Special report: By Adenike Lucas
A civil society group has urged President Muhammadu Buhari, PMB to direct the Department of State Service, DSS to publish its report on the culpability of Mr Ibrahim Mustafa Magu, the acting chair of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Transparency for Social Justice and Equity, a non-governmental organisation that works to uphold the human right of Nigerians, expressed concerns about Mr Magu’s alleged connection to Air Commodore Umar Mohammed (Rtd) whom the DSS had arrested and recovered $1.5 million dollars, confidential document from the EFCC, Office of the President and Arms Deal Committee in his Maitama home.
In an article first published by This Day on the 10th of June, Mr Mohammed is accused of fronting for Mr Magu.
A source had previously revealed to this blog that the retired Air Force officer who remains in custody is alleged to have run a blackmailing and extortion cartel using the classified documents found in his home. Mr Mohammed is said to have implicated Mr Magu during questioning.
The Civil Society Organisation who made note of this allegation were worried that “Mr Magu was still allowed to be heading the anti-graft agency despite this alarming level of accusation.”
The group states that “we are worried that despite details provided by the arrested Air Commodore Mohammad (Rtd) who is said to be fronting for a senior EFCC and Office of the National Security Adviser official, Mr Magu was still leading the agency.”
According to the Secretary of the group, Mr O. Williams, “President Buhari must look beyond what Mr Magu may be portraying himself to be, and take the bull by the horn, in order to have a total war against corruption.”
The coalition of Nigerian Youths for Change Initiative had also accused Mr Magu of awarding the sum of N43m to his crony and DSS suspect retired Air Pilot Mohammed, for the furnishing of a Maitama residence, which he recently moved into.
In a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Mr Oladimeji Ayo, said at a time “the country is facing economic downtown, with most cabinet members of PMB unable to cater for their accommodation challenges,” the EFCC chair was not being prudent.
Mr Ayo who called for Mr Magu to be relieved of his job explained that Mr Magu “led EFCC is not different from his predecessor, Mr Ibrahim Larmorde whose tenure witnessed the outright stealing of N1trillion Naira of recovered funds by the commission- an allegation that made Mr Lamorde disappear from public scene instead of defending himself before the Nigerian Senate.”
Mr Williams agreeing with Mr Ayo said: “It is now clear that Mr Magu is not fighting corruption with sincerity as envisaged by PMB, but projecting his interest at the detriment of the country’s predicament.”
Meanwhile, the DSS which did not have the chance to SCREEN Mr Magu before his name was submitted to the Senate, is yet to publish the full report on the activities of Mr Magu. The group is now demanding that the President “orders” for them to do so.
Mr Magu is presently expecting to get confirmed by the NASS upon resumption today, Tuesday, 20th September 2016.
Well-meaning Nigerians have been calling on the government of President Buhari to avoid the future embarrassment which for sure Mr Magu is ready to make the regime face as a plan ‘B’ in the event he is not confirmed by the Senate.
Last month, regular staff at EFCC made a complaint of bullying against their boss but they said “Nigerians thought it was a joke.”
Now, they say “even the seconded Policemen at EFCC are now complaining bitterly to the Inspector General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris that Mr Magu was maltreating them.
They also accused him of “impunity and money laundering.”
One noted that the desperation of the troubled leader of the anti-graft agency is such that he was “blackmailing first class Emirs in the north”.
Insiders also say that Mr Magu launched a media war against those he believes might be working against his bid to be made the substantive chair of the EFCC.
Alhaji Aba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to the President; Mr Abubakar Malami SAN, the Attorney-General of Federation and Abulrahman Dambazau, the Minister of Interior; Mallam Mamman Daura et al are amongst those Mr Magu believes are working against him.
To get back at them, he has sponsored false article on the US based online website, Sahara Reporters about them.
In the latest onslaught of sponsored article via Sahara Reporters, Mallam Daura is accused of writing the “plagiarised Obama speech” read by President Buhari but government sources who corroborate Garba Shehu’s (SSA, Media & Publicity to the President) statement on the issue say that Sahara Reporters is “peddling lies.”
Yesterday, the pioneer chairman of the EFCC Mallam Nuhu Ribadu gave insiders willing to expose Mr Magu, a big boost when he has said that “whistle-blowers must be encouraged and protected.”
EFCC staff say Mr Magu is not fit to lead the commission because of the challenges he has been presenting himself to the public.
Those present at a Lagos symposium where Mr Magu presented a written paper “This Is Our Chance” questioned the authenticity of his University Accountancy Degree.
One person said: “when you ask him, sometimes he’d say he went to Ahmadu Bello University, ABU Zaria another time, he says he graduated from University of Maiduguri.”
Another lambasted him for not being able to read a well written paper that was given to him days back. They say he has “become an embarrassment to himself and the government.”