Inside Stuff With MARTINS OLOJA
“Why can’t we pity a nation that has produced a presidency, which has in its fold several professors of law, and allows an officer of this calibre to commit all these offences unchecked for five years even without confirmation by the Senate? Can any member of Nigeria’s powerful NBA point to any jurisdiction in the world where a nominee to head a law enforcement/anti-graft agency, who was asked to act since November 9, 2015 and whose nomination was rejected by the Senate since 2017, would be asked to work illegally by the presidency till July 2020? Didn’t a Federal High Court in the same 2017 affirm the power of the Senate to confirm the Chairman of EFCC as the same Senate confirmed three others before Magu? Should the world not pity a nation whose Bar Association could condone a blatant lie orchestrated by an anti-graft commission (of the nation) against the Chief Justice of that country? As I have been asking, should even members of the United Nations not pity a nation whose citizens, notably public intellectuals and civil society organisations including the media kept quiet when state actors with the active support of the Attorney General and Justice Minster removed a Chief Justice of the Federation through an administrative tribunal, which set aside constitutional provisions for removal of the Chief Justice?”
I could not continue with the conversation on an ancient link: Moral Re-Armament (MRA) this week because there is a weightier matter of the law, which concerns a famous hunter, being hunted, Ibrahim Magu,Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). He has been acting without confirmation since November 9, 2015. I have protested that anomaly several times on this page.
The ‘Trial of Brother Magu’ has attracted some groundswell of opinion. But at this juncture of our nationhood, I think we should be short on lamentation, which has never been a strategy. We should be long on lessons from our tragic errors. As all of us have become captive to poor leadership and followership here, we should begin to diagnose, underscore lessons, especially from where the rains began to beat us. I insist, reading from our books of lamentation in fine prose will not help us. We should begin to learn, unlearn and relearn how post-Covid-19 and all that stuff can be of benefits to a country the entire black race has been waiting for, Nigeria.
We may suggest crucifixion of Brother Magu. We may mock him for his naivety and even arrogance of power. We may have been shaken by how an officer of that calibre could not always recall data to tell his stories or even defend himself. We may pillory him, or even tell him to perish for lack of knowledge of the power of the office of Attorney General of the Federation…, in the constitution. We may deride him for resorting to unethical media trials before investigations of suspects. We may celebrate his fall from grace to grass at this time – for insubordination to his supervising minister and for allegedly selling recovered loots unofficially. We may blame him for allowing a serving director in a certain Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF), for instance, who is facing trial and has forfeited several assets to the government to remain in his office in Abuja. We may ask for Magu’s head for allegedly dining and wining with high profile suspects of means. We may scorn him for poor understanding of how a cabal functions in a curiously divided and parochial presidency. We may kick him for poor investigation of a former petroleum resources minister and his/her cronies. We are free at this time to suggest to Justice Ayo Salami Panel to dig deeper into how Magu and his boys might have mangled the case of Maina and his son on alleged pensions loot. We can even recall Magu’s curious handling of the NIA’s sensational ‘loot discovery’ and how a fine officer, the director-general of the NIA, Ambassador Ayo Oke lost his reputation and his job to an attention-seeking Magu and a careless presidency. We can even ask the respected Salami to look into how Magu’s EFCC helped to remove Nigeria’s Chief Justice, Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen in 2019 through a spurious allegation that there was some $3 million in the then CJN’s foreign account and 55 houses to his (Onnoghen’s) name) – just to destroy. We may dig even ask the Deep called Salami to dig deeper into how a former Head of Service, Stephen Oronsaye, one of the pillars of formation of EFCC and NFIU (as an officer in the presidency), was put on trial for insisting on independence of the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), which he (Oronsaye) argued should not be affiliated to the EFCC according to the rules of the Egmont Group. There may be more offences beyond the AGF’s 22 documented ‘sins’ of Magu. There are many more we may not remember now but let’s consider what is before us in a moment: Why can’t we pity a nation that has produced a presidency, which has in its fold several professors of law, and allows an officer of this calibre to commit all these offences unchecked for five years even without confirmation by the Senate? Can any member of Nigeria’s powerful NBA point to any jurisdiction in the world where a nominee to head a law enforcement/anti-graft agency, who was asked to act since November 9, 2015 and whose nomination was rejected by the Senate since 2017, would be asked to work illegally by the presidency till July 2020? Didn’t a Federal High Court in the same 2017 affirm the power of the Senate to confirm the Chairman of EFCC as the same Senate confirmed three others before Magu? Should the world not pity a nation whose Bar Association could condone a blatant lie orchestrated by an anti-graft commission (of the nation) against the Chief Justice of that country? As I have been asking, should even members of the United Nations not pity a nation whose citizens, notably public intellectuals and civil society organisations including the media kept quiet when state actors with the active support of the Attorney General and Justice Minster removed a Chief Justice of the Federation through an administrative tribunal, which set aside constitutional provisions for removal of the Chief Justice?
The conclusion of the whole matter is: the buck for diary of the Magu debacle stops at the table of our leader, Muhammadu Buhari whose procrastination triggered all the curiosities, all the questions. If he had paid attention to the letter the office of the Director General, Directorate of State Services (DSS) wrote to the Senate on this same Magu since 2017, the threat to the foundation of his anti-corruption programme would have been averted. How and why did the president allow the chaos in his presidency to trigger the executive procrastination that has become a public relations tragedy? Let’s read some of the excerpts from the DSS letter, which, specifically concluded that Citizen Magu had failed “integrity test” at the Senate then.
Read the excerpts of the DSS letter below:
“RE: NOMINATION OF MR IBRAHIM MAGU MUSTAPHA AS EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN OF ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIMES COMMISSION (EFCC) SECURITY REPORT OF THE NOMINEE
Your letter NASS/CS /SA/01/17/ 08 /02 dated 7th March 2017 requesting for security report on the above named nominee refers
The security report being requested for on Ibrahim Magu MUSTAPHA the nominee or the Executive Chairmanship position of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has already been submitted to the Senate via this Services’ letter No. SV.114/ 2 of 3rd October 2016
containing fourteen (14) paragraphs.
Please accept once again the assurances of the esteemed regards of the DGSS.
F. O. ADAMS
For: DIRECTOR-GENERAL, SS
- “August 2008, following a search at his residence during the tenure of Farida WAZIRI (AIG/Rtd) as the commission’s chairman, some sensitive EFCC documents, which were not supposed to be at his disposal were discovered. He was subsequently redeployed to the police after days of detention and later suspended from the Force. In December 2010, the Police Service Commission found Magu guilty of “Action prejudicial to state security, withholding of EFCC files, sabotage, unauthorised removal of EFCC files and acts unbecoming of a Police officer,” and awarded him severe reprimand as punishment.
“4. Notwithstanding, sequel to the appointment of Ibrahim Lamorde as Chairman of the EFCC in 2011, he made the return of Magu to the EFCC a top priority. Both men had worked together at the commission when Lamorde served as Head of Operations of the agency. Magu remained a top official of the commission until he was appointed to succeed Lamorde.
“5. Magu is currently occupying a residence rented for N40m, at N20m per annum. This accommodation was not paid for from the commission’s finances but by one Umar Mohammed (Air Commodore/Rtd), a questionable businessman and ally of subject who has subsequently been arrested by this service. For the furnishing of the residence, Mohammed enlisted the Federal Capital Development Authority to award a contract to Africa Energy, a company owned by the same Mohammed to lavishly furnish the residence at the cost of N43m.
“6. Investigations show that the Acting EFCC Chairman regularly embarks on official and private trips through a private carrier, Easyjet, owned by Mohammed. In one of such trips, Magu flew to Maiduguri, alongside Mohammed and the MD of Fidelity Bank, Nnamdi Okonkwo, who was being investigated by the commission over complicity in funds allegedly stolen by the immediate past Petroleum Minister, DiezaniAlison-Madueke.
“7. Furthermore, the EFCC boss has so far maintained a high profile lifestyle. This is exemplified by his preference for First Class air travels. On 24th June, 2016, he flew Emirate Airlines’ First Class to Saudi Arabia to perform the Lesser Hajj at the cost of N2,990,196. This is in spite of Mr. President’s directive to all public servants to fly Economy Class.
“8. Investigation also revealed that Magu parades a twin personality. At one level, he is the czar who has no friends, no favourites and is ready to fight corruption to a standstill. However, with a key friend in the person of Umar Mohammed (Air Commodore/Rtd), a controversial businessman, he has betrayed the confidence reposed in him by the present administration. Whereas Magu portrays himself as very secretive, he has fostered a mutually beneficial relationship with Mohammed who, by his confession, approaches ‘clients’ for possible exploitation, favours and associated returns. This was facilitated with official secrets divulged by Magu and from which dealings he is believed to have been drawing considerable benefits.
“9. This was evidenced by the number of official and classified documents he made available to his associates, especially Mohammed. After a search of Mohammed’s premises, a forged letter of the Office of the Vice President, dated 20th May, 2016, was recovered. The letter was a fictitious investigation report from Vice President to Mr. President, requesting for approval to commence further probe into a matter allegedly involving Hon. Minister of State Petroleum. Attached to the letter were two EFCC letters dated 13th April, 2016, and another 24th March, 2016, addressed to the Vice President being investigation reports on the activities of Emmanuel Kachikwu and his brother Dumebi Kachikwu. Similarly recovered during the search were information on assets and personal details of Kachikwu.
10. Also, following the arrest of three former Airforce chiefs by EFCC, namely, Alex Badeh, Umar and Amosu from whom huge sums of money and property were recovered, Umar and Alex Badeh were arraigned in court. It was only after the arrest of Mohammed by this service that the EFCC hurriedly arraigned Amosu. Mohammed later confessed that he never wanted Amosu tried, describing him as his former boss and he saw in MAGU, a willing accomplice.
“11. Furthermore, findings revealed that in a bid to settle some personal scores, subject placed one Stanley Inye Lawson on a Security Watch Action, while in actual fact Lawson was working in the interest of the Federal Government.
However, the action was later expunged following the discovery that Lawson was falsely accused by Magu for personal reasons.
“12. The circumstances surrounding Magu’s return to EFCC at the instance of the former chairman, Lamorde, and their close working relationship ever since is a clear indication of his culpability in the allegations of corrupt tendencies of the Lamorde led EFCC.
“13. To cover his tracks, Magu uses only his police cronies to execute operations. This, coupled with discoveries that such police cronies have acquired a lot of landed property, lends credence to the questions about his integrity.
“14. In the light of the foregoing, Magu has failed the integrity test and will eventually constitute a liability to the anti-corruption drive of the present administration.”