By Adenike Lucas
The Acting Chairman of an anti-corruption agency, who ordered the arrest of a blogger that published an article detailing allegations of corruption against him, today invaded a publishing house in Lagos.
According to a statement from the Sun Publishing Limited, this morning, June 12, 2017 heavily armed Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC operatives claiming to have “orders from above” came to seal up the premises.
“At gunpoint, they ordered our security personnel to take them round the company premises, after which they proceeded to prevent staff from either entering or leaving the premises, and disrupted our circulation process.
“For one gruelling hour, EFCC operatives subjected our staff to crude intimidation, psychological and emotional trauma, even as some of the men accused our organisation of publishing pro-Biafra, Boko Haram and Niger Delta militant stories, as they surveyed our premises.”
The reason for the invasion is not yet clear. However, the paper said: “that in 2007, (10 years ago) the EFCC had obtained an interim forfeiture order in respect of some assets of The Sun, attached to a suit against our Publisher, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, for which we have filed an appeal, which is still pending in court.
“We also recall that the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu had written a letter personally signed by him dated 23rd of May and received on the 7th of June, asking The Sun management to report to the Commission on 5th of June, detailing our operations in the last 10 years, on account of an interim order of forfeiture under appeal
“As law abiding corporate citizen, our lawyer, Chief Chris Uche SAN, wrote the Commission to intimate the Agency that the issue was pending before the court of Appeal. The receipt of our correspondence was duly acknowledged.
“We were therefore shocked that our premises would be invaded by the Commission under whatever guise. This is condemnable and reprehensible. No one, Agency or authority should be above the laws of our country. An abuse of the law is a recipe for chaos.”
A spokesman for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren denied that any EFCC staff was intimidated by the operatives of the anti-graft agency. He, however, contradicted himself when he said operatives paid a routine visit to the newspaper, and had received no response over a matter that is currently in court.
This is not the first time Mr Magu has tried to intimidate the press. In August, 2016, he ordered the arrest of a popular blogger who published an exclusive report that exposed him as a corrupt officer.
The report written by Adenike Lucas stated staff complaints against their boss. The publisher, Abubakar ‘Abusidiq’ Usman who was later released after several rallying cry from the public and media houses such as the BBC, said he was arrested in a “gestapo style, in the presence of his young family.”
READ ALSO : “My voice will not be silenced,” says Abusidiq
Several months of investigation by DENISAURUS News showed Mr Magu to be very corrupt.
During the investigation, reporters from this website spoke to hundreds of EFCC staff members. Most were unhappy with how the Borno born Deputy Police Commissioner was running the agency to the ground.
EFCC sources who confided in this website, described a desperate boss. Mr Magu has made several unauthorised attempts in order to be confirmed as the 4th chairman of the anti-graft agency.
The most recent attempt is the deliberate leak of information which led to the shutdown of the Nigerian Financial Intelligent Unit, NFIU.
EFCC workers also accused their boss of working in connivance with Umar Mohammed, a retired Air Commodore in whose home sensitive EFCC and other unauthorised documents from the office of the President and Arms Deal Committee, were found
A report written by the Department of State Service, DSS later went to assert this website’s view about Mr Magu.
A leak of the Intelligence report, which was shared with DENISAURUS News months before it was submitted the Nigerian Senate, described Mr Magu has a liability to the fight against corruption.
The Sun has also published exclusive reports which exposed Mr Magu. In one of such report, The Sun claimed that the rejected EFCC boss was in fresh trouble because of the discovery of two houses linked to his wife.
Mr Magu had in an earlier letter threatened to sue The Sun over the report. However, the paper revealed that “up till now, we are yet to receive any court process.
“In the light of the above, we strongly view this onslaught against The Sun as a personal vendetta by the leadership of the Commission, and by extension a declaration of war against the media.
“In this invasion of our premises, it is crystal clear that what Magu and his Commission are after is not only to intimidate and muzzle us, but a furious attempt to call a dog a bad name in order to hang it.
“On the issue of the interim order, which he purportedly based his invasion, Magu knows the matter has been on appeal since 2007 for which hearing comes up this week. But rather than wait for the court process, the Commission under the leadership of Magu, typically resorted to self-help.
“We want the general public to take note of this authoritarianism and high handedness, which has been the hallmark of Magu’s leadership of the EFCC.
“The other charge of publishing Biafra, Boko Haram and Niger Delta militant stories is very ridiculous, baseless and anti-Press freedom.
“We like to state that we are neither an ethnic, political nor religious newspaper, but we are the Voice of the Nation, reflecting all sides, all views and all shades of opinion in line with the ethics of our profession.
“We challenge Magu and his Commission to show where The Sun’s stories have been different from other papers in the country.
“We call on well-meaning citizens and relevant authorities to restrain Magu and his Commission from taking the laws into their hands.”