Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
A non-partisan group, the Global Forum for Accountability and Transparency, yesterday said that following the unpalatable exit of the suspended Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu, the next head of the body must be properly vetted by the authorities.
Convener of the Niger Delta group, Mr Joseph Ambakederimo, in a statement in Abuja, however insisted that the plan to remove the police as the head of the commission was suspicious, adding that rather, what the EFCC needs is a patriotic and fine officer with unimpeachable record of service.
The body alleged that there was an attempt to hijack the activities of the anti-graft institution, arguing that making a police officer head the organisation wasn’t the problem, but the process of selection which it said is riddled with irregularities.
“Looking back at the appointment process and the shenanigans that greeted the nomination of Ibrahim Magu to the headship of the anti graft agency, would leave no one in doubt that certain forces were at play.
“They worked surreptitiously to undermine the foremost anti graft agency in the country. Ibrahim Magu was the reason the commission floundered rudderlessly for the past five years.
“ Some have even alleged that Magu did not have the requisite capability to steer that agency partly because he had never held a position or even headed a unit in the police force talk more of a gigantic establishment that is saddled with the responsibility to tackle the high and mighty in the society.
“This is further strengthened when viewed side by side with the report that emanated from the Department of State Services (DSS) then which many believed touched on the competency of Ibrahim Magu,” the group argued.
It stated that if the DSS report describing Magu’s confirmation as a “liability” was implemented , the shameful occurrence of the last few months would not have arisen.
The Niger Delta group argued that the recommendation by the Justice Ayo Salami panel that only a non police personnel should henceforth preside over the activities of the EFCC must be rejected by the president.
“This will be counterproductive to the anti-corruption fight. The emerging cabal is set to push the police elements out of the commission and this is a disaster waiting to happen to the EFCC.
“The EFCC is a law enforcement agency. Therefore, for anyone to have recommended the headship to be a non police officer is deeply troubling.
“There is no doubt that the police lead in core investigation activities. No matter how one looks at it, you can’t take away the powers of investigation from the police, including forensic investigation.
“What we need for the EFCC is an outstanding police officer that knows his or her onions and would be desirous to leave a lasting legacy for future generations to imbibe his or her footprints.
“Therefore, it is our considered opinion that President Muhammadu Buhari should tread a fine line to ensure the EFCC under his watch does not fall apart,” the group argued.