Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja
Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has shrugged off allegations that he is on a personal vendetta against Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
Magu said there is nothing personal in EFCC’s fresh investigation of the senate president, and stressed that the Commission can investigate anybody, at any time.
The EFCC boss spoke shortly after he received an award of ‘Outstanding Leadership in Public Service,’ from Euro Knowledge Group.
The Commission recently launched an investigation into Saraki’s earnings, during his eight years tenure as governor of Kwara State, as well as contract awards and spendings by the senate, under his leadership.
Saraki’s spokesman, Yusuf Olaniyonu had claimed the fresh investigation of his boss by EFCC was a witch-hunt.
Said Olaniyonu: “This new investigation into his activities as governor of Kwara state is a repeat performance. The EFCC is fishing for evidence that they did not get in the past investigations which has spanned almost nine years.
“To single out one individual for persistent investigation can only be logically and plausibly interpreted to be a witch-hunt.
“This is definitely no fight against corruption. It is a battle waged against a ‘political enemy.’ It is a ‘label to damage’ plot.”
Regardless, Magu reiterated there is nothing personal in the fresh investigation against Saraki.
He said: “It is not personal; it is not personal. I am not after anybody on personal ground. His is not different from other investigations that we are doing.”
Beyond Saraki, Magu denied recurring allegation that he is on a witch-hunt against some individuals.
“No, no, never, never. Have I gone for those who are innocent?
“We invite those who have committed financial crimes, those who are corrupt.
“If you are not corrupt, you are not in EFCC. If you are not a 419, Internet fraudster or Yahoo boy, you cannot be in EFCC.
“We do our homework very well. Sometimes, we conduct investigation up to six months on a particular matter. The person will not even know that he or she is being investigated.
“We have investigated people for more than five years without them knowing. I have no reason witch-hunt anybody.”
He described corruption as a national malaise that should be jointly fought by Nigerians.
The EFCC boss added that “corruption is a national disaster which every Nigerian should fight. It is the mother of all evils.
“All these banditry, Boko Haram insurgency and other social ills are rooted in corruption. They are sustained by corruption.”
On the award, he said it was encouraging to receive such honour from a credible organisation.
“It is encouraging, I welcome such award. We do background check before accepting any award.
“We are ready to work with those who show genuine willingness to join in the fight against corruption.
“We are mobilising every Nigerian to come and join us in the fight against corruption,” said Magu.
He regretted that some people were yet to see corruption as an evil that must be tackled headlong.
The EFCC boss emphasised that there is urgent need to join forces against bribe-taking, even as he called for increased campaign against corruption at all levels.
In her speech, Chairman of the group, Mrs. Olayinka Fayomi, described corruption as a problem that must be fought and addressed.
She recommended that the campaign against corruption must be taken to all age groups, museum and centres.