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No, police officer Mohammed Umar Abba has not taken over as acting chair of Nigeria’s financial crimes commission after Abdulrasheed Bawa’s suspension in June 2023

IN SHORT: A photo of police officer Mohammed Umar Abba is circulating on social media in Nigeria, with the claim that he has been appointed chair of the EFCC following former chair Abdulrashaeed Bawa’s suspension. But this is old news and not true. 

A few hours after Nigerian president Bola Tinubu suspended the chairperson of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, a profile of a police officer started circulating online, claiming he was the new acting chair.

Some posts on Facebook making this claim include an official photo of Mohammed Umar Abba with the Nigerian and EFCC flags behind him, and the title “Acting Chairman EFCC” under his name. 

“BREAKING. The New Acting EFCC Chairman, Mohammed Umar Abba Recieves Handover Notes From Mr Bawa And Swings Into Full Acting Capacity,” a Facebook post reads

Other versions of the claim on Facebook can be seen here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

But has Abba really taken over as acting chairperson of the EFCC following Bawa’s suspension? 


Error in reporting

One of the earliest versions of the claim shows Abba's profile with the “6 things to know about acting EFCC chairman, Mohammed Abba”, apparently published by Punch newspaper but later deleted. 

Before it was deleted it was, however, republished by a few blogs. The Daily Trust newspaper also reported on its front page on 15 June 2023 that “Umar Abba takes charge”. 

Official announcement and old photo

A press release by the EFCC announced that: “Following Tuesday, June 14, 2023, suspension of Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, as Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission by the Federal Government, Mr. Abdulkarim Chukkol has stepped in as Acting Chairman of the Commission. Until this new role, he was the Director of Operations of the Commission.”

Abba served as the EFCC’s acting chairperson between July 2020 and February 2021. He was the director of operations and he stepped in when Ibrahim Magu was suspended as EFCC chair. Abba left the EFCC and returned to the Nigerian police after he was replaced by Bawa, who was appointed chairperson of the commission in February 2021.

“CP Abba was seconded to the Commission in January 2016 to head the Counterterrorism and General Investigations, CTGI, Section at the Headquarters in Abuja. He was appointed the Director of Operations of the Commission in 2017, a position he held till 2020 when he took over from Ibrahim Magu as acting Chairman, a position he held till he returned to the Police,” Abba’s profile on EFCC website reads.  

The photo in circulation is Abba’s official photo from when he served as the acting chairperson of the EFCC for about seven months before Bawa’s appointment. It is not current in June 2023.

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