Sequel to President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent letters to the Senate on its positions on the nomination of Mr. Ibrahim Magu, acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and demand for the resignation of Mr. Babachir Lawal, as Secretary General of the Federation, SGF, the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL has highlighted the need to identify the differences in the circumstances surrounding the situations.
“There is the imperative need to separate Magu’s case and that of Babachir. This is how we can put the issues in proper perspective so as not to muddle up things in moving forward without compromising the rule of law and logical reasoning. And perhaps, it is the reason the President wrote separate letters on the cases.” Mr Debo Adeniran, Executive Chairman of CACOL said while responding to the separate letters written to the Senate by President on the rejection of his nomination of Magu for EFCC Chairman and the demand for the removal of Babachir as SGF based on allegations of corruption.
He said, “In Babachir’s case, he obviously has a lot to answer for, as far as the allegations against him are concerned, as against the clearance by the President which suggests that he has not been found wanting, the SGF has to step aside to thoroughly clear himself of the misconducts his being accused of.”
“Unlike Magu’s situation, which we can adduce by logical reasoning that it is ‘corruption is fighting back’ we cannot say the same of Babachir because he plays no fundamental role in the fight against corruption. Added to this is that he is being accused of something as grievous and inhuman as tampering with the management of the funds meant for Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs thrown up by the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East. To us, this is almost at the same level of the charges against Dasuki over the arms deal scam in terms of gravity if they are proven to be true.”
“Even the holes the President was reported to have picked in the reasons for demanding for the SGF’s resignation does not hold water given that Babachir never honoured the invitation to from the Senate Committee on the Humanitarian Crisis in the North East to clear explain his role in the IDP funds scam in the first place.”
“It is extremely dangerous and scary to have an element with such baggage occupying the office of the Secretary General to Federation. The situation in the IDP camps have been so terrible, traumatic and unbelievably inhuman that as a country, we must treat anyone that has been found to be linked to the illegalities that have further exacerbated the sufferings of the IDPs in manner that will quickly remove them from public office with the application of necessary punitive. It is disheartening to read a UN recent report which indicated that those in the IDP camps feed only once in a daily stemming from sharp practices perpetrated by officials who diverted funds and materials meant for IDPs.”
Babachir, who oversees the Presidential Initiative for the North East is being accused of owning one of the firms that contracts for the rehabilitation of the North East were awarded to. He was alleged to have resigned as a director with the firm after he became SGF and after the contracts had been executed.
Speaking on Magu, Adeniran said, “it is no gainsaying that Magu has adequately demonstrated the necessary qualities to carry the anti-corruption war to the door-steps of even the ‘untouchables’ in and out of power. He knew he was going to be screened by the Senate but he didn’t get intimidated or daunted in all the cases being prosecuted by the EFCC under him, including the ones involving the Senate President, his wife and many ex-governors who are serving Senators! This is a body he was fully aware he was going to play decisive and crucial roles through its lawful and constitutional oversight functions in terms of the operations of the EFFC and his confirmation as substantive Chairman of the commission.”
“In the face of all this background, what he has only demonstrated is doggedness, courage and commitment in doing his job so far without any sign of cowardice and without caring whose ox is gored. That fact the Department State Security, DSS came up with two conflicting reports betrayed the poorly planned mischief of the incurably corrupt in the senate. Why would the DSS submit the so-called damning report to the Senate, rather than begin where they should have begun, the Executive?
“We therefore call for the immediate confirmation of Magu as substantive chairman of EFCC given that the allegations against him are apparently unfounded, trumped-up and designed to break the speed and momentum of the anti-corruption drive. If that happens, the whole anti-graft war drive goes back to square one which will be a tragedy.”
“As for Babachir, we call for his resignation for the sake of Mr. President himself and his acclaimed anti-corruption stance on hand and on the credibility of the whole anti-corruption drive of his government. Babachir should go and clear his name; he should face the Senate Committee to answer questions as bordering on the allegations against him as required by law. The EFCC and the other relevant agencies should also carry out throughout investigations on the allegations and if grounds are established necessitating prosecution, the SGF must be prosecuted.”
In concluding, Adeniran posited “it is time to use discretion at the level of the Executive and Legislative arms government in the interest of the country itself beyond narrow interests. The President however is saddled with the task demonstrating statecraft in acting given the seemingly confusing situation, for the buck finally stops on his desk! We believe Magu’s confirmation and Babachir’s resignation is the way forward given the existing background.”
Media Coordinator, CACOL
January 25, 2017
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