The Nigerian Senate has again, on Wednesday, March 14, rejected Ibrahim Magu as the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission based on the security report by the country’s secret police.
This is the second time the Senate is rejecting Magu as the boss of the power anti-graft agency. In December 2016, his appointment was rejected by the upper legislative chamber based on a report by the State Security Services, SSS, also known as DSS.
The same report was reaffirmed by the DSS in a letter to the Senate on March 14, 2017.
The confirmation of Ibrahim Magu was sent to a vote and majority of the senators, a bi-partisan crowd, rejected his appointment on account of human rights abuses and corruption allegations against Magu.
However, Senator Ali Ndume protested the non-confirmation of Ibrahim Magu saying that the senate received two letters. He insisted that “majority will have its way but minority must have its say”.
To this, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki said, “We should not rubbish the entire institution because of an individual.”
Before the vote which nailed a coffin on his tenure as acting chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu had given a brief introduction about himself before the Senate.
“I look forward to bringing new strategies for fighting corruption,” he told the senators. “We look forward to restructuring the commission, expanding operations in Ibadan and Maiduguri, improve manpower capacity.”
The deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu after thanking Magu asked about the operations of the EFCC on disobeying court orders and cases of human rights abuse. He asked how EFCC under Magu will fight corruption.
The acting EFCC boss was also asked by Sen. Atai Aidoko about the operational procedure in detaining suspects on investigation under Magu.
In his response, Mr. Magu said he did not come with the DSS report on the investigation carried out. He cited that a human right activists once said EFCC’s cells are like hotels and there is too much comfort in there, therefore, reports of DSS claiming inhumane treatment of suspects in the EFCC’s cells cannot stand.
Concerning allegations about the house he bought without due procedure, Mr. Magu said he only stayed there because of its close proximity to work and to avoid late night movement.
Also, the senators asked Magu to explain his findings from the investigations done by the commission on the Paris club fund and how much the commission has recovered from looters so far.
Senator Shehu Sani asked, “You need to expatiate on your activities on human rights? What are your findings and activities on the Paris Club fund?“
“How much funds has been recovered since you took charge of the commission,” asked Sen. Duro Faseyi.
Magu replied by saying, “It is difficult to give report on how much has been recovered from fight against corruption.” He said that although EFCC is not always right on its decisions, but the agency strive to do its best.
President Muhammadu Buhari sent a letter to the Senate in July 2016 requesting that Ibrahim Magu, an assistant commissioner of police, be confirmed as the chairman of the EFCC.
The letter, also sought the confirmation of Ndasule Moses, Lawan Mamman, Galadanci Imam, and Adeleke Rafiu as members of the commission.
Ibrahim Magu was appointed to replace the former ECFF chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde, in an acting capacity in November 2015, after Lamorde was fired by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Under Magu, the public image of the agency as a crime fighter, was tarnished after series of unlawful actions by the EFCC, disobedience to court orders, and gross violation of human rights of Nigerians.
Magu politicized his position and became known as the “hatchet man” for President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress.