By Adenike Lucas
For over a year, I have had the privilege of speaking to Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC workers. I have spoken to up to a hundred of them and each one had a lot to say about their boss, Ibrahim Mustafa Magu.
I was shocked when the first person got in touch with me via telephone in 2015, to accuse Mr Magu of corruption. I thought then: “how can a man meant to be fighting corruption have such dirty hands?”
The accusations against Mr Magu were later proven to be correct by the state security service.
And I must admit, I and many staff at the commission remain grateful to the National Assembly for the decision it took in rejecting Mr Magu’s nomination as the chief executive officer of the EFCC.
The DSS report indicated that the ‘rejected’ EFCC boss had failed its integrity test and “would become a liability to the anti-corruption crusade of the present administration if confirmed.”
I have never really given a detailed explanation as to why his rejection was worth celebrating.
But as I have said, staff who have worked with the Borno born Deputy Commissioner since the inception of the agency, reached out to me to expose their corrupt boss.
My first thought was I could not do anything to help, hence I decided to reach out to colleagues I had worked with in the past – who now work in prominent media houses in the UK. Their heavy work load and tight deadline along with the fact that their readers might be unable to relate with the story, meant I could not get any of them at the time to cover the news.
My next reaction was to use my contacts to gain the attention of any influential and vocal person in Nigeria. However, here again, I hit a brick wall.
It was then I got on the internet and sought for numbers of various members of the National Assembly. To my surprise, I got a few replies and promises. Although, it was Senator Dino Melaye who came through in the end. I passed on the information I had gathered from staff to him. He also went ahead and did his own investigation – thankfully the DSS report is there to prove that these EFCC staff were right.
Another justification for staff, is Mr Magu’s own screening where he could not provide any answer to the allegation put against him.
One thing, I quickly realised about Senator Melaye, is his love for people and his disdain for injustice. He did not even know me and he did not know any of the staff – who cut across the various branch of the commission, but he stood up for them at the NASS.
Similarly, he is now fighting for the rights of the people of Kogi State. Many who have not been paid for months!
I stand with Senator Dino, who we now know was on the right side of history, when he blew the whistle on the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF Babachir David Lawal on the floor of the house.
The same lawmaker was suspended, but later recalled after successfully challenging the suspension, for speaking about corruption in the House of Representative. And let’s not forget his expose on MTN who illegally repatriated $13.92 billion from Nigeria.
Senator Dino is a vocal crusader. He has voiced out the injustice suffered by EFCC staff and the Kogi state doctors and civil servants that are still owed salaries.
Senator Melaye is fighting this terrible injustice on their behalf (despite the repercussion it is having on his person), and I stand with him as he continue to do so.
So, indeed, as a journalist, I did have the power to help. I used my platform to bring the issue of corruption at the EFCC to the lime light. I was able to force the mainstream media to talk about the decline of the anti-graft agency under the leadership of Mr Magu and his predecessor, Ibrahim Lamorde and Nuhu Ribadu.
I wrote my first piece in the middle of June 2016 and by August I received further information. I did a second piece which was published by a popular blogger, Abubakar “Abusidiq” Usman.
For printing this piece, Mr Magu, scared that the world was beginning to see him for who he was, authorised the arrest of Comrade Abusidiq. I am glad that Mr Magu did not deter this fine publisher and blogger from fighting on.
Mr Magu is clever, he never gives written directive and whenever the chips are down, he would sacrifice his staff as we now know when he authorised the EFCC National Assembly Liaison Officer, Suleiman Bakari to decorate Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, as “Anti-Corruption Ambassador.”
Another one is the decision the anti-corruption boss took in asking for his agency to be added to the Code of Conduct Tribunal case against Senator Bukola Saraki. For all that don’t know, the EFCC provided the notes used to charge the Senate President.
Michael Wetkas, the chief witness, I understand was not well prepared and it is Mr Magu’s fault. As always, Mr Magu has left this core staff of the EFCC, to take the fall.
Now that Justice Danladi Umar, has acquitted Senator Saraki, Mr Magu wants to reopen investigation into allegations of corruption against the CCT chairman. Well, was not it the same Mr Magu who cleared him in 2016, as the allegations were said to be “suspicious” and “insufficient.” What’s changed now?
The problem is Mr Magu has enlisted media houses like Sahara Reporters to do his bidding. SR has done his image laundering for him and many Nigerians are fooled by it.
The question, we all need to ask ourselves, is after the DSS report and Mr Magu’s performance at the Senate do we need further prove against him.
Besides, who knows Mr Magu better than those he has worked with for 10 years or more?
If you would like to get in touch with me direct I would love to hear from you – email firstname.lastname@example.org