Magu’s case symbolises the frustration, agony and anguish of being a rare upright person in a country that is seriously infested and bedevilled by corrupt, evil and satanic-minded individuals.
For many months, there was procrastination. Then, suddenly, a bombshell. On Thursday, last week, many Nigerians were shocked to the marrow when the Nigerian Senate declined to confirm the appointment of Ibrahim Magu as substantive chairman of the country’s premier anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The vague reason the upper legislative chamber gave for this unpopular action was that its verdict was based on a security report forwarded to it by the Department of State Security, DSS.
Magu replaced Ibrahim Lamorde as acting chairman of the EFCC on Monday, November 9, 2015. In July, eight months after he mounted the saddle in acting capacity, Yemi Osinbajo, the vice-president, who was then acting for his principal, Muhammadu Buhari, sent his name to the Senate for confirmation as substantive chairman. At that time, Buhari was out of the country on a short vacation. Unfortunately, after a lot of dilly-dallying spanning over six months, the Senate has finally rejected the nomination by citing a spurious “security report”.
The news of Magu’s rejection by the Senate was received by many Nigerians with shock, particularly in view of the recent successes recorded by the nation’s anti-graft agency under his leadership. Recall that Magu succeeded Lamorde, after Lamorde was unceremoniously eased out of the system through a relentless opposition mounted against him by some faceless members of the National Assembly. Now, the same cabal is up in arms against Magu.
The truth of the matter is that Magu comes across as an independent-minded individual who is very uncompromising and can never be manipulated by anyone however highly placed or close to him. Shortly after Nuhu Ribadu, the pioneer Chairman of the commission, was eased out of office by the late President Umaru Yar’ Adua, his replacement, Farida Waziri, launched a war of attrition on those she considered to have worked closely with Ribadu. Subsequently, the duo of Lamorde and Magu, who were serving police officers on secondment to the commission, were redeployed. Both officers were humiliated. Magu had his home ransacked by EFCC operatives on the orders of Waziri. Not only this, he was also locked up over some allegation of being in possession of official documents in his house. He was later released from detention, promoted to the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police and posted to the Special Fraud Unit of the Police.
As a tough investigator that he is, Magu was said to have insisted that Saraki’s mother must physically come forward to defend herself. All efforts to persuade him to rescind the order proved abortive as he stood his ground. At the end, the old woman buckled and appeared for interrogation. That is one episode the incumbent Senate president might not forget in a hurry.
By the time Lamorde was brought back to the Commission in 2011, he wrote to the police authorities to redeploy Magu back to EFCC. Various forces rose against this move. It took a titanic fight to get him back on board. In fact, it took the personal intervention of Goodluck Jonathan, the former president, who gave an order that he should be released by the police to go back to the Commission.
Magu, therefore, is not new to controversy. As a pioneer investigator in EFCC, he had stepped on many sensitive toes. As the Commission’s head of the Economic Governance Unit (EGU), he made several enemies. He was the brain behind high profile investigations carried out by the EFCC. Some of the investigations he spearheaded include the role of Bukola Saraki, former Governor of Kwara State and the incumbent Senate President, in the collapse of Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria (SGBN), of which the Saraki dynasty of Ilorin, are major stakeholders. He also investigated Peter Odili, the former Governor of Rivers State and James Ibori, former Governor of Delta State, who was later convicted for money laundering in the United Kingdom.
Furthermore, attempts made in the recent past by some members of this tribe of powerful Nigerians to prevail on Magu to thread softly and overlook some of the corruption cases involving high net worth individuals, had met with stiff resistance by him. That pattern of defiance has always been his stock-in-trade since he joined the EFCC. For instance, when he was investigating the affairs of the defunct SGBN, he was said to have come across a certain amount of money allegedly released to the matriarch of the Saraki dynasty and biological mother of Bukola Saraki. As a tough investigator that he is, Magu was said to have insisted that Saraki’s mother must physically come forward to defend herself. All efforts to persuade him to rescind the order proved abortive as he stood his ground. At the end, the old woman buckled and appeared for interrogation. That is one episode the incumbent Senate president might not forget in a hurry.
Quite recently too, some presidential aides were said to have approached Magu for the purpose of seeking a soft landing for Abdullahi Dikko, the former boss of the Nigerian Customs Service, who was being investigated and had, in fact, been declared wanted at the time. The arrangement was that Dikko will be prevailed upon to appear before the EFCC to make a statement, but that he should not be detained. But contrary to this supposed gentleman’s agreement, as soon as Dikko showed up at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, he was promptly detained. It was there and then the former Customs boss pledged to refund the sum of N1 billion to the coffers of the Federal Government, which he has allegedly fulfilled.
Magu’s rejection by the Senate is nothing more than a carefully orchestrated scheme by those who are afraid of him becoming substantive chairman of the EFCC. Within this scard group are prominent senators, past and serving governors, chief executives of parastatals, agencies and blue-chip companies.
However, the major undoing of Magu, may have been his poor interpersonal relationship. Those close to him say he does not have friends and those who are somehow close to him, cannot, in any way, benefit anything from him or influence him. In the wake of the scandal involving the slush funds used for the 2015 elections, Magu was said to have confided in some of his aides that if Nuhu Ribadu, his former boss, was named in the scandal, he will not hesitate to move against him and lock him up. Ribadu had contested election for governor of Adamawa, his home state, in the 2015 governorship elections on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). That was vintage Magu. He is a no-nonsense investigator who is ready to step on toes, however sensitive they are, to wage the anti-corruption war.
To many, the so-called report of the DSS is nothing than an attempt to rubbish Magu by calling a dog a bad name to hang it. This is because that report has largely turned out to be a figment of the imagination of the authors. Therefore, Magu’s rejection by the Senate is nothing more than a carefully orchestrated scheme by those who are afraid of him becoming substantive chairman of the EFCC. Within this scard group are prominent senators, past and serving governors, chief executives of parastatals, agencies and blue-chip companies.
A pertinent question is: “Why would a government appointee, in this case, Lawal Daura, the head of the DSS, write such a damaging report on a government nominee?” Certainly, there is more to this rejection than meets the eye. What this means is that all is not well with Buhari and his anti-corruption war. If the president is really committed to fighting the endemic corruption that has eaten deep into the fabric of the nation, it is obviously a man like Magu that the president needs to wage the war to a conclusive conclusion. Now, the same president is sitting back while his government’s nominee is being slandered and rubbished by those who are afraid of their shadows.
The blackmail in the Senate over this confirmation issue is like “if you confirm Magu, be prepared to go to jail”. This is simply because some of those who are standing against the confirmation are Nigerians who are known to be neck-deep as instigators of the misfortune that has ruined the country and continues to threaten Nigerians like the Ebola virus. Magu’s case symbolises the frustration, agony and anguish of being a rare upright person in a country that is seriously infested and bedevilled by corrupt, evil and satanic-minded individuals.
May God deliver us from the iron grip of vampires and wolves masquerading as our leaders!
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