By Ajayi Bamidele
The attention of notable Nigerians has been drawn to a statement credited to the Nigerian vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, describing Mr. Ibrahim Mustapha Magu as the most senior staff of the Economic and Financial crimes commission, which is false.
The lies in the position of the vice president who is expected to uphold the true tenets of democratic principles; to represent the desires of the people in the fight against corruption and injustice – being the scourge that is ravaging the nationâ€™s political system, should be exposed in the interest of the citizenry.
The much-expected protection of the rule of law and respect for the three arms of government should prevail over the jaundiced comments of the vice president, who has compromised himself with his tenacity to protect the embattled acting chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Maju.
The statement of the vice president was an indication that the present administration was bent on sticking with an individual who the Nigerian Senate declined to confirm as the substantive Chairman of the EFCC.
Contrary to what the vice president said, Mr. Magu Mustapha Ibrahim happens to be the most senior police officer posted to serve in the EFCC on secondment, but that does not make him a staff of the commission.
Setting the record straight, the EFCC is an establishment of an Act of the National Assembly, and the Commission has 3 internationally recognized and trained serving directors – position that is equivalent to Assistant inspector General of Police (AIG) in the Federal civil service ranking.
Suffice to say as well that the Commission has at least 20 serving deputy directors who are staff of the EFCC, a rank that is equivalent to that of a Commissioner of Police (CP) in the Nigerian police Force.
The Commission also has additional 20 Assistant Directors who are equivalent to the rank of a Deputy Commissioner of Police in the Nigerian Police Force, that is the category where the embattled Acting Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Mustapha Magu belongs to.
Social commentators now wonder why the federal government should leave out over 43 personnel senior to Magu, according to the federal civil service ranking and appoint a junior rank as the chief executive. Prehaps, to spite his superiors working in the Commission.
Another school of thought also argues that why were these people trained with taxpayerâ€™s money without being given the corresponding leadership responsibility to practicalise for the benefit of the country the knowledge acquired from their overseesâ€™ trainings? Doesnâ€™t it mean that the investment in their training was a waist?
The EFCC has come of age. I suggest that the 3 internationally respected directors who are at the rank of AIG, and 20 deputy directors and additional 20 assistant directors, should henceforth be allowed to start piloting the affairs of the Commission.
I make bold to say that the continuous posting of police officers who are supposed to be assisting their colleagues in the fight against insurgency in the North-east and maintaining law and order – to head the EFCC should stop. They should concentrate on their constitutional responsibility, rather than posting them to the anti-graft agency that has more capable hands to produce the much-needed results in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
I suggest further that the Act of the National Assembly that establishes the EFCC should be reviewed to allow professionalism to prevail so that core technocrats in the field would be allowed to man different positions without prejudice.
My advice goes to the vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo to reconsider his position on Magu.
It is high time the Commissionâ€™s capable hands were allowed to lead in the executive carder, because I know the VP is a promoter of due process and someone that would not ordinarily support injustice.
In as much that I know it is not a crime to labour and become a senior personnel in an organization, so do we expect the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government to allow peace to reign in the EFCC and allow one of the 43 senior personnel to Magu who is even not a staff of the Commission to start piloting the affairs of the anti-graft body.
A thought echoed in my mind that whatâ€™s so special in the EFCC that Mr. Magu refused to return to his core employerâ€™s duty: the Nigerian police force. I want to suggest if Mr. Magu Mustapha Ibrahim likes the EFCC, he should resign from the Nigerian police force and apply to be a staff of the EFCC.
I urged the National Assembly to amend the act that established the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to enable it function effectively whereby the position of the chief executive of the Commission would be ceded to one of the most ranked officers in the Commission.
This would bring about dedication and commitment to the cause and reduce grumblings among the staff where a junior officer from another agency would be brought to superintend the operations of a Commission that has internationally acknowledged technocrats in crime fighting and anti-corruption.
The Presidency and the National Assembly are hereby called upon to act fast and address this injustice meted out to the top officers of the EFCC, who have served and contributed immensely to the growth and development of the Commission.