There appears to be an uneasy calm at the corporate headquarters of the country’s leading anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), since the Senate rejected the confirmation of its acting chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu.
Findings by Ripples Nigeria revealed that the regular high traffic of individuals and razzmatazz associated within and around the anti-graft agency’s office has significantly dwindled since Magu’s confirmation was rejected.
Beyond that, the high volume of press releases from the spokesman of the commission, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren has also significantly reduced.
Uwujaren, who until recently, frequented television and radio stations, as well as defended activities of EFCC on the pages of newspapers, now seldom picks his calls. He hardly responds to text messages too from newsmen.
However, it was also discovered that he seems to have deviced a mode of sending out information to select media houses on activities of the commission on some high profile cases.
Activities of the anti-graft commission at the various courts in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, have also reduced. Ongoing anti-corruption cases have either been suspended or the vigour has reduced.
Within the premises of the corporate headquarters of EFCC, there appears to be an air of confusion, as some staff have expressed worry that the silence of President Muhammadu Buhari on the rejection of Magu was endangering the success of the ongoing anti-corruption war.
A junior staff who spoke to Ripples Nigeria, claimed that Magu, since his rejection by the Senate, has reduced his presence in the office. He said whenever the chairman is around, he keeps to himself in the office, adding that he has also limited visits.
The Senate, on the 15th of December, 2016, declined to confirm Magu as the substantive chairman of EFCC. The Senate based its decision on a report from the Department of State Services (DSS).
Senate spokesman, Abdullahi Sabi while announcing the rejection to newsmen had said: “The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria wishes to inform the general public that based on security reports available to the lawmakers, we could not proceed and confirm the nomination of Ibrahim Magu as the executive chairman of EFCC.
“Accordingly, the Senate hereby rejects the said nomination and has returned the said nomination to Mr. President for further action. There is no confusion here. We have said it is based on security reports.
“Please, all public officers go for security screening and we are saying based on security reports, we cannot proceed and confirm. We are rejecting it and returning it back to Mr. President for further actions. That is just the statement. It is as simple as that. That is exactly what the Senate has said and I do have any other explanation more than this.”
Few days after Magu’s rejection, President Buhari ordered the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami to investigate claims made by the Senate against Magu.
On December 21st, 2016, the AGF, Malami queried embattled Magu. Magu has reportedly responded to the query, though the content of the response is unknown.
It is still unclear whether or not President Buhari will forward a new name to the Senate as a replacement or insist on the confirmation of Magu as EFCC chairman. The President is yet to make a personal statement on the issue.
By Ehisuan Odia….
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