Removing Magu ‘may end genuine efforts’ against corruption


The Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), an anti-corruption coalition group, says Nigerians should expect a more corrupt government following the suspension of Ibrahim Magu as acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Magu was arrested on Monday and whisked to the presidential villa in Abuja where he was grilled by a panel set up to probe the EFCC.
The panel is led by Ayo Salami, retired president of the appeal court.
Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), had asked Buhari to sack Magu over some “weighty” allegations, including the diversion of recovered loot, insubordination and misconduct.
NAN had quoted a source as saying Mohammed Umar, director of operations at the EFCC, has been named acting chairman of the agency.
But in a statement on Wednesday, Sina Odugbemi, an official of CSNAC, said Magu’s suspension is a blow on the anti-corruption campaign of the incumbent administration.
He said the recent happenings are the latest orchestrated designs intended to return Nigeria to the status quo of corruption and impunity.
“It stirs the conscience of Nigerians that an investigative panel meant to interrogate Mr Magu had same day detained him and the same day purveyors of fake news and public persecution of Magu bandits his removal as the EFCC Acting Chairman. The entire drama is nothing but a prepaid plan to defeat the anti-corruption campaign,” the statement read.
The coalition, which boasts of 150 local, national and regional anti-corruption groups, said it is not opposed to an investigation of Magu over allegations of corruption.
Odugbemi said “the way and manner the forces behind the plot pursued their desire was a clear indication that Magu was a victim of political power game between reactionary and progressive forces”.
He added that Magu’s suspension may discourage other anti-graft agencies from tackling corruption without fear.
“Mr Magu was dragged to the panel without adequate notice. He was not given the time and opportunity to prepare his defence. He was not given any chance to call witnesses. He hurriedly called his lawyer who was also not adequately briefed before Magu was brought to the panel in a state of confusion and anxiety,” he said.
“The removal of Magu may be the end of any genuine efforts to fight corruption in Nigeria”.