Our Arrests Not Political – EFCC Chairman

EFCC Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu
EFCC Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu

The acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, has said that the recent spate of arrest of influential and powerful Nigerians is not politically motivated, insisting that all those arrested have questions to answer for the time they spent in public office.

There have been insinuations, particularly from the former ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, that the renewed anti-corruption campaign is a vendetta directed at politicians who held high political office in the Goodluck Jonathan presidency.

But speaking on Wednesday at an interactive session with online media operators and radio and on air personalities in Abuja, Magu said that the EFCC is not driven by any political considerations in its work and that all those so far arrested have questions to answer for their stewardship while in office.

He said the spate of arrests is the result of the reordering of the commission’s priorities and other steps taken since he assumed office, adding that the coming weeks will witness the arrest of more influential Nigerians.

“As we speak, many more influential Nigerians are on the radar of the EFCC and in the coming weeks, they would have their day in court,” Magu stated, assuring that the people would be kept abreast of investigations.

The EFCC chairman said that apart from ensuring that corrupt public officials are brought to justice, the agency would make sure that “no Nigerian shall be regarded as being above the law or treated as a sacred cow as far as the fight against corruption is concerned.”

He expressed delight that the EFCC has received support from the three arms of government – the executive, legislature and the judiciary.

Specifically, Magu stated that the political will and “body language” of President Muhammadu Buhari “has given needed traction to the anti – graft campaign, adding that the President’s public statements had made it clear to all that his government would not tolerate corruption.

The EFCC boss said that the judiciary too has lent its support to the anti-corruption campaign by taking practical steps such as designating selected courts to try corruption related cases as well as initiating practice directives.

He also expressed happiness with the passing into law of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, noting that the legislation could not have come at a better time.

Magu said that he was meeting stakeholders in the media to carry them along and seek their support in the fight against corruption, adding that the Forth Estate of the Realm has a critical role to play in eliminating corruption in the country.

He appealed to journalists to conduct themselves professionally and put the interest of the nation first in their work, noting that powerful people who face corruption allegations might want to use the Press to evade justice.

“My plea for your support is underscored by my understanding that the forces which we are battling are powerful and some of them may want to use all platforms of the media to distract and derail us.



    “If and when they come to you, please allow the ethics of your profession, your conscience and overriding national interest be your guide,” he admonished.

    But Magu advocated another role for journalists, saying that with the investigations they carry out they are in the best position to act as whistle blowers for anti-corruption agencies.

    “Anywhere you see corruption, let us know about it,” he stated.

    The EFCC chairman amplified the call by President Buhari at his maiden media chat that journalists undertake more investigative reporting to make public officials and the government more transparent and accountable to the people.




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