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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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Abass Sulaiman Adegoke, well known as Adegoke is a student of Federal Polytechnic Ede studying Civil Engineering, He is a media enthusiast, loves traveling, and has a special interest in personal development.

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Nigerian govt spends N14bn on N-Power, school feeding in Jigawa

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The Federal Government has, in 16 cycles’ disbursement, spent N9.074billion on Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) and another N5.178billion on School Feeding Programme from inception in 2017 till date in Jigawa.

Bala Chamo, the state Coordinator, Social Investments Programme (SIP), who made this known at a news conference in Dutse on Saturday said the N9.074 billion was spent in nine local government areas.

The state coordinator also said that arrangement had been concluded for the payment of the newly enrolled beneficiaries of N-Power programme from the remaining 18 local government areas of the state.

He expressed optimism that the newly enrolled beneficiaries should be receiving credit alerts for their first payment from Tuesday, Aug. 11.

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Mr Chamo said that the N9.074 billion was used as payment of stipends in 29 months to 728,367 beneficiaries from its inception in August/September 2017 up till March/April 2020.

On School Feeding Programme, he said N6 billion had been spent to provide lunch meals to pupils in primary classes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 pupils in the state.

He said this was funded jointly by both the Federal and the state government.

Mr Chamo said N5.178 billion was released by the Federal Government for the feeding of pupils in primaries 1, 2 and 3 classes for 168 days from its inception on Nov. 27, 2017.

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The state coordinator added that the state government also supported the Federal Government by providing N878million for the feeding of pupils in primaries 4,5 and 6 classes which brought the total to N6billion.

Mr Chamo said 441,057 pupils were fed in primaries 1,2 and 3 classes from November 2017 to July 2019.

He said that 434,995 pupils of primaries 4, 5 and 6 classes were also fed during the period under review across the 27 local government areas, adding that the pupils fed combined were from no less than 2,000 schools.

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Obaaseki vs Ize-Iyamu: INEC speaks on postponing Edo election

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has announced that it will not postpone the date of the Edo State governorship election slated for September 19.

National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, said the commission will not be disturbed by the threats of violence by political parties and candidates.

He added that candidates and parties participating in the election have been warned against compromising the electoral process by inviting violence, the Nation reports.

Festus said, “INEC has warned that it will halt the electoral process if the parties resort to violence.

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“The commission has met over the matter and warned that we will not allow any act of violence. But that does not mean that we are shifting the poll”.

The Commission warned that it may have to summon the candidates and their parties for immediate meeting.

“We are carefully monitoring what is happening in Edo State and also in Ondo. We will be meeting on Sunday and given the urgency of the situation in Edo State, we may have to immediately call a meeting of not just the candidates and the political parties but also the Campaign Councils,” he added.

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