Nigerian media have been filled with conflicting accounts (here and here) about whether Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, was himself arrested for corruption Tuesday. A press release issued by a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption meant to clarify the situation reveals highly disturbing ongoing machinations within the Nigerian government over President Buhari’s effort to curb corruption. It is reprinted below. UPDATE: Since its appearance, other advisory committee members have said they do not endorse it.
Press Release: Professor Femi Odekunle, Member, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption.
This is a preliminary reaction of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) to the alleged ‘arrest’ of Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Of course, the real information reaching us is that he was only invited to appear before a Panel set up not long ago concerning some alleged memo by Malami, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, regarding some alleged malfeasance by Magu, along with nominations for his replacement.
It was just that those sent to invite him for whatever reasons best known to them invited some press along and made it look an arrest. That mischief has been confirmed by some apparent afterthought denial by the DSS [the Department of State Services, the domestic intelligence agency] that it was not an arrest. While PACAC has not had a formal meeting on this development, I have discussed with the Chairman and some other members and the following can be considered as PACAC’s preliminary reaction to this development.
The alleged originating Malami memo, up to the current “arrest “ seems an outcome of power-play by power blocs in the corridors of power in which Malami appears to be an arrow-head or major agent of a power bloc that is not really interested in, or in support of, Buhari’s anti-corruption fight.
- One can recall the earlier non-confirmation experience of Magu by the 8th Assembly, orchestrated by a power bloc and supported by the DSS ‘Security’ reports.
- One can also note the non-resubmission of Magu for confirmation since May 2019 despite the apparent willingness of the 9th Assembly to consider it this time around.
- Furthermore, one must take cognisance of the alleged memo referred to earlier i.e by Malami concerning alleged corrupt practices by Magu, along with his own nominations for Magu’s replacement.
- Again, we cannot forget Malami’s demand of certain high-profile case files from Magu which the latter has been resisting.