The erstwhile chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu, was on the 6th day of July 2020 arrested by officers of the Department of State Services (DSS) on the allegation of corruption that was levelled against him by the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
A panel of inquiry was set up by the President to look into the allegations. The panel is chaired by a former Justice of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami (retd). The retired justice is known for his incorruptible and impeccable track record.
Magu has since his arrest remained in detention for about ten days before he was released on bail.
The arrest and detention of Magu on the one hand and the Panel set up by the president to investigate the allegations, on the other hand, has generated series of arguments among politicians, political analysts, commentators, international and local observers.
The views are diverse; some are of the opinion that the arrest and detention of Magu is what may best be described as the “law of KARMA” at work. (See Mike Ozekhome, SAN. “Mangling Magu with Magun”) the learned Silk submitted in that article that he advised Magu as far back as 2017 to tread with caution.
He said, instead of Magu to heed to his call, he decided to see him as an antagonist. The learned silk expressed a broader view in his second article titled “Sad Reminiscences on Ibrahim Magu” in this second article, he analyzed how Magu became a Czar unto himself and became answerable to no one. He narrated how Magu brutalized, humiliated, dehumanized several Nigerian politicians especially those in the opposing party.
This position may be supported by the comment made by the former Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr, Bukola Saraki.
He has this to say; “The deployment of a state institution to fight a personal and partisan battle, particularly with the use of the mass and social media as championed by the EFCC was aimed at inflicting damage to my name, reputation…” (‘Magu Took Senate Rejection Personally, So He Came After Me.’)
Others have taken the position that the suspension and investigation being carried out on the allegations against Magu shows that the Buhari led administration is serious about its fight against corruption and the fight is not painted with malice or partisanship.
On this, the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu said that Nigerians should get prepared as the panel investigating Magu sets to submit reports.
He said; “I am not going to pre-empt the panel investigation but I just advice Nigerians to hold their hearts in their hands. By the time they are done with this job and they come out with the reports prepare yourselves for surprises.”
He continued and said; “I don’t know what will come out but if the sense we are getting from what is being done over there is anything to go by, I think that Nigerians should not be confused by any outburst by anybody.”
Peter Obi, the running mate of the Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general election took the view that the investigation and perhaps the eventual prosecution of Magu is a waste of time and resources (See Peter Obi, ‘Magu’s Ordeal is hurting Nigeria more than Him’).
He said that the fight against corruption should not be made to be an economic policy that thieves can be fought by things done to strengthen and rejig the economy.
However, the former ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, Buba Galadima expresses the view that Magu was dumped after he has been used by the present administration. He refers to the process as mere propaganda.
He said that Magu has been doing the bidding of some powerful people in this government and that he stepped on toes which led to his present predicament.
He stated further that; “His suspension was long overdue. Magu should have been long suspended from office but why it took Buhari’s administration five years to remove him may be a surprise to many Nigerians, but for me, it is not.”
From a careful analysis of what has been expressed by individuals so far, it is safe to say that Magu’s Ordeal is more of a lesson than a mere drama. The reason had been that, like all his predecessors, he was removed from the office. This should serve as a lesson to subsequent persons who will assume such a sensitive and tempting office.
What is left to be known is whether unlike his predecessors, Magu will be made to face the full wrath of the law if found guilty of the allegations against him? Again, this is Nigeria, the whole thing could be a drama that was staged to distract Nigerian’s attention from all the monies that were embezzled during the Covid-19 pandemic and maybe, it is just a way of telling Magu that he who blows the piper, dictates the tune.