“Failed integrity test”
Mr Buhari, who rode to power on a promise to fight corruption – which fuels Nigeria’s barely changing development crises – appointed Mr Magu acting EFCC chairman in November 2015 following the removal of Ibrahim Lamorde.
And twice, late 2016 and March 2017, the president requested the Senate to confirm his appointment. On both occasions, Mr Magu was rejected by the Senate, following repeated State Security Service’s reports that he had “failed the integrity test and will eventually be a liability to the anti-corruption fight of the present administration.”
But Mr Buhari brushed aside the SSS’ reports and kept Mr Magu to continue leading the EFCC in acting capacity. Mr Magu had then denied the allegations in the SSS’ reports.
Prayers to the Salami-led committee
Back to his Friday’s letter; Mr Magu, then made seven requests from the committee, including its terms of reference; access to the petitions against him to “enable him study and prepare a robust defence”; intervention of the committee to facilitate his release from the FCID detention; and adequate time to respond to the allegations against him with necessary materials and evidence.
He also sought an opportunity to confront the petitioners with his own defence; and requested that witnesses be examined in his presence and his counsel. He then asked the committee to guarantee “his right to fair hearing including his right to liberty in the course of the proceedings of this distinguished Committee.”
The investigative committee could not be reached to comment on Mr Magu’s complaints as it does not have any known person with a responsibility for public relations role.
In the most likely event of a failure to return to his position, Mr Magu, the fourth chief executive of EFCC, will be leaving the anti-graft agency rather unceremoniously, suffering a similar fate as his three predecessors – Nuhu Ribadu, Farida Waziri, and Ibrahim Lamorde.
The attorney-general, Mr Malami, said in a statement on Friday that Mr Magu’s suspension, approved by Mr Buhari, was to enable an “unhindered” investigation. Mohammed Umar, the director of operations under Mr Magu, has been appointed to act as the chairman of the commission.
Security operatives attached to Mr. Magu’s private and official houses were withdrawn Friday evening, a family source said expressing fears over the safety of the immediate family of the embattled anti-corruption fighter because of “enemies” made in the course of his job.