The coalition of public interest lawyers and advocates (copa), a pro-democracy and transparency group, said the Acting Chairman the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu is now a liability to the image of Nigeria and this administration of President Muhammadu Buhari anti-corruption war
The Group in a statement by the National Cordinator Pelumi Olajengbesi Esq said it is no longer tenable for the Buhari government to continue to protect the office and person of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission as it is tantamount to lending credibility to a man in great disrepute and whose moral compass and competence to continue in said position has been severally called into question by severe allegations of corruption on one part, and a lack of transparency in his management of recovered loots variedly made against him by the public and no less a person than the Attorney-General and Justice Minister of Nigeria, Mr. Abubakar Malami.
The group further stated that it is imperative for the public to recall that acting on an indicting report from the Department of Secret Service (DSS) on corrupt practices against Mr. Ibrahim Magu, the 8th National Assembly had refused to confirm his nomination as substantive Chairman of the EFCC, and most public opinion at the time from objective quatres called for the replacement of Mr. Magu as EFCC Chairman, a legislative and public outcry that was curiously ignored by Mr. President, and which is most regrettable today as Mr. Magu’s leadership has continued to be dogged and blighted by allegations of corruption.
COPA said in the run-up to the presidential election of 2019, Mr. Ibrahim Magu granted a public interview where he was spotted wearing a pin/lapel declaring political support for the candidacy of Mr. Muhammadu Buhari. Predictably, his show of loyalty which is in itself truly a break from the required political neutrality of an EFCC Chairman, was rewarded by Mr. President who kept him in office while vouching for his competence.
It also stated that it is unfortunately, Mr. Magu’s EFCC has failed to live up to its touted competence, most importantly failing the objectivity test and earning for itself the moniker of a ‘pro-APC agency’ on a prosecutorial witch-hunt of opposition members in or out of government. There have been little done on his part to dispute the above allegation or more importantly, the accusation of his numerous owned private properties in Dubai and the mismanagement of public fund.
“Mr. Magu’s continuance in office would mean that President Muhammadu Buhari is more concerned about raising strong men than strong institutions. It would mean that he is ready to sacrifice the integrity of a critical institution to reward loyalty to him. Also, any further or delayed action per the removal of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as acting Chairman of the EFCC would be lending legitimacy to his position as ACTING Chairman about five years and on, a procedural abnormality in civil service not contemplated by our laws or public service culture. The current acting Chairman of the EFCC is simply unfit to continue in office as even the slightest question of his morality besmirchs the agency he leads.
“Lets be reminded that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is a corner-stone agency in the country’s fight against corruption. It is one which much be protected at all cost against rot and disrepute by all or any acting on its behalf. Thus, the Ibrahim Magu-led EFCC is a luxury that can no longer be tolerated as it is a disservice to the country’s anti-corruption war, and encourages ‘strongman politics’ as against solid institutional systems,” COPA said
The group advised and encouraged President, Muhammadu Buhari to do the right thing by removing Mr Magu as acting chairman of the EFCC. “We are confident that there are other competent hands who can lead the agency without fear or favour, and who would bring a fresh atmosphere to the leadership of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. This is a urgent call and one which will go down historical lanes as the greatest proof of Mr. President’s honest anti-corruption tendencies, or conversely, indict him of caring less about fighting corruption genuinely especially from within the ranks of his cabinet members,” COPA said
The group said they will continue to make a case for the protection of Nigeria’s image and strongly oppose a political culture that rewards cronyism at the cost of institutional propriety.