The prominent civil Rights Advocacy group:- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has carpeted president Muhammadu Buhari for gambling with the sensitivities of Nigerians regarding the issues of alleged corrupt practices leveled against the suspended acting chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); Alhaji Ibrahim Magu, a commissioner of police.
“It is clear that we have all been deceived and duped by the President Muhammadu Buhari – led administration into believing the fairy tales that it plans to fundamentally overhaul the hierarchy of the anti-graft body following the setting up of a judicial panel led by erstwhile President of court of Appeal; Justice Ayo salami to probe accusations of corruption against Ibrahim Magu and some of his affiliates known as ‘Magu Boys’.
“It is now over several months since the panel was inaugurated and the then acting Chairman of EFCC Ibrahim Magu was suspended, arrested, detained for days and freed. But till date, the Federal government is yet to tell Nigerians the outcome of that panel even as the anti – graft body has remained without a substantive Chairman and is seemingly rudderless and directionless”.
“Certainly, this government of Muhammadu Buhari has played on the gullibility of most people to think that it can get away with such monumental deception and lies. The government by this Orchestrated and choreographed delay in the investigation of EFCC under the suspended acting Chairman Ibrahim Magu has shown a total lack of commitments to battle corruption, which has eaten deep into the affairs of Virtually all Federal agencies and ministries, some of which cannot even meet up with the statutory obligation of paying staff salaries. This is because as it is, corruption is only being fought through a media generated propaganda war and the National Assembly has in the last one year being headed by executive puppets”.
HURIWA recalled that the Justice Ayo Salami led panel, which sat for three months, summoned at least 50 persons, including activist, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN); General Overseer, Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministry, Prophet Emmanuel Omale; senior advocate, Godwin Obla; Managing Director of First City Monument Bank, Adam Nuru; as well as several government officials.
HURIWA also recalled that President Buhari had while inaugurating the seven-man panel on July 3, 2020, given it 45 days to round off its activities and submit its report just as the President listed the seven members of the panel to include Salami (North-Central); Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Michael Ogbezi (South-South); a representative of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Muhammad Babadoko (North-Central); and Hassan Abdullahi from the Department of State Services (North-Central).
Others are Muhammad Shamsudeen from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (North-West), Douglas Egweme from the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (South-East) and Kazeem Atitebi (South-West), who serves as the secretary.
HURIWA further recalled that The President subsequently gave the panel an additional six weeks to conclude its probe just as Magu was detained for 10 days when the panel began sitting but was later released.
HURIWA recalled that Ibrahim Magu was suspended from office along with over 12 other senior officials of the commission, including the EFCC Secretary, Ola Olukoyede even as the suspended EFCC boss was accused of being unable to account for the interest that accrued to over N500bn in recovered funds. He was also said to have purchased a house in Dubai for N573m through his pastor, who operates an account with FCMB. The bank later issued an apology, claiming that the N573m was credited to the bank account of the pastor in error and that the error was not discovered for over four years.
HURIWA has therefore challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to publish the findings of the Justice Ayo Salami led investigative panel on the EFCC under Ibrahim Magu and stop the delay tactics which may be a way of sweeping all the allegations of corruption under the carpet in the same way that several other high profile corruption cases involving his officials have been swept under the carpets.
“Enough of this high wired game of deceit and dishonesty on the part of the current federal administration even when official corruption is threatening to destroy Nigeria right under the nose of the President who has made heavy weather about a fight against corruption.