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The President , Major General Muhammadu Buhari ( retd .) , on Monday , assured Nigerians of their safety as he condemned the latest attacks on villages in Kaduna State by bandits, leaving many dead .
Houses and farmlands were also set ablaze .
Buhari said he was saddened by the killings , but added that his regime would step up ongoing security operations to end such attacks.
Media reports indicated on Monday that about 51 lives were lost when the attackers reportedly invaded four villages in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State on Sunday.
The villages listed included Marina , Zareyawa and Kerewa .
“From reports received, it is obvious that these bandits are unleashing their fury and frustration on innocent people because of the ongoing military and police offensive against them in the Birnin Gwari and Kaduru forests ,” a State House statement by Buhari ’s media aide, Mr Garba Shehu, said Monday night .
It added , “The criminals cannot be lucky always ; we are determined to frustrate and defeat them , and no matter how long they run or where they hide , they would be smoked out and brought to justice .”
The Presidency stated further that the latest attacks were a form of blackmail to force the government to back down from the military operations .
But , it said this would not happen .
“This administration would not be blackmailed by criminals to abandon the current military operations against them .
“ President Buhari assures the people of Kaduna State and other parts of the country that this government would continue to deploy all available resources to fight these cold-hearted bandits with a view to bringing them to their knees .
“These criminals should make no mistake that they can establish a reign of terror on the people without feeling the full might of the government which was elected to protect the citizen ”, it stated .
Buhari commiserated with the families of the victims and the survivors .

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Magu: Panel Demands Politicians’ Files From 2015 •May Examine 106 Names Released In 2017

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The presidential panel probing the suspended acting chairman of the Economic c and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has reportedly demanded the files of Politically Exposed Persons (PEP) handled by the commission since 2015.

The detained Commissioner of Police was appointed in an acting capacity by President Muhammadu Buhari on November  9, 2015, and was arrested on Monday 6 July 2020 to answer questions bordering on corruption and insubordination.

The panel, which has been grilling Magu since he was arrested, has also reportedly summoned departmental heads of the commission and other witnesses some of who appeared before it on Thursday and Friday.

A competent security source told Saturday Tribune on Friday that the decision of the panel to check the books of Magu from the beginning of his headship of the commission five years ago coupled with the search conducted on his Abuja residence on Tuesday were pointers to a possible the decision to prosecute or detain him indefinitely.

“You know when we start searching for houses and demanding to see old and new files, we are looking for evidence to prosecute and detain legally. That is it. He may appear in court soon after the panel submits its report or he will be kept in a hat we call protective custody just as was done to Sambo Dasuki,” the source said.

The source spoke as it was disclosed on Friday that Magu has written a letter to the Inspector General of Police demanding that he be granted bail.

Also on Friday, President Buhari finally announced his the decision to place Magu on suspension while the next most senior operative in the commission was asked to take over in acting capacity. Under Magu’s leadership, t h e commission h a s investigated tens of former public office holders, including the sacked Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen; a  sacked Head of Service, Mrs Winifred Oyo Ita; former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; former First Lady, Mrs Patience  Jonathan; former top military brass, chiefs of the intelligence community and former governors.

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Magu has also been accused of not touching petitions against some leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC), Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Honourable Mudashiru Obasa; and Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje.

The problem between him and the office of the Attorney General of the Federation began over his refusal to avail the occupant of that office, Abubakar Malami (SAN) of the probe files, despite the minister being the statutory supervisor of the commission. The minister openly accused Magu of insubordination then. In his memo that began the current travails for the police officer, the twin issue of insubordination and misconduct formed the pillar of the case against him.

At a point during their rift in September 2017, Magu released a list of 106 persons under alleged corruption probe to the minister’s office. The brickbats resumed after the leak of the list within days of the exchange.

Both parties denied leaking the list to the media. On the list were notable names like Onnoghen and Ayodele Fayose, who is facing trial. Others were the incumbent governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, and his predecessor, Captain Idris Wada; former Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, now Minister of Niger Delta; former Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State, who is now facing trial; former Governor Ali Modu Sherriff of Borno State and former Governor Lucky Igbinedion of Edo State.

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Expectedly, Dame Patience Jonathan, the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, was listed alongside some ministers who served in her husband’s administration.

Nearly all the former ministers are now on trial. Former ministers on the list included Mrs Diezani Alison-M a dueke, Mr Mohammed Adoke (SAN), Bala Mohammed, who is now governor of Bauchi State; Mrs Stella Oduah and Godsday Orubebe.

Also on the list was a former Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Abdullahi Dikko, who entered into lea bargain; Uche Secondus, now the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); Colonel Bello Fadile (retd.),  who served embattled former  National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki; Justice Abdu Kafarati, who became the Chief judge of the Federal High Court and retired on July  25, 2019, as well as Justice Mohammed Tsamiya, who was eventually sacked by the  National Judicial Council.

The EFCC stated in the document that it was investigating the CJN based on intelligence referred to it on October 12, 16.

After the leakage, Magu said in a statement that he wasn’t probing Onnoghen. However, the commission eventually submitted a  petition and probe report to the National Judicial Council (NJC) against the then-CJN, which was eventually used by the jurist’s colleagues to nail him.

In the document, the commission explained that it received a petition against Fayose, then a sitting governor, on August  3, 2016, but the investigation had been stalled due to alleged lack of cooperation from the Ekiti State government officials. It added that the case against Akpabio was referred to it on May 10, 2016, but had been stalled due too an injunction granted by a High Court of Akwa Ibom State stopping the probe, adding that though the Court of Appeal had set aside from the injunction, the Akwa Ibom State government under Udom Emmanuel had filed an appeal.

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It stated that the cases against Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and his predecessor, Captain Idris Wada was referred to the EFCC on September 29, 2016, and April 16, 2016, respectively. The case against Patience Jonathan alongside Ariwabu Aruera Reachout Foundation was referred red to the commission on September 26, 2016, while  Oduah’s was on April 5, 2016.

According to the commission, Sherriff became a subject of the probe following an intelligence report received on  October 10, 2016, while the petition against Diezani was received on June 20, 2016, and the one against her husband on  January 14, 2016. Magu had told the Attorney General than that Justice  Kafarati’s case file was with him.

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Magu writes Salami panel, speaks on allegations, makes demands

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The suspended boss of Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, has complained about the “unfortunate” handling of his investigation for alleged corruption, saying he has consequently been “paraded like a common criminal”.

Mr Magu, 58, was arrested in Abuja on Monday by a team of police officers, who dragged him to the State House to appear before the Justice Ayo Salami-led Presidential Investigative Committee.

As NAIJASURF now understands, with documents obtained by PREMIUM TIMES , the police officers were led by an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Gabriel Elaigwu. They acted on the instruction of the investigative committee.

The police team held a letter from the committee telling Mr Magu he had featured “prominently” in certain offences and that “the need to obtain clarification from you has become very urgent and necessary.”

President Muhammadu Buhari set up the committee, chaired by Mr Salami, a retired Justice, to investigate alleged mismanagement of recovered assets by the EFCC between May 2015 and May 2020.

A petition by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, who announced Mr Magu’s suspension on Friday, is believed to have triggered the investigation.

Since Monday, Mr Magu, originally a police officer, has been in detention at the Force Criminal Investigation Department’s Area 10 Abuja headquarters from where he had throughout the week been appearing before the investigators sitting at the State House. The investigative committee is set up based on the Tribunals of Inquiry Act, a government statement said on Friday.

Not given petitions against him

However, speaking through his lawyer, Wahab Shittu, in a letter directed to the investigative committee on Friday, Mr Magu said he had not seen the petitions containing the allegations against him, nor had the committee availed him with their terms of reference.

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“Mr Chairman, since the 6th of July when our client honoured your invitation, he has been consistently applying to the Committee to be given the petitions containing the allegations of CONSPIRACY, CORRUPT ENRICHMENT, ABUSE OF POWER/OFFICE, which request has not been honoured or obliged till date,” read the letter, seen by PREMIUM TIMES.

“Our client has also informed us that he remains unaware of the terms of reference of this distinguished Committee.”

The letter also related Mr Magu’s discomfort with his continued detention at the FCID “without being informed of the allegations against him and the deserved opportunity to timeously study and respond to same.”

The letter further contained a complaint that, “witnesses are called and examined by the Committee behind his back and without allowing him and counsel of his choice to participate in the proceedings involving these witnesses.”

“Common criminal”

He said he had been a target of campaigns of calumny by the media taking advantage of his detention to spread damaging, false and prejudicial allegations.

Among such “unfounded allegations which never featured in the proceedings of the Committee thus far,” the letter said, were that Mr Magu gave Vice President Yemi Osinbajo four billion naira (an allegation Mr Osinbajo has denied); that he ran secret accounts; procured cronies to front for him;, and that he acquired properties in Dubai.

“These campaigns of calumny have greatly affected the morale of our client and damaged his hard earned reputation and that of the Commission (EFCC),” the letter read.

“It continued, “that our client as a result of this campaign of calumny has been paraded like a common criminal and subjected to all manners of insults and embarrassment just for serving his nation diligently and efficiently as the arrow-head of the anti-corruption campaign of this administration.

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“This unfortunate development is happening even before the determination of the petitions before this Honourable Committee with prejudicial consequences.”

“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 and also most of the allegations

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.”

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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 told PREMIUM TIMES, 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.

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