EFCC SAGA: Did Magu Act Unlawfully By Investigating Danjuma And Abdulsalami Without Informing Buhari?
July. 09, 2020
Reports have it that the embattled chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu raided the residence of former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar with EFCC officials who “turned the house upside down”. He also obstructed former Defence Minister, Lt General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (rtd) from purchasing an aircraft.
When Danjuma challenged Buhari over the obstruction, Buhari disavowed knowledge of Magu's action. The president also claimed to be unaware that the residence of Abdulsalami Abubakar was raided by the EFCC. This has generated a lot of debates on social media whether Ibrahim Magu had acted within the limits of his power.
Source: Daily Nigerian
Here's an excerpt from Olusegun Adeniyi's column in THISDAY: "Former Defence Minister, Lt General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (rtd) was recently at the villa to see President Muhammadu Buhari. It was a visit borne out of rage. A billionaire oil tycoon, Danjuma had paid for the purchase of an aircraft. His cheque bounced! The order to withhold payment, he was told by his banker, came from Magu!
"From what I gathered, it took some time before the president could convince Danjuma that he knew nothing about what was clearly power-mongering by a reckless public official. A few weeks before that incident, the Minna residence of former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar was raided by EFCC operatives who “turned the house upside down”. The president also got to know only after the deed had been done."
Source: Vanguard News
If this information is anything to go by, can we say it was right or wrong for Magu to have gone after a former defence minister and a former head of state without the president's knowledge? Customarily, Ibrahim Magu was meant to have informed Buhari of these actions. However, some people are of the belief that Magu necessarily should not have informed the president. Doing so would suggest political interference into the dealings of the EFCC.
We have repeatedly written here that Nigeria needs strong democratic institutions. Otherwise, we cannot attain the growth and development we aspire for. Our anti-graft agencies like the EFCC and ICPC need to be independent of political interference. That Magu did not inform Buhari was not unprofessional. It suggests that maybe we are somehow building strong institutions in Nigeria.
We hope for a day in Nigeria in which our institutions would act without external interference. In America, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigates the president. It takes an institution to be independently strong to do that. We hope that someday, whenever the EFCC investigates a former president, we wouldn't see that as abnormal. We would rather see it as the EFCC doing its job.
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