[Opinion] Of Suspension Jinx In Nigeria's Anti-graft Boss Office
Since the establishment of the anti corruption agency known as Economic and Financial Crimes Commission saddled with the responsibilities of combating financial and economic crimes and also to prevent, investigate, prosecute and penalise economic and financial crimes in Nigeria, by Olusegun Obasanjo Administration back in 2003, four high profile police officers with very vast experience of financial crime have assumed the head of the commission.
There haven’t been an eagle that lacks the capacity killing a chicken among them, but despite their crusade in ensuring that the corruption becomes a thing of history in this country, none of these four have left office without facing at least one or two allegations that will inadvertently lead to their removal or suspension from office. The latest been Ibrahim Magu.
The suspended EFCC boss who is still answering questions from the Justice Ayo Salami-led presidential panel became the boss of the anti-graft commission in 2015. He is been questioned over the allegations which emanated from a report by the Attorney- General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami ( SAN ) and a DSS report which was submitted to the Senate in 2016 and 2017. Magu was accused of living above his means, fraternising with corrupt individuals, diversion of recovered funds and many others.
The anti-graft boss was also accused of insubordination as well as discrepancies in the figures of funds recovered by the EFCC, disposing of assets, especially buildings seized from corrupt politicians and others, without approval, or knowledge of the AGF’ s office, which is the supervisory ministry of the EFCC .
He succeeded Ibrahim Lamorde who was suspended in the early days of Buhari’s administration for allegedly mismanaging N1. 3trillion recovered by the anti-graft agency and also on the account that the presidency was angry that the EFCC did not take action on former Minister of Petroleum Resources Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke until the National Crimes Agency in the United Kingdom invited her for questioning.
Lamorde himself took over the mantle of leadership in the anti corruption agency after his predecessor who was the second Boss of the agency was asked to vacate office by President Goodluck Jonathan over the accusation that EFCC had been selective in its investigations and there was news of her falling out with the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke over the prosecution of cases that were brought before the court. It was also alleged that Farida Waziri might have compromised the investigation into financial misappropriation against the former governor of Bayelsa state, Timipreye Sylva.
Nuhu Ribadu, the first EFCC chairman who also set the sack/suspension record associated with the last days of anyone who has ever sited on the apex chair in the anti corruption agency’s office was not only sacked from office but was demoted from Assistant Inspector General of Police to Commissioner of Police. He was alleged to have been involved in abuse of human rights of suspects among other things and it was also believed that Ribadu’s troubles was link to his refusal to terminate the corruption trial of James Ibori, former governor of Delta state and Yar’Adua’s close ally.
As observed, no EFCC boss have been able to receive ‘thank you, you have done well’ message as they leave office, despite been an alpha-dog against corruption in the country. And the question is why is it so? This was partially answered by a source in a report published by Dailytrust on July 8, this year particularly on Magu’s saga. The source said “I can tell you that all the allegations against Magu are untrue. I see the whole situation as a power play. He concluded by saying; “Preparations for the 2023 elections are another reason they want Magu out because he knows too much.
To large extent, one will agree with the source that perhaps EFCC bosses always know too much that is why there is hardly a farewell funfair for them as they leave office but rather a suspension or sack notice. One can also say( as held by some quarters) that it is perhaps, due to the fact it is not possible to fight corruption in this country, because it seems it always fight back, something sort of a karma. But why is karma not fighting anti-graft crusaders in other climes?
Things will surely continue as they’re and the onlookers will as usual be taking the country for a joke until it finds a means of ensuring that the looted funds recovered are not relooted by those responsible for recovering the funds and the government itself.
The next EFCC boss will not be able to break the suspension jinx until the government begin to be using the recovered funds for tangible projects which will not be of benefit to some set of people but to the general public, so as to make us know that the corruption agency isn’t set up just to humble those that don’t want to be licking the government’s butt.
Written by: Hassan Temitope