The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has seemingly comes to the defense of chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu.
The group declared as baseless and politically motivated, the allegations against Magu, for which basis the Senate refused to confirm his appointment.
SERAP has therefore petitioned Mr Michel Forst, United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders to intervene in what it described as “intimidation, harassment and unfair treatment of Mr. Magu by the Nigerian Senate.
SERAP claimed that for the Senate to reject Magu by relying on a report it knew or ought to have known lacks substance and was politically schemed amounted to violation of the EFCC boss’ right to a fair hearing, adding that the Senate action will implicitly weaken, intimidate, harass and ultimately undermine the independence and freedom of action of the EFCC in its efforts to combat high-profile official corruption.
The group’s position is contained in a petition by SERAP dated December 16 2016 and signed by SERAP Executive Director Adetokunbo Mumuni.
“Apart from the fact that the allegations against Mr Magu are baseless and politically motivated, the Senate of Nigeria flagrantly denied him constitutionally and internationally guaranteed right to a fair hearing by not providing him an opportunity to respond to the allegations against him. The Senate confirmation hearing therefore amounts to a nullification, or destruction of the very essence of the fundamental principles of fair hearing.
“The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria relying on a baseless and politically motivated report declined to confirm the appointment of Ibrahim Magu as substantive chairman of the country’s leading anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The Senate claimed that its action was based on a purported security report forwarded to it by the State Security Service.
“But SERAP has reviewed the security report, which primarily alleged that sensitive and unauthorised EFCC official documents were found in Mr. Magu’s home. However, SERAP is aware that this allegation was part of the conspiracy to harass Mr Magu and frustrate his anticorruption work, as he was unjustly detained for three weeks. Following investigation by the police authorities in 2008, Mr Magu was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing, and in fact promoted to the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police.
“The report also incorrectly stated Mr Magu currently occupies a residence rented for N40 million at N20 million per annum and paid for by allegedly corrupt person. But SERAP’s finding shows that the property was in fact paid for by the Federal Capital Development Administration.
“SERAP thus believes that the purported rejection by the Senate of Nigeria of Magu’s appointment as the chairman of EFCC is politically motivated and in bad faith and part of a persistent move by the National Assembly of Nigeria including the Senate and the House of Representatives and other agencies of government apparently working with them to undermine the ongoing fight against corruption which Mr Magu is leading, and invariably, the independence and freedom of action of anticorruption agencies including the EFCC,” the petition read in part.
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