Mr Osita Okechukwu, the Director General of the Voice of Nigeria, VON, is appealing to the president, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, to submit the name of Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Ibrahim Magu, who has been serving as Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, since November, 2015 to the Senate for the veteran police officer to be confirmed as the substantive Executive Chairman of the Commission. Okechukwu made the appeal in his address during a courtesy visit of the Acting Chairman of the Commission to the Director General of VON.
Magu, who joined the Police Force thirty (30) years ago, had during his visit yesterday, called on news organisations and journalists to support the efforts of the EFCC by being fair in their reports and avoid pattering to the schemes of corrupt politicians and individuals. He said that the media have a great role to play for the success of the anticorruption fight, by seeking for truth and being transparent with their handling of news.
Okechukwu said that the great impact the EFCC has made in the last five years, under the leadership of Magu, is evidence that greater impact could be made in the war against corruption his appointment is ultimately confirmed. He said,
“Accordingly, for Magu having passed through the crucible, for Magu having contained the furnace of corruption merchants that fight back on a daily basis, for Magu having endured the murder of his Police guard and all manner of atrocities, we earnestly plead with Mr President to please CONFIRM Magu’s Chairmanship. The confirmation, we reason, will spur Magu to cover harder grounds and assuage those who cite lopsided anti-graft war.”
He appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the ownership of a forfeited property for the Voice of Nigeria, thereby making the VON a landlord. “In 2019, by God’s grace, VON became a landlord, the owner of this imposing corporate headquarters, courtesy of President Buhari’s anti-graft war in which Magu is a frontline commander. Without your (Magu’s) dexterity and selfless service, we could not have been a prime beneficiary of this historic anti-graft war.”
Magu humbly gave the glory to God who made it possible for VON to benefit from the impact of the President’s anticorruption war. He vowed not to relent on the mandate thrust on the EFCC with greater strength and courage. He said, “I feel highly honoured but humbled as well by the comments made by the Director – General, Mr Osita Okechukwu on the efforts we are making at the EFCC, to confront and conquer the menace of corruption in our nation. I thank the Almighty Allah for granting us strength and courage to do the work. We are modest in stating our achievements because we are getting impressive results every new day. We have more successes than the available reports of our efforts in the public domain.
We will continue to do our best. We will also continue to urge our fellow Nigerians to see the anti-corruption fight as a collective fight. It is only public ownership of the anti-graft war that can offer every Nigerian the involvement needed in the war.”
Magu’s name had been submitted to the Senate three times, perhaps because of the fact that many in the leadership of the 8th National Assembly (8th N’Ass) were bedeviled by one corruption case or another, caused the Senate to decline his confirmation on these occasions. The Senate also harped on a controversial report from the Department of State Security Service which undermined the character of the Acting Chairman. There were two conflicting reports from the same Department of State Security Service, and the Senate went with the one that suited the Senate President of the time, and his supporters. Senator Bukola Saraki, along with a handful of other members of the N’Ass, were being investigated at the time.
On his part, Senator Bukola Saraki said that the Presidency’s refusal to lobby the senators is the chief reason Magu was being declined twice. He said that the issue is more or less political and the president should have deployed the instrumentation of lobbying the Senate. He said that there is nothing wrong with such action, that it is not corruption to lobby. He said even the United States does it.
Speaking to Channels Television on the programme Question Mark, in March, 2018 , Magu said that “There are many people we are investigating who are members of the National Assembly.” He said he was not demoralised by the refusal of the Senate to confirm him as the substantive chairman. He said he was rather inspired by it because it shows that he was working and putting a lot of people who have benefited from corruption, under pressure. He said a swift confirmation could mean that one was making corrupt people comfortable.
Ibrahim Magu now has a record of being the only appointee that has served in the capacity of Acting Chairman. Therefore, the call to get him to be confirmed as the substantive chairman of EFCC, is timely.