From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Government has said though ex-Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, has been promoted and retired, he would be prosecuted if indicted.
President Muhammadu Buhari had set up an investigative panel chaired by Justice Ayo Salami (retd) to probe Magu in July 2020 following accusations against him by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
He was accused of failing to properly account for N431million security votes/information fund released to the office of the Executive Chairman of EFCC between November 2015 and May 2020.
The panel upon conclusion of its assignment had turned-in its report to the President recommending Magu’s removal as EFCC boss.
Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi, who spoke at the 38th session of the State House briefing by the Presidential Media Team said Magu’s retirement does not stop his persecution if found guilty..
He was briefing on the status of policing and security in the country, providing insight on key updates from the Presidential Roadmap on Police Reform.
Asked why the police authorities were yet to act on recommendations of the panel, but chose to promote Magu to the rank of AIG of Police before his retirement, Dingyadi said: “This is an issue that should have been addressed by the Police Service Commission (PSC) who have the responsibility to conduct promotions of the police. They are not here, and I am aware that the Police Service Commission is directly under the presidency. So I cannot speak for them.
“But what I know is that Mr. Magu has already retired and that is what I can tell you now. The fact that he was promoted is a matter for the Police Commission to maybe throw more light on. I’m not aware of the position of government on the report you are talking about and I think it is still being under consideration. It doesn’t mean that when he retires, the laws will not catch up with him whenever he is found guilty. So, I think it’s not completely finished business.”
The minister, however, declined to give an update on the corruption charges against Abba Kyari, the suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, saying it would amount to sub judice.
“The issue of Abba Kyari, you all know where it is; it’s a matter in court. So, for me to talk about it, it amounts to sub judice. So please, let’s wait for the decision of the court on the matter. And we’ll all be there to wish the court the best in whatever they see fit in the matter,” he said.
Asked why the identify of the unknown gunmen causing havoc in the South East have not been unraveled since members of the Indigenous People’s of Biafra (IPOB) have disowned killings in the region, the Minister said: “Okay, the unknown gunmen, you want to know who they are? I want to tell you that they are unknown gunmen and they are also criminals. They’re terrorists and we are dealing with them in the language they understand.”
Dingyadi said the police has began to deploy technology in dealing with crimes and criminalities in the country. He said the police were striving hard to be civil in the conduct of their operations but where necessary, they would deploy firearms.
On community policy, he said: “And it has commenced and we couldn’t have trained 25,000 constabularies if the programme has not started. So, the programme is on course, and is in all the 36 states of the federation, and these constabularies have been posted to their various communities.”
He urged persons in communities that the constabularies have been posted to assist by sharing intelligence and reporting cases so they could be easily or locally resolved.
On police recruitment, Dingyadi said the ministry had the approval to sign on 40,000 constables out of which 20,000 have already been achieved, noting that the plan is to have 30,000 constables on their payroll in the next two months.
On psychiatric test for policemen to ascertain their psychological stability, the minister said the men were being made to undergo rigorous and extensive screening, including medical tests on prospective recruits, assuring that the best available were those engaged in the system.