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EFCC chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu

Sir: I was not surprised that Ibrahim Magu was not confirmed the other day as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

With due respect to him, I was however very disappointed that Magu “went down” without a fight which he had an opportunity to put up. Fighting may have made it easier for him not to have been confirmed and his not fighting nevertheless made it easy for the senators to vote against his confirmation.

The whole confirmation session was a charade as far as am concerned. I would, however, like to dwell on two points (among others) that Magu did not address very well if he addressed any at all.

He did not know how much the commission had recovered since he assumed the acting role. This, to my mind, is very negligent on his part, suggesting that he is not on top of his game and did not prepare for the session with the Senate. Did anybody have the figures in the commission? Maybe. Did anybody have the figures outside the commission? Maybe, but I doubt.  Could he have bluffed his way with unsubstantiated figures? Maybe!!! But in any case, he was caught flat footed without an answer. Disappointment number 1.

A senator started his question session by saying  “ if you tell the truth, you will die, if you don’t tell the truth, you will die” and he went ahead to say he has decided to tell the truth. Really???? Thereafter, he went on to say the Senate received a report the precious day about 5pm (?) which  indicted the Acting EFCC Chairman. (Allegedly, since Magu was not arrested and prosecuted). I thought he was going to read the whole report to Magu but went to paragraph 14 which stated that “ In the light of the foregoing, Magu, has failed the integrity test and will eventually constitute a liability to the anti-corruption drive of the present administration.”

Questions and more questions: If the Senate was going to place so much reliance on the DSS report (which was not signed by the DG, by the way), why invite Magu for the confirmation hearing?

How was Magu expected to respond to a report he had not seen? Unfortunately, Magu did not think that he should attempt to cast doubts on the authenticity and or integrity of the report as expected of a man that heads an anti-corruption commission or is angling to head such a powerful agency. Rather, he made some general statements about not getting fair hearing. (Whatever, that means).  Was he referring to the previous report of November 2016 or the report of March 15, 2017 which I doubt he saw? Disappointment number 2.

In all, Magu sounded like he was begging the Senators for the job, for whatever reason. Did he have so many skeletons in his closet he didn’t want exposed? He should have known that the Senate that has a number of the members under investigation including some facing prosecution already, would NEVER give him an easy ride. Whatever happens, if he is represented by the Presidency, his moral authority and confidence may have been so watered down that he would just be a lame duck Chairman. The Senate would have won.

What is the way forward? Maybe the Presidency should consider advertising the position for Nigerians who consider themselves fit and proper to man the position, to apply. I do not think one has to be a policeman to be the EFCC Chairman. I also think that given the current situation we have found ourselves, a constitutional amendment that the EFCC Chairman nominee should not be subject to Senate confirmation would not be out of place. One should not be a judge in his case in his own court.

Ovie Ogude,
Lagos.


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