Former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has called for a vigorous and holistic approach to the fight against corruption in the country, saying it is a major impediment against collective national progress.
Magu made this known on Saturday during the conferment of a doctoral fellow on him by the General Yakubu Gowon-led think tank Institute for Governance and Leadership Studies in Africa (IGLSA) at the African University of Science & Technology, Abuja.
Former President Muhammadu Buhari had, on July 10, 2020, approved the suspension of Magu as acting EFCC chairman.
The development was contained in a statement issued by Umar Gwandu, the spokesperson to Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
Malami had accused Magu of alleged involvement in corruption and insubordination. He added that the suspension would allow for unhindered inquiry by the former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Salami- led Presidential Investigation Panel.
However, the report of the panel was not made available to the general public and there was no White Paper from the panel when Buhari left office in May 29, 2023.
Magu, who gave an acceptance speech on behalf of other awardees at the event, said corruption is the reason for lack of adequate dividends that come with democracy. According to him, if you eliminate corruption from the system, you are guaranteed basic provisions that governance offers.
Magu said: “This recognition is not just a personal achievement but a testament to the collective efforts of the dedicated individuals at the EFCC and all stakeholders in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
“With the benefit of hindsight, and having been at the helms of affairs of the foremost anti-graft agency in Nigeria, I wish to state that fighting corruption is not an easy task. It is a patriotic and selfless service to one’s fatherland. This is because corruption is pervasive. And for an agency to tackle this monster headlong, all hands must be on deck.
“I wish to state with a high sense of responsibility that the fight against corruption must be pursued with vigour as corruption remains the impediment against our collective progress as a nation.”
I urge the government to persevere in the relentless fight against corruption, as a corruption-free nation is the bedrock for sustainable economic growth and positive development. Let us work hand in hand to break free from the vicious grip of corruption and pave the way for a brighter future for Nigeria.
“Nigeria is blessed with an abundance of human and natural resources. As a matter of fact, our solid minerals in all the 36 states can fetch the country enough revenue to sustain governance and provide basic amenities for all Nigerians.”
Speaking further, Magu said: “There is a need to encourage Nigerians in the diaspora to return home and invest, because the government offers incentives that will encourage a suitable business environment.”
This development will create economic boost and reduce the incidence of unemployment and curb youth restiveness and the Japa (emigration) syndrome.
“As our nation adapts to this new reality, emphasising infrastructure development becomes fundamental to our economic growth. Investments in key sectors like transportation, energy, and telecommunications not only enhance internal connectivity but also boost Nigeria’s appeal for foreign investments. This contributes to a more resilient and diversified economy, generating employment and fostering sustainable development.”
Magu added: “Creating a convenient business environment is crucial for any economic prosperity. So, we must simplify bureaucratic processes by promoting ease of doing business and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to empower local businesses. This will encourage entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology.
“A secure environment is vital for sustained economic growth. Strengthening law enforcement, enhancing intelligence gathering, and promoting community policing are essential in addressing security challenges.”
Other dignitaries at the event include: the Deputy Governor of Yobe State, Idi Barde Gubana, who represented his principal, Mai Mala Buni, who also received a Fellow award from the institute; former Vice Chancellor of University of Abuja, Prof. Nuhu Yaqub; two legal luminaries, Prof. Akinseye George (SAN) and Kayode Ajulo (SAN); and Ibiam Oguejiofor, the National Coordinator, Presidential Executive Order 5.