Mohammed Bello Adoke, former attorney-general of the federation, says President Muhammadu Buhari should “immediately” send the name of Ibrahim Magu to the senate to be confirmed as the substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In what may be described as an ironic twist because Adoke is currently being tried by the EFCC over allegations related to the sale of OPL 245 in 2011, the former AGF said he was not bitter towards the man whom he said “the powers that be” have been using to “persecute me since I left office in 2015”.
In an interview with TheCable in Abuja on Thursday, Adoke said: “I am not saying this because I need any favour from Magu. Yes, I have been unfairly detained for 55 days and charged to court. The rest is now with the judiciary. I stand to gain nothing from saying Magu should be confirmed. If anything, I should be campaigning against him given what I have seen in the hands of the agency in the last four years. God knows I am not bitter towards him. God allowed this to happen to me for a purpose.
“However, President Muhammadu Buhari is highly celebrated for fighting corruption and the poster boy of this celebrated achievement is clearly Magu. There is no argument about that. It is, therefore, only fair for President Buhari to resend Magu’s name to the senate for confirmation. I know that the previous senate twice rejected him but the current senate is very cooperative with Buhari. They have never turned him down on anything. They will surely confirm Magu if the president sends his name now.
“The impression many people have is that it is not fair to use and dump Magu and leave him to his fate. President Buhari should do the needful and send his name to the senate again for confirmation. This senate will not turn him down. The president should give Magu all the necessary confidence he needs to keep doing his job.”
Adoke said he sympathises with Magu because the EFCC chairman is operating under a tough atmosphere in which many illegal things are done in his name but this should be regarded as part of the “peculiarities” of the Nigerian environment.
“You cannot deny that Magu has passion no matter your misgivings about the EFCC he leads. Like I said earlier, I am making this argument in utmost good faith. I have suffered persecution and humiliation under his watch but that does not take anything away from the fact that fair is fair. This government must be fair to Magu and do what is right. They cannot be using him and refusing to give him his dues. He shouldn’t be left as acting chairman forever. That is my frank opinion.”
Magu has been acting chairman of EFCC since November 2015.