By Alex Enumah in Abuja
In his usual unperturbed disposition, Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, on Monday told journalists he was not bothered about the issue of his confirmation as the substantive Chairman of the anti-graft agency in Nigeria.
Magu, who stated this while responding to questions from journalists at a media parley to mark his third anniversary in office, said he was more concerned with uprooting the monster of corruption from the country, redeeming the much battered image of the country as a result of corruption and his shared belief with President Muhammadu Bahari that “if we don’t kill corruption, then corruption will kill Nigeria.”
Magu was appointed by President Buhari in November 11, 2015 to head the nation’s anti-corruption agency, the EFCC but the Senate on different occasions declined to confirm his appointment based on the report of the Department of State Services (DSS).
Despite the position of the Senate, President Buhari in what some believed to be a demonstration of his strong confidence in Magu’s ability to prosecute effectively the corruption war, however refused to have him replaced.
Given his stewardship in the last three years as acting chairman of the EFCC, Magu in response to a question on the issue of his non confirmation by the Senate said, “If people are in a hurry to confirm you in this work that I am doing, it means you are not working, it means you are derailing, you are not doing what is required because in this job there is no fear or favour.
“You just concentrate on targets and get the work done, that is the most important. If you are busy lobbying for confirmation you can’t be fair, you can’t be balanced. My only concern is to focus and I want you to help me to be focused, there is nothing wrong in you telling me, Magu, this is how it should be done, do it that way maybe you will have a better result”, he said.
He said despite corruption always fighting back and his life and that of his men being constantly threatened, he will not relent in his effort in tackling corruption in the country.
He said, “Indeed, the task of fighting corruption in Nigeria has never been, is not and can never be an easy one. The battle to make our dear country a place where foreign investors will be confident to invest in is, without doubt, one that must be fought by all Nigerians who love this country, if we are to make any appreciable progress”.
“Notwithstanding all that, we can still say that overall, for us as an anti-graft agency, it has been, so far, so good. The past three years have been very eventful, and in spite of the obstacles, we have consistently made progress in the areas of convictions, and particularly the recovery of assets stolen from our commonwealth.
Magu disclosed that following court orders which granted the commission’s prayers for interim and final forfeiture of looted funds, the agency under his watch between November 2015 and today recovered over N794 billion.
“Over $261million (Two Hundred and Sixty One Million,) has been recovered. The Pounds Sterling recovered stands at 1, 115, 930.47 Pounds (One Million, One Hundred and Fifteen Thousand, Nine Hundred and Thirty Pounds Forty Seven Pence). The Euros recovered in the period is: 8, 168, 871. 13 Euros (Eight Million, One Hundred and Sixty Eight Thousand, Eight Hundred and Seventy One Euros, Thirteen Euro Cents). There is also the sum of 86, 500 CFA (Eighty Six Thousand Five Hundred CFA Franc)”, he stated.
In the area of conviction, Magu said within the same period the EFCC secured 703 convictions. 103 convictions in 2015, 194 convictions in 2016; 189 in 2017 and 217 from January 2018 till date.