MAGU’S CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS: PUBLIC AFFAIRS ANALYST CALLS FOR AMENDMENT OF EFCC ACT
Reporter : ALFRED AJAYI –
A Public Affairs Analyst, Chief Kanayochukwu Obidigbo, says the on-going probe into allegations of misconduct and financial impropriety against the suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu, has made it imperative to make the position open to contest by all qualified Nigerians.
Chief Obidigbo, who made the call during an interview with Radio Nigeria in Awka, decried the current practice, which makes the Chairman of EFCC an appointee of the President. He also advocated that the position of EFCC Chairman be reserved for persons not below the rank of Assistant or Deputy Inspector General of Police, to imbue greater efficiency in the operations of the Commission.
“In most countries, the position of even the Police Chief is advertised. People apply and go through screening before the best brain is appointed. A situation in which the President appoints EFCC and ICPC heads does not make for independence. It is very unusual for an agency that is answerable to the executive to perform without being guided. Therefore, the acts establishing all these bodies should be amended to whittle down the powers of the Presidency to appoint their heads, for us to have fearless anti-graft czars, who will approach their duties with highest sense of patriotism to the country and not to the person who hires them”.
” The position of EFCC Chairman should be handed over to a very fearless DIG or AIG. We have a lot of them. Some of the AIGs and DIGs were retired too young and would be able to paddle the canoe of the commission. A situation now that a Deputy Commissioner of Police is asked to go and investigate an AIG or DIG, the tendencies are that he may want to respect the rank of the officer and corners will be cut”.
Chief Obidigbo noted that if Mr. Magu is eventually found guilty, the security report by the Department of State Security against his confirmation as substantive chairman of EFCC and the refusal by the Senate to confirm him, might have been justified.
“You still remember the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal, who corruptly took advantage of his position to amass wealth even at the detriment of the Internally Displaced Persons. It is so touching and unbelievable. Today, it is the turn of Magu, the anti-corruption Czar, who was presented to the 8th Senate and was rejected on account of the report by the Department of State Security, as unworthy of such respected and important office in this country. Maybe the 8th Senate was very thorough in declining to confirm his appointment. The outcome of the on-going probe will tell us. It is a pointer to the fact that a rubber stamp legislature is not a blessing to any democratic nation. We need checks and balances for this country to progress. We don’t need a situation where the Executive will undermine the independence of other arms of government.”
The President had set up a Probe Panel, headed by Retired Justice Ayo Salami, to investigate all allegations of corruption leveled against Mr Magu bothering on misconduct and financial irregularities. The Presidency, in reaction to the probe, also declared that nobody is above scrutiny under the present administration of President Muhamadu Buhari.