Timothy Badmus Afolabi
To say that President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-graft crusade is bearing fruits and closing all apertures of corruption and sending chill shivers into the spine of corrupt elements across the country is an under-statement.
It is therefore not surprising when these corrupt elements fight back and vow to destroy the captain of the anti-corruption crusade, Ibrahim Magu, the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at all cost and by all means.
These desperate attempts have been made uncountable times and still counting. The recent is that of a lawyer, Agu Obasi, who purportedly filed a case seeking for Magu’s removal at the Federal High Court Abuja.
This article is not meant to react to the ranting of an online publication, which falsely claimed that the EFCC czar had directed his staff not to accept the court papers allegedly brought by a court bailiff. My intervention is simply to refresh the minds of Nigerians on some of the issues raised by the so-called lawyer. He claimed that Magu has violated the public service rule by serving as EFCC acting chair for more than six months. Thus, the court must remove him from office because he was indicted by the Department of State Service (DSS) report submitted to the Bukola Saraki-led Senate. The so-called lawyer needs to be educated.
It is expedient to state here that the court case, if at all there is any, is another ploy to distract the EFCC chair from executing his laudable fight against corruption. This is because two federal courts had earlier dismissed similar suits seeking the removal of Magu as acting EFCC chairman brought before them.
In December 2019, a federal high court in Abuja had dismissed suits seeking the removal of Magu as acting chairman of EFCC. Similarly, in 2017, a federal high court in Lagos struck out a suit filed by Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, a lawyer and rights activist, seeking an order to restrain Magu from holding the office in an acting capacity.
Earlier, legal luminaries have voiced their understanding of the issue at stake. For instance, on March 31, 2017, Femi Falana, SAN, a human rights lawyer, said the constitution empowers President Muhammadu Buhari to leave Magu as acting chairman of EFCC for as long as possible.
In April 2017, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo reechoed Falana’s explanation, saying he was fully in support of Magu. Speaking to journalists at the presidential villa in Abuja, Osinbajo said President Buhari did not find the indictment by the DSS as a strong reason to replace Magu.
Osinbajo expressed support for the view of Femi Falana, a lawyer, who said Buhari does not need the confirmation of the senate to retain Magu. With all this, it clear that Obasi and his hidden masters have failed again. No amount of blackmail and campaign of calumny will distract Magu from his onerous task of ridding Nigeria of corruption.
Afolabi writes from Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State