Lawyer Raises Alarm Over Dangers of Removing Ibrahim Magu As EFCC Boss

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A legal icon, Barrister Willie Amadi has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to jettison the allegations brought against the Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami and renominate him for a new term.

He said that the sudden call for Mr Magu’s sack was to pave way for “high profile” individuals still undergoing investigation at the commission to have a leeway of escape from the wrath of the law, appealing to President Buhari not to fall to their pranks.

Barr Amadi, who disclosed this in an open letter to President Buhari, pointed out that the renomination of Mr Magu would not only overlap his administration’s two years post 2023 after his tenure, but will protect his administration’s honest intentions and achievements in the delicate fight against corruption.

Barr Amadi, a Federal Commissioner in the Public Complaints Commission expressed worry that the allegations coming when Mr Magu’s tenure was ending with prospect of renomination was an indication that corruption was planning to fight back, as well as plots by desperate politicians to rubbish government’s efforts in the fight against corruption.

His open letter reads:

Your Excellency
Muhammadu B. Buhari, GCFR.
President & Commander-in-Chief
Federal Republic of Nigerian
Aso Rock Villa
Abuja, Nigeria.

Your Excellency,

RENOMINATION OF IBRAHIM MAGU AS CHAIRMAN, ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIMES COMMISSION.

I bring to you compliments and best wishes while commending you on your continued efforts in stirring the nation’s very difficult and demanding economic and security challenges vide the fight against corruption.

Your Excellency, my humble reason for this open appeal should be seen as part of my efforts in ensuring that Your Excellency succeeds to a larger extent in your avowed fight against corruption. Please bear with me as the hard copy has been dispatched as a back up considering also the bureaucratic obstacles in getting your immediate attention to the hard copy hence this route.

Let me start with an African proverb which says that “the devil you know is better than the angel you do not know”. This symbolically illustrates the conviction, resilience and dexterity of a man behind the fight against corruption in Nigeria, Mr. Ibrahim Magu whom you nominated to drive the anti corruption regime under your administration. It is worthy of note and a notorious fact that any uncompromised anti graft boss across the globe MUST be hated by those in the organised crime enterprise and their beneficiaries.

This means that when people start hobnobbing and praising an anti corruption enforcer or crusader, the mission and vision of the appointor and the appointee would have been greatly compromised as conflicts of personal interest will obviously give way to failure to discharge the burden of conscience and the nation’s constitution in the process of investigation and prosecution of evil men responsible for the pains and sufferings of poor citizens under the yoke of a bleeding nation mercilessly occasioned by corrupt practices.

Therefore, the cold war between the Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami at this time can be best described as a game of interest to favour and protect a few privileged individuals who are under investigation and many others still answering, unanswerable questions at the Commission. This is a dangerous dimension and should be collectively frowned at by all well meaning Nigerians and men of goodwill. This is why strong institutions rather than strong men in power are the sine quo non of any progressive government and must be entrenched for the survival of this great country.

It is therefore imperative and instructive to sound a clear warning to powerful appointees for them to realise that supervisory provisions over department and agencies of government by the parent ministry does not give them a leeway for manipulation of the department and agencies by the supervisor but rather for administrative and collaborative convenience designed to prevent abuse in governance. This is necessary because the very moment the minister or ministry of Justice assumes the final decision making person or body on the investigation and prosecution activities and decisions of EFCC, an agency made up of eminent and qualified commissioners and management staff of the Commission, the Commission will be heavily compromised in the event that its Chairman yields to pressures and become subservient and or in complicity to the whims and caprices of the Minister of Justice, any other authority or the bureaucracy. This should be condemned in its entirety and never allowed to happen if the Commission is expected to function and deliver justice without fear or favor like obtainable in other developed climes.

Questionably, it appears from all reasonable indications that the main reason the EFCC boss is undergoing the recent organised blackmail, incitement and last minute pressure on possible renomination of Ibrahim Magu for a second term is as a result of his avowed ‘stubborn’ and or cautious refusal to compromise and become a tool as obtained in the past where powerful aides in Aso rock villa discontinued investigation by compelling the Chairman to discontinue certain investigation and prosecution using Mr. President’s name. Otherwise, it will be difficult for a man under whose watch; the EFCC secured over 1,400 convictions, recovered billions of dollars in stolen stashed funds locally and abroad from unscrupulous Nigerians and their foreign collaborators, blocked several channels which questionable characters and business moguls had dredged as conduit to launder their ill gotten wealth.

Refreshingly, the sustained drive by Magu which has been highly appreciated and commended by some of the Commission’s collaborating sister anti corruption agencies in the world particularly USA, Britain, Switzerland, France, UAE and Germany to mention a few as a performing and functional crime buster, should be not be ridiculed but rather encouraged taking into consideration his glaring and monumental achievements by this czar. Recall, Your Excellency that his initial confirmation as the substantive Chairman by the Senate 5 years ago was resisted prompting Your Excellency to appointing him as an acting Chairman and he has not disappointed you and Nigerians so far to the best of my knowledge. The question therefore remains, who is still afraid of Magu after these glaring milestones of visible achievements? The guilty are AFRAID of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

It is noticeable that the fight against corruption by your administration has to a reasonable extent been apolitical unlike in the past where the Commission was used for vendetta as well as a political weapon to intimidate any person not supporting the incumbent administration. This trying moment in our country requires no fewer persons than unbending spirits in the mould of Ibrahim Magu for a second term going forward. This frivolous and vexatious memo from the Ministry of Justice is an obvious blackmail designed to call a dog a bad name in order to hang it. Unfortunately Nigerians know better now and aware of appointees that are performing and delivering on their mandates and will never be deceived again by any cheap propaganda devoid of substance.

I respectfully call on you, our dear and corrupt free President to ignore the intentions of the memo but to personally investigate the frivolous accusations by the named and unnamed unpatriotic persons which is solely aimed at weakening Magu’s resilience, resolve and irrepressible spirit of fighting corruption in the country.

Nigeria is a country with incredible human and material potentials and one of the leading countries of the world unfortunately, corruption like insecurity has decimated that strong narrative to the shock of all stakeholders in the Nigerian project. Sadly, after Independence, nations like Britain that took a gamble on Nigeria today regrets what has become of the country that held so much promises and opportunities in terms of abundant human and natural resources. Regrettably, this bad and disturbing situation is what the EFCC under Mr. Ibrahim Magu is tackling with his very dedicated team to make the country and poor citizens hiss a sigh of relief.

Interestingly, the M15, the FBI and other anti corruption agencies and security agencies in the world having watched the EFCC under Magu, has severally partnered with Nigerian government and EFCC through training of staff, donation of high electronic and investigative equipments, grants and collaboration in investigation and conviction in foreign courts of callous and fleeing appointees of government whose stolen wealth are stashed in overseas banks and properties littered everywhere abroad. If Magu has not and is not performing under the diligent, watchful eyes and proactive assessment of these world agencies, will they waste their time, resources and energy in complimenting Magu’s determined enforcement of the crime against corruption ? Obviously not! This is a food for thought, Your Excellency.

Therefore, Magu should be encouraged to preside and ensure a logical conclusion of all prosecutions and ongoing investigations involving high profile individuals like former Governors, Senators, Ministers and apolitical wealthy Nigerians whose cases are variously in their final stages to avoid the impending and planned “political considerations” in 2023 when your tenure would have expired by the recurrent undertakers responsible for our bleeding economy.

Your Excellency, permit me to prophesy that the known and upcoming cabal of 2023 adminstration have conspired and perfected plans to rubbish the gains made by your administration in the fight against corruption, particularly the “high profile” individuals still undergoing investigation and have collectively ganged up to frustrate the renomination of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as EFCC Boss through trumped up allegations and witch hunt at the twilight of Magu’s renomination.

By way of analysis, the EFCC Boss, Mr. Ibrahim Magu remains an outstanding anti graft boss without a trace of financial scandal and has received awards and commendation from sister anti corruption agencies overseas. A man who operates without fear or favour. It is worthy of note that former Governors, captains of industry, oil subsidy merchants, former military chiefs, civil servants and many illegal oil bunkerers in the Niger Delta have been convicted under his watch with much more to be charged and convicted in a short time. So why this stiff and organised resistance, using the supervising Ministry to resist his reappointment for the next five years?

Your Excellency, Magu’s reappointment will overlap your administration two years post 2023 after your tenure and will protect your honest intentions and achievements in this delicate but necessary fight against corruption thereafter. Therefore, you need an unrelenting spirit to hold the forte because insecurity, poverty, unemployment, falling standards of education, weak access to affordable health care, failing infrastructure, questioned integrity of the electoral process, poor business environment and lower Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth are tied to corruption and the grip of unscrupulous government officials and those along the corridors of power with their business collaborators.

This means that the fight against corruption is the only option left for your administration to emancipate the country and you must use this next three years of your administration and Magu to help extricate the poor and dying Nigerians from the strong paws and grip of these heartless organised groups attacking Magu now but hiding under the memo from the Ministry of Justice against a man of proven integrity, an unsoiled image, a man that detests primitive acquisition of wealth and who has dealt decisively, the criminally minded “bigger boys” in Nigeria who live and breath corrupt practices without apologies and or regrets. I appeal that you extend his tenure to enable him logically and effectively complete the assignment you have given him.

Retrospectively, the Public Complaint Commission (PCC) had referred cases outside her mandates to the EFCC under Magu, and the responses and feedback garnered from those involved was quite laudable, and devoid of the usual extortion and manipulation of the petitioners and the process.

Finally, the frivolous and unfounded allegations spewed against Magu emanating from the EFCC’s supervising Ministry, the Ministry of Justice is an indication that corruption is fighting back from within and this is a sad commentary particularly when juxtaposed with the unfortunate experience and revelations against the past Minister of Justice and his subsequent prosecutions occasioned by alleged meddling with matters under investigation and other sundry matters by EFCC during his tenure in office and this justifies the need for EFCC to work independently and not selfishly teleguided and manipulated by the supervising Minister and ministry.

If this is done, it will be a win-win situation for the country, the citizens, the enforcement agents, the ministry and the commission in the long run. I also believe that from Magu’s records and antecedents in the police force and the five years technical and investigative experience in crime busting he may be a tool but not a fool.

May God bless you Your Excellency as you consider my humble appeal and supplications.

Barr. Willie Amadi is a Federal Commissioner in the Public Complaints Commission Nigeria.

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