ABUJA-A group,Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education,CHRICED,has faulted the suspension of the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu,saying the action was an indication that corruption was having its way back.
The group insisted that suspending Magu and elevating the EFCC’s Director of Operations,Mohammed Umar, in his stead was wrong,saying the new acting chairman worked together with the suspended acting chairman.
Director of CHRICED, Dr. Zikirullahi Ibrahim, at a media conference, Monday, in Abuja, “There is no mistaking the fact that corruption is winning because the same government which has failed to investigate weighty allegations against some of its very senior officials has been quick to suspend the Acting Chair of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, on grounds of alleged corrupt enrichment.”
He said:”Apart from that the choice of the Chairperson of the Presidential Panel which is investigating the Acting EFCC Chair shows the government did not do its homework.
” The choice of a retired justice of the Court of Appeal, who declined to be promoted to the Supreme Court, and left the bench unceremoniously in controversial circumstances, inspires very little confidence about the mission of the panel.
“While we are not holding brief for the suspended Acting Chair of the EFCC, it raises serious suspicion that the activities of the Presidential Panel have been shrouded in secrecy, making it appear like there is a preconceived objective.
He continued: “Similarly, given the trend of unceremonious departure of heads of the EFCC in the past, the whole drama around Magu seems like a pattern from the past, when the powers that be no longer want to see a particular head of the agency.
” Magu’s predecessors including Nuhu Ribadu, Farida Waziri, and Ibrahim Lamorde all faced similarly inquisitions in the name of investigation, but till date, nothing has been heard about the alleged infractions.
” On the other hand, the decision to suspend Magu and other top-ranking officials while retaining the EFCC Director of Operations, Mohammed Umar as Acting Chair seems untenable.
“If Magu is said to have committed infractions along with other senior officials, are the investigators saying Umar who was Director of Operations under Magu, is a saint?
“Even so, it is indefensible that the government has not deemed it necessary to look at the weighty allegations against the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, including many instances of potential conflict of interest in the handling of the legal issues around the recovered Abacha loot, as well as allegations of interference to stop the EFCC from investigating and prosecuting cases.
If the government is really serious about the fight against corruption, it should be interested in what is motivating its own Attorney-General to undermine the prosecution of corruption cases as has been alleged. Therefore, the only way the Presidential panel can win public confidence is not to engage in selective investigations, but to invite, question and investigate all those with damning allegations hanging on them.
“We must not be deceived. It is clear that the political class in Nigeria, irrespective of their political affiliations, has hatched plots, and entered into secret alliances against the people. They had repeatedly broken their campaign promises and had repudiated the solemn oath they took to protect and defend the Nigerian Constitution. Therefore, the cup of their corruption and iniquities has become full to the brim. Their presence in government has proved to be a constant source of mortal danger to the fight against corruption. This is why corruption is winning.”
Commenting on insecurity in the country, the group, according to him, noted “with dismay the daily loss of Nigerian lives as a result of insecurity across the land. In many states, especially in the North, terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, and other hoodlums have made the lives of citizens extremely miserable and unbearable.”
He added: “As stated in previous interventions, and in line with the demands of the public, it is time for the Service Chiefs to exit the stage, especially considering their failure to secure the country. However, we make no mistake about the fact that the factors driving insecurity go beyond removing and appointing a new set of Service Chiefs.
The mere appointment of new faces may not necessarily mean an end to insecurity because the problems fueling insecurity are deep-seated and more systemic than most citizens know.
“For us, the role of political actors as key drivers of insecurity has to be considered. It is trite fact that many political actors have over the years recruited, trained, and armed private militias, which they deploy to prosecute their electoral battles.
“These armed groups are later left to their own devices after being used by politicians to achieve their electoral objectives. These groups then metamorphose into killing squads, which go on to take over territories, and carry on with their challenge of the authority of the state.
” The literature on Boko Haram shows the prominent role played by these political actors in the founding and eventual transformation of those groups to agents of destruction and death across the country. The only way out is to hold to account political actors responsible for the formation of such groups. Unfortunately, many of such political actors are walking free today after creating outfits, which continue to claim the innocent lives of citizens.”