Some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have slammed the Federal Government over the face-off between the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and the Acting boss of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu.
The CSOs in a statement yesterday described the development as an as an embarrassment to the Federal Government..
It said the war against corruption must not be allowed to suffer over the face-off, urging Malami not to yield to fifth columnists in the war against corruption.
The statement was signed by Chido Onumah (African Centre for Media & Information Literacy), Olanrewaju Suraju (Civil Society Network Against Corruption), Anwal Musa Rafsanjani (Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre), Mohamed Attah (Procurement Observation and Advocacy Initiative), George-Hill Anthony (Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group) and Ibrahim Modibbo (Democrats of Conscience).
The statement, titled: “Civil society position on the relationship between the AGF and the EFCC,” reads in full: “The attention of the under listed civil society organisations has been drawn to the needless rift between the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which further deteriorated with the recent ill-advised statement by Salihu Othman Isah, media aide to the AGF, pointing to the EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu, as the one undermining the war against corruption of the current administration.
“We see the deepening disharmony between the two government institutions as an embarrassment to the federal government and it is capable of weakening its anti-corruption efforts. We are alarmed that someone in the office of the AGF could be making such sweeping and grievous allegation without an atom of proof. We want to believe that Mr. Isah did not speak the mind of his boss given that the AGF himself had dismissed any notion of quarrel or disagreement between him and Mr. Ibrahim Magu as widely reported in the media a couple of weeks ago.
“In our estimation, if there is anyone who will not give an inch to the corrupt, it is the current acting chairman of the EFCC. How will such a person become a stumbling block to the fight against corruption? It simply does not make sense.
“The story of what led to the suspension of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) from the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units, an informal network of national financial intelligence units, is already well known and has nothing to do with the person of Ibrahim Magu or the EFCC. Since the government has set up a committee to address the issue, we urge that the committee be allowed to do its job without interference, though we believe the committee has already been infiltrated by fifth columnists who are using the committee’s name to push personal objectives.”
“By calling for all case files of politically exposed persons, we see the desperation of the AGF to assert his position as Chief Law Officer of the Federation. That position is not in doubt and we don’t want to believe the EFCC as an institution has given any indication that it was unwilling to yield to the directive. We are reliably informed that a good number of cases have been sent by the agency to the AGF, including the controversial Malabu case which sources in the AGF office confirmed receiving in January this year. As at the time of this release, the AGF has done nothing about the case?
“We also want to draw the attention of the public to the fact that even in cases such as the ones involving judges arrested for alleged corruption by the Department of State Security (DSS), the AGF has not fared well in prosecuting them. We would like the AGF to tell Nigerians the successful convictions his office has secured in the fight against corruption in the last 2 years. On the other hand, this year alone, the EFCC going by records available to the public, secured 124 convictions as at the end of July.
“The Commission reportedly recorded 194 and 103 convictions in 2016 and 2015 respectively. And some of the convictions were even handled by lawyers seconded to the Commission from the Office of the AGF! So, who is frustrating who? Is it Ibrahim Magu who is working with lawyers seconded from the Ministry of Justice or Malami who is instigating his aides to incite the people and the President against Ibrahim Magu?”