him, “at the right time, Nigerians would get to know those that are financing terrorism in this country and beyond as well.”
Boko Haram, the third deadliest terrorist group in the world, has killed thousands and displaced millions since its first attack in 2009.
Although based in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria, the terrorist sect’s tentacles spread out to Chad, Cameroon and other parts of Central Africa.
Mr Bawa also lauded the recent foreign exchange policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) stopping the release of dollars to bureau de change operators to strengthen the naira in the black market.
“Before now, this country is the only country in the world that is giving forex to BDC’s directly. And let me correct an impression, nobody stops the operations of BDCs in this country.
“The policy is about stopping the giving of cash to BDCs.”
He added, “And it is a laudable policy; we are working with the CBN and stakeholders to fine-tune the operations. Already we have seen a lot.”
He said many Nigerians had deviced other means of applying for this forex legally from their bankers “and when they get it, they go back to the same medium and take advantage of the market.”
He added, “A lot of Nigerians are now collecting forex.
And of course, we are working and getting intelligence, the bankers are cooperating with us. There have been a lot of reports of some elements within the society that are trying to take advantage of the system as well through the financial institution.
“But we are determined the banker’s committee is working the CBN is working and we are working as well.
“And those that are found to have crossed the line will be dealt with by the law.”
When asked about the recent freezing of a ban! account of the Kogi State government, Mr Bawa said the commission would not be involved in media trial.
“Since when I came on board as EFCC chairman, we have tried as much as possible to do our work by disassociating our operations from media trial. But (we) allow Nigerians to see the result at the end of the day.
“But it is a very simple matter. And we are still in court, we have been able to secure an interim forfeiture affecting the determination of our investigation. And at the right time when we conclude our investigation, we would make our position clear to everyone to see.”
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