*Condemns government’s peddling of false information relating to MAGU’s arrest and detention:
The Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy group-: HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has described the arrest and detention of the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu as symbolizing the deeper issues of extensive corruption of staggering proportions in all facets of Nigeria’s national life and the need for the President to use merit and competence as the benchmarks for selecting the substantive head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Besides, HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has condemned the federal government for peddling toxic and uncoordinated false information and outright lies on the exact circumstances of the arrest and detention of the embattled Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC Ibrahim Magu. “A situation whereby officials of the central government including those who work in the different security forces and the EFCC will flagrantly peddle lies on whether Ibrahim Magu was arrested or not is a clear violation of the Freedom of information ACT of 2015 and section 22 of the 1999 Constitution which makes the media the custodians of information and to act as a vanguard and conscience of the nation. A situation whereby officials of government will fully peddles falsehood publicly is not ethically correct. We must condemn this tendency to elevate falsehoods and lies as statecraft in this current Federal Government of Nigeria”.
To the Rights group, the extent of corruption in the different layers of the current administration at the Federal level and the State level is troubling just as the credibility and the integrity of the process of waging the fight against corruption and economic crimes have been muddled up and muddied in the political waters to such an extent that there are persons who are immune from prosecution because of their proximity to the seat of political powers in Abuja just as the EFCC seems to be engaged in unclear mechanisms in waging the war against corruption in such a way that whereas some notorious ex-governors of Imo and Abia States are associated with allegations of staggering crimes but the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC under Ibrahim Magu is playing hide -and- seek with erstwhile governors Roches Okorocha and Theodore Orji amongst many other former governors of most of the Nigerian States including those of Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa who went on to be appointed as Ministers by President Muhammadu Buhari to head the Petroleum and Niger Delta ministries in the current cabinet. “From the word go, the body language of the Federal Government is that of deception and deceit in the war against corruption but rather political witchhunting has characterised the anti graft war”.
In a media Statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, the Rights group said the style of waging the anti-graft campaigns under the current dispensation does not meet the criteria expected of a national anti-corruption institution in the 21st century because clearly there are many influential politically connected persons who are treated as sacred cows including members of the so called Presidential cabal.
“This EFCC under Ibrahim Magu did nothing when the late Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Abba Kyari came under series of accusations of collecting huge bribes from MTN and allegedly engaging in many cases of frauds and contract scams just as the EFCC has watched as the National Social Investment Scheme under the Presidency failed to account for how over N500 billion budgetary releases were spent just as there are allegations that ghost beneficiaries were paid the social INVESTMENT PROGRAMME MONEY without any iota of accountability and transparency. The National Emergency Management Agency was embroiled in widespread corruption running into several billions in which the name of the Vice President was mentioned but this EFCC looked the other way and watched as the disgraced Director General of NEMA destroyed NEMA before he was fired.”
“HURIWA has therefore decided to ask the President to reorganize the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and appoint a capable hand to pilot the affairs of EFCC devoid of politics but the President has refused to do the needful until this moment that his Federal Attorney General and minister of justice Abubakar Malami who has his own issues centred around some of his controversial official actions, then petitioned the President asking him to remove Ibrahim Magu. Malami had suggested to President Muhammadu Buhari the need to sack the EFCC boss. In a memorandum, he anchored his recommendation on several grounds including the “diversion of recovered loot”, “insubordination” and “misconduct”.
HURIWA stated that the arrest and detention of the number one anti -graft Czar shows that there are extensive networks of corrupt officials in the current administration who have all the while enjoyed protection because of their access to some intelligence on the allegations now made against Ibrahim Magu. “We are calling on the President not to treat the scandal allegedly associated with Ibrahim Magu as a family affairs.