The Untold Story of Magu’s ‘Arrest’

Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC is obviously in some sort of trouble. First, on Monday it was reported that he had been arrested by the Directorate of State Service, DSS. But the DSS later issued a statement denying the arrest. It said the anti-corruption boss was not in its custody. Not many people believed that denial, because the DSS had in the past denied arresting people in the past, when in fact its operatives had taken such persons into custody.

However, the statement by Dele Oyewale, spokesman for the EFCC cleared the Service, but gave an indication that the EFCC chairman may probably be in trouble. According to Oyewale, Magu was at the Presidential Villa in Abuja to “honour” an invitation by a ‘Presidential panel reviewing the activities of the EFCC’. The statement added that the embattled EFCC boss was served with the invitation on his way for another meeting at the Force Headquarters. It further stated that an officer of the Commission [apparently the EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs] was with Magu at the Villa.

The statement by the EFCC debunked the story of arrest of Magu. But it confirmed that the acting EFCC chairman was served an invitation to appear before a panel at the Presidential Villa on the road. Those who also served that invitation in transit convinced him to forgo the meeting at the Force headquarters for the one at the Villa for an unscheduled meeting.

That happened shortly after Abubakar Malami, attorney general and minister of Justice reportedly sent a memo to President Muhammadu Buhari detailing some allegations against the EFCC boss and reportedly suggesting he be replaced. Malami was reported to have claimed that Magu was not “transparent in the management of recovered assets.” Perhaps the ‘invitation’ to the Villa was meant to afford Magu the opportunity to speak to the allegations? It is also not clear yet what the meeting at the Force headquarters was about? It was not immediately clear if the meeting was also in connection with the issues raised at the Villa panel. The blockade of the EFCC chairman in the traffic in Abuja on Monday, and the diversion to the Villa for somewhat of a probe raise more questions than have been answered. Is the anti-corruption war of President Buhari in crisis? Did Magu compromise his commission in the course of his duties? Are powerful people under the EFCC lens fighting back? Perhaps the authorities will clarify the events of Monday to assure Nigerians and the international community, part of which honoured President Buhari for Nigeria’s war on corruption, that the battle to rid the country of graft remains on course.

Ibrahim Magu Photo
Ibrahim Magu
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