By Dennis Agbo
A Coalition of Twenty-four Civil Society Organizations for Good Governance and Electoral Integrity in Nigeria, C24, has condemned the defense put up by some European transparency groups, faulting the trial of the deposed Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu.
The international groups: Re: Common, Corner House, and Globalwitness had faulted steps being taken by the federal government of Nigeria, through the Justice Ayo Salami’s Presidential Panel to ascertain the culpability of Magu on allegations of corruption and insubordination leveled against him by the Attorney General of the Federation, Malam Abubakar Malami.
Outraged by the European groups’ position, the Nigeria Civil society Organizations suspected that the international groups may after all be the agents of Ibrahim Magu and his cronies. C24 emphatically described them as hatchet job merchandisers.
The CSOs alleged that the Nigerian cronies of the international groups were the same people sponsoring malicious publications against the Abubakar, using an online media, is accused of notoriety for hatchet jobs, through blackmails.
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Coordinators of the C24, Comrade Amaechi Ogalagu of the Ambassadors for Accountability, AAI, and Hajia Zainab Mohammed of National Council of Child Right Advocate in Nigeria, NACCRAN, in a statement during the weekend, advised some Nigerians in the habit of negatively internationalizing the country’s domestic issues at prompts, to discontinue such practices as it dents the image of Nigeria overseas, to the detriment of everyone.
Part of the coalition’s statement reads: “We, a Coalition of 24 Civil Society Organizations for Good Governance and Electoral Integrity in Nigeria, C24, condemns in totality the biased and shameful position of Lucas Manes of Re: Common, Nicholas Hildyard of Corner House, Simon Taylor of Globalwitness – all European organisations – and Olanrewaju Suraju of the HEDA in Nigeria as expressed on the current ordeal of Ibrahim Magu, former Acting Chairman of the EFCC.
“The so-called international anti-corruption groups, through our findings, were assembled by their Nigerian friends to do a hatchet job of blackmailing President Buhari’s anti-corruption war.
These Nigerian friends who invited these ‘Oyibos’ are accomplices to the allegations leveled against Ibrahim Magu as their mission is very clear, to rubbish the creative initiatives of the Hon. Attorney General, Abubakar Malami, from discharging his duties efficiently.
“The same people have been sponsoring malicious publications against the Hon. Minister, using a notorious online paper known for doing hatchet jobs through blackmails.
“Genuine anti-corruption fights are not selective and this is what the administration of President Mohammadu Buhari has demonstrated by allowing one of his Chief Security heads to be investigated. If such weighty allegations by the Hon. Attorney General of the Federation is considered inconsequential by this purported international anti-corruption group, then it is very clear that the group is not in the status of anti-corruption fighting organizations. They are commercial blackmailers usually paid to do such jobs and that suggests what their mission in all these entails.
“The ongoing investigation of Magu and his cohorts still remains in the realms of the allegation. But applying measures of blackmail against Malami and destroying of sources of evidence, as witnessed by some persons who broke into Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU, at night to destroy and cart away computers with vital information regarding this Magu’s case, is a clear indication that some people are indeed trying to obstruct investigation to cover up their crimes.
“Nicholas Hildyard of Corner House, Simon Taylor of Globalwitness – all European organisations – and Olanrewaju Suraju of the HEDA in Nigeria should all bury their faces in shame. How can supposedly anti-corruption groups allow themselves to be used to do a cash and carry dirty job? Indeed, the fight against corruption is also compromised by Oyibos. This portends danger for the world and every Nigerian must resist it.
“Magu was dear to President Muhammadu Buhari as he sent his name twice to the National Assembly for confirmation, despite his rejection yet Mr. President left him to act as the Chairman of the EFCC for five years. The fact that President Muhammadu Buhari approved the investigation of Magu is a pointer to his maxim of belonging to nobody and belonging to everybody. It shows an impartial and non-subjective approach with no sacred cows.
“The President could have announced his outright sack as an appointee of the government in an acting capacity. However, Mr. President gave him fair hearing by constituting a probe panel aimed at giving Magu an opportunity to clear his name. Magu and co should be properly investigated and charged to court if the prima facia case is established against.”