By Adenike Lucas
A group fighting for social justice in Nigeria have hit out at those antagonising the Ondo State Governor over his comment on the status of Ibrahim Mustafa Magu’s employment.
Transparency for Social Justice and Equity, a non-governmental organisation came out to defend Mr Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN, saying “it is sick that people are being sponsored to fight the Ondo State Governor over his call for Mr Magu’s removal.”
The decision to keep Mr Magu in office has divided the Executive and Legislative.
The Senate rejected the nomination of Mr Magu in March following his horrendous performance at his screening and an indicting intelligence report by the State Services.
According to the intell report, Mr Magu is described as a corrupt officer who is a liability to the fight against corruption.
Aside to the DSS report, staff members who do not want to be named, continue to provide information of cases of corruption perpetuated by their boss to reporters from DENISAURUS News.
Last month, this online media exclusively broke the news of Nigeria suspension from a world financial server needed in the crucial fight against corruption.
DENISAURUS News understands that the suspension was carried by an overall majority of members of the Egmont group, which includes new member Sudan and the United States – whose support Mr Magu previously enjoyed.
Mr Magu denied the suspension when it was first reported in May. The corrupt officer claimed it was an article sponsored by “paymasters.” A claim that was proven to be untrue since the Egmont group confirmed the suspension in July.
In its 24th plenary held in Macao, the “Heads of FIU made a decision, by consensus, to suspend the membership status of the NFIU, Nigeria, following repeated failures on the part of the FIU to address concerns regarding the protection of confidential information, specifically related to the status of suspicious transaction report (STR) details and information derived from international exchanges, as well as concerns on the legal basis and clarity of the NFIU’s independence from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“The measure will remain in force until immediate corrective actions are implemented. The NFIU, Nigeria is now excluded from all Egmont Group events and activities. The Egmont Group expressed its hope that the Nigerian authorities will address these concerns to enable the Egmont Group to lift the suspension as soon as possible.”
The Senate has made a conscientious effort to get the suspension lifted, with the introduction of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency (NFIA) bill.
The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has set up a committee to re-position the NFIU and to save the country from further embarrassment from members of the international community who will be making a check sometime this year.
A policy making body which generates the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in combating money laundering, FATF (Financial Action Task Force), will be visiting Nigeria this October to check the progress of things.
Sources at the anti-graft agency where the NFIU is domiciled said that Professor Osinbajo has “in no words rendered Mr Magu’s own committee as pointless.”
Members of the new committee include Senator Utazi Chukwuka, Honourbale Kayode Oladele and Abdullahi Shehu, who was also appointed to serve on the panel instituted by Mr Magu last month.
Professor Osinbajo, one of Mr Magu’s staunch supporters waded into the issue of the non-confirmation of the Police Officer as substantive chairman of the EFCC, but caused serious damage by saying Mr Magu did not need to be confirmed by the Senate to be in office, a claim which is not backed by the EFCC Act which makes provision for the anti-graft agency.
This has caused a rift with the legislative that are no longer screening appointees.
While trying to relieve the tension between the two arms of government, Mr Akeredeolu suggested that the Presidency does the right thing and look for another blameless individual to replace Mr Magu.
“For me, the issue has to do with interpretation of the law,” he said: “My take on this is: if the Senate did not need to clear him, why was his name sent there in the first instance?”
The Governor said there are more than 1, 001 most qualified people that can lead the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and ask for the Presidency to replace the corrupt Borno Officer, he said radio program anchored by Isaac Brown on Fresh FM.
Mr Akeredolu, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association was criticised by the chairman of CACOL for saying so.
But, Mr O Williams, the chairman of Transparency for Social Justice and Equity who has warned in the past about Mr Magu’s unholy alliance with the arrested Air Commodore, Umar Mohammed (rtd), in whose home EFCC document where illegally found, said “groups are been sponsored to taunt Mr Magu as clean despite the DSS report.
“They say Rotimi Akeredolu should keep quiet, but, how can you tell me Femi Falana and Mike Ozekhome can speak on the matter but Rotimi Akeredolu can’t even though he is a senior advocate and former NBA President?
“Why should he stop practicing his profession because he is now a governor?”