The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, has revealed that the commission will take more powerful Nigerians into custody as it has strengthened its battle against corruption in Nigeria.
Mr. Magu, while addressing online and broadcast media managers on Wednesday in Abuja, stated that since his appointment as acting chairman of the EFCC, he had carried out the re-ordering of the agency’s priorities for workable implementation of its mandate.
In his words:
“The effect of this, which is obvious for all to see, is the investigation, arrest and prosecution of some of the most powerful forces in Nigeria, who have questions to answer on their stewardship whilst in office.
A former National Security Adviser, former ministers, former governors, serving and retired military men, a media mogul and several others, are among those we have called to answer critical questions concerning the management of our commonwealth.
As we speak, many more influential Nigerians are on the radar of the EFCC and, in the coming weeks, they would have their days in court and Nigerians will be kept fully abreast of the results of our investigations.”
The EFCC boss hinted that in discharging the duties of the commission diligently, he has been guided by the “fear of God, national interest and the rule of law”.
He further added that besides making corrupt public officers face justice, the EFCC under his leadership has unbending will, in line with the stance of the current administration under President Muhammadu Buhari to send an “unmistakable message” to all citizens of Nigeria, that no Nigerian shall be treated with preference as if they are above the law or treated as holy cows as in this great battle to trash corruption. He also urged the media to help the commission in the much talked about corruption, saying that the commission will not make it without the support of the media.
Mr Mugu also stated that the EFCC has gained the support of necessary bodies and organizations, revealing that he met with the president on Wednesday, and that the message from Mr. Buhari indicates that the agency has the Presidency’s total support.
Quoting Mr. Mugu:
By far more inspirational is the political will of Mr. President to fight corruption. This unbending will, which some now call body language has given the needed traction to the anti-graft campaign,” .
Mr. Buhari’s resolve to fight corruption in Nigeria was underlined by his comments during his maiden media chat last Wednesday where he swore not to spare anyone found to be corrupt.
Mr. Magu made reference to the words of the president where he said, “I don’t tolerate corruption. When I was Head of State, I didn’t put anybody above the law. At this time, I assure you, I will not put anybody above the law. If anyone is caught, I will not only sack (him or her) but will ensure that the case is taken to court”.
The president’s resolve is accompanied by that of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mahmud Mohammed, who, during the last All Nigerian Judges’ Conference, declared unwavering support for the war on corruption.
He added that at the same judges conference, Mr. Buhari spoke of the concerns of the Nigerian people about the unnecessary delays experienced in the trial of corrupt suspects and that the judiciary responded with some practical steps in the form of the designation of selected courts to try EFCC cases and some practice directions.
We believe that when holistically and effectively put into practice, the measures would drastically cut the time corruption cases spend in court before Nigerians know whether the accused is guilty as charged or innocent of the crime.
As a Commission, the EFCC is very determined to put into productive effect, the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, (ACJA), 2015. This law, which has been rightly labeled a legal “revolution”, by none other than Professor Itse Sagay, chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-corruption, could not have come at a better time than now, when Nigerians are yearning for justice.
On the part of the EFCC, I can assure you that the effect of our even more penetrating investigations and commitment to rid Nigeria of all forms of corruption and economic and financial crimes can –and will continue to be– seen from the cases we take to court for trial,”
The EFCC boss answered questions from participants at the forum that many Nigerians believe the current fight against corruption seems to be aimed only at members of the opposition.
To the best of my knowledge, I am not a politician and on that account not doing the bidding of a political party.
Such accusations have come up a lot, but we work with petitions before us, in fact, I am eager and waiting for something from the other side, but nothing has come so far.
I have never loved plea bargaining, I work within the laws of the land.