Coming on board as the Chairman of the foremost anti-corruption agency in the world at a critical time in Nigeria’s history, Ibrahim Mustafa Magu has become an enigma whose story of commitment, loyalty and patriotism to God, continent and country unborn generations will continue to tell, writes MESHACK TONY IDEHEN.
For a man whose accomplishments as the world most famous anti-corruption czar continues to baffle even his most ardent his critics, Ibrahim Mustafa Magu, the Chairman of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), surely has his name firmly etched on the golden sands of time.
Magu came in and took the challenge against Africa’s most deadly virus of corruption and economic crimes head on; doing so at a time when many Nigerians and the international community have almost given up hope of redeeming the continent and Nigeria in particular from the curses and effects of the scourge of corruption and economic crimes.
However, Ibrahim Magu, less than three years after is now a household name around the world, as the mere mention of his name is now enough to send shivers of fears and trepidations down the spines of the present and potentially corrupt.
Recently named the World’s Best Anti-Corruption Champion by United Kingdom based Global Peace Movement International and recognized by the African Union and the Commonwealth of Nations as an international model in combating corruption and economic crimes, Magu indeed will a reference point for his work in the decades to come.
WHAT MAKES MAGU TICKS?
Since the creation of EFCC more than a decade ago, and with three past chairmen to boot, the commission has yet to receive the kind of accolades it is been receiving under the current chairman, which naturally brings the question to mind, what makes Ibrahim Magu ticks?
Dr Mike Uyi who is the President of Global Peace Movement International (UK), and whose campaign for good governance, human rights and anti-corruption has taken him round the world, put it succinctly when asked what makes the EFCC Chairman ticks?
“Under Ibrahim Mustafa Magu”, says Dr Mike Uyi, simply, “the EFCC has recovered more loot since its establishment”.
That simple phrase, indeed captures what the EFCC is focused on, which is actualizing the corruption free Nigeria mandate of President Muhammadu Buhari, agreed Dr Queen Enyogai, a Nigerian American, when asked about why she thinks Ibrahim Magu ticks.
“Whatever anyone may think though, it is an undeniable record that Magu’s achievements as EFCC chairman have out-shined those of his predecessors that includes Nuhu Ribadu, Farida Waziri and Ibrahim Lamorde”, she insisted.
According to Dr Mike Uyi, “Ibrahim Magu has achieved so much in terms of recovery of looted funds and properties in the past two years more than was achieved in the last 12 years of the existence of the commission. Under him, every government official is under investigation, because the deadly virus of corruption which gave rise to the anti-corruption fight embarked upon by the President Buhari-led government is total and geared towards bringing the nation’s economy back on a sound footing”.
According to the Global Peace Movement President, Magu is the only EFCC chairman that has gone ahead to create the department of internal affairs in the commission just to check corruption suspicions amongst staff, and charged with the responsibility of vetting intending staff, investigating staff, receiving petitions from the public concerning staff and making sure all members of the staff are men of integrity,
Are those achievements not enough to make the EFCC Chairman tick? Dr Mike Uyi questioned, adding even other countries are coming to learn from EFCC how its done as seen from the recent visits of the Pakistanis, Ghana amongst others.
Irum Bakhari, who recently led a delegation to Magu from Pakistan had said, “We are here because we are interested in learning from the EFCC. We want to know your composition, your success stories, the laws that govern your activities as we are also striving very much in our country to fight corruption, extremism and terrorism.
MONETARY VALUE OF RECOVERIES
In 2017 alone, EFCC) recovered about N511.9 billion in naira, pounds, dollars, euro, South African rand and dirham currency denominations.
These recoveries include the recovery of N329 billion from petroleum marketers by the commission’s Kano Office, N32billion and $5million to the Federal Government from the former minister of petroleum resources, as well as another N449 million discovered at Legico Plaza on Victoria Island, Lagos.
Another sum of $43million was discovered in an apartment at Osborne Towers in Ikoyi, Lagos; recovery of over N27.7 billion from banks; Nigerian Ports Authority recovery of over €6.6 million, recovery of N1.1 billion naira on behalf of AMCON, and the recovery of subsidy fraud funds of over N4 billion.
“It takes only a man totally committed to eradicating corruption not to be tempted by these huge recoveries”, Dr Uyi added., saying EFCC under Magu is the number one in Africa and the 11th Best Anti-Corruption agency in the world.
“There is no gang up or conspiracy in the world that can stop or erase that reality”, the global peace movement international president said”, pointing out It is a testimonial of achievements as the EFCC raises the bar in convictions secured; looted funds recovered and retain status as an agency to be reckoned with, locally and internationally.
He said the anti-graft agency has, undoubtedly, altered the narrative of criminal prosecution in Nigeria, and set a standard for law enforcement agencies, within and outside of the country, saying what drives the EFCC Chairman is the passion to do what is right by ensuring that corruption is brought to a standstill in this country.
EVER EXPANDING PARTNERHIPS
The EFCC under Magu has continued to expand the frontiers of Nigeria’s anti-corruption fight. Recently, Canada’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Christopher Thornley, expressed the resolve of the Canadian government, to partner with the EFCC, in order to better represent itself in the global fight against corruption.
Canada said they have monitored Magu’s activities, and his commendable efforts in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
Same with the Chinese government. L.I. Xiaohong, Director at Vice-Minister Level of the Office of the Central Leading Group for Inspection Tours of the Communist Party of China (CPC), said they have heard a lot about Magu’s efforts in the fight against corruption and commended him for his doggedness in ensuring that he kicks corruption out of Nigeria.
Apart from Global Peace Movement International. Media Against Impunity Nigeria, Organized Labour and Civil Society Groups have all found reason to support the fight against corruption, due to the proactive strides that Ibrahim Magu has brought to bear in the campaign.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations, (FBI), the United Kingdom, UK Metropolitan Police, and the Department of Justice, among other international law enforcement agencies have aided the war against corruption in foreign jurisdictions, due to the commitment consistently displayed by the EFCC boss.
“The EFCC has expanded its operational reach in the country, with the aim of reaching out to the grassroots, and to galvanize all segments of the society to own the anti-corruption crusade. From six offices in Abuja, Lagos, Enugu, Kano, Gombe, and Port Harcourt; four new offices have been added – Ibadan, Kaduna, Edo, and Akwa Ibom, Dr Enyogai explained.
These collaboration and partnerships that Magu has put in place and which is evidently yielding results is because the EFCC Chairman is humble and humane enough to acknowledge that the EFCC alone cannot win the war as no one one has the monopoly of knowledge on how the battle can be fought and won.
“We must all come together and strike a common consensus on how to confront and defeat this monster called corruption,” Magu always said.
For Magu, the EFCC is determined not to rest on its oars, because, “we believe there is still a lot to be done”, even though, “we have reached a level where nobody can stop us in the fight against corruption.