This analysis examines the issues surrounding the ongoing anti-corruption campaign embarked upon by the EFCC and called for mass enlightenment and strategic support to streghten the fight.

Many analysts have been reacting differently to the exploits by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC under the leadership of Mr. Ibrahim Magu in the ongoing anti-corruption fight.

Of course, most share the view that the job of Mr. Ibrahim Magu, the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commssion (EFCC), is not an enviable one. Fighting corruption in Nigeria is not for the lily-livered; it is for the courageous who are ready to step on powerful toes and damn the consequences. That is why it is often seen as a suicidal patriotic service to the nation. It is probably the most thankless national service any one can render because in this country, corruption is not only massive but generically progressive.

In Nigeria, it is inconceivable to conveniently fight corruption without confronting a boisterously fierce opposition. Opposition here connotes a congregation of political, religious, ethnic and ethical sentiments. Of course, some may be out of genuine concern while others may just be frothing sentiments orchestrated by drowning suspects desperately looking for a straw to hold.

Basically, there are three schools of thought that are sharply divided on this issue. The first is the school that contends that the fight is selective targeting only members of the opposition parties or those perceived as the enemies of President Muhammadu Buhari administration. The second school is concerned with the legal bases for the EFCC’s operations saying that the commission often steps outside its powers in carrying out its mandate.

The third category takes a radical position that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the operational strategy of the Magu-led EFCC because every EFCC management is answerable to the policy direction of the government in power, just as witnessed during the PDP days. Kicking against politicising the anti-graft war, it maintains that owing to the fact that corrupt politicians, the judiciary and lawyers always have a way of manipulating the law to wriggle themselves out of the law and justice, it is impossible to fight corruption successfully by restricting the EFCC to the boundary of its mandate.

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It is evident that while there is no perfect system in the present Nigerian government, there are wide range of views that the EFCC under the leadership of Mr. Ibrahim Magu, deserves commendation rather than scathing attacks.. While many criticise the EFCC’s current anti-corruption fight, the radical school insists that for any one to successfully criticise the EFCC under Magu’s leadership, such a person should answer the following questions: Has Magu’s EFCC been rightly instilling fear into corrupt public servants, politicians and individuals against corrupt acts or not? Are there evidences that those being arrested have any case to answer on account of allegations leveled against them to warrant their arrest?

Does the EFCC have any evidence against them or not? Did the previous government fight corruption without similar criticism as Magu is currently experiencing or not? Did the previous governments perform better than this government in the anti-graft campaign? These are some of the questions being asked by observers.

From the governments of former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’adua to Goodluck Jonathan, the EFCC was respectively accused as biased, selective and protective of many corrupt individuals under incumbent power. The next chairman of the commission will still face accusation of selective justice and many more sins.

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Recently, Citizens Media and Defelopment Network (CIMEDEN), a non-partisan public policy, social development, community services and media advocacy organisation, a platform made up of senior editors and policy analysts, took a position on the current anti-corruption fight by the present administration. Different national dailies reported CIMEDEN’s position stating that the President Buhari and of course, the EFCC, should be commended for the dogged against corruption in the country.

According to a report of Public Policy Monitoring Unit, a special unit of CIMEDEN, it commended President Muhammadu Buhari and Ibrahim Magu “for the administration’s dogged fight against corruption and corrupt elements in the country (and urged it) to sustain it with courage and resilience in order to make Nigeria a corruption-free society.

“The anti-corruption agencies of the Federal Government are also tasked to extend their dragnets beyond former political office holders to bankers, contractors, self-acclaimed business tycoons and others who are connected to any corrupt act against the nation. Well-meaning Nigerians are solidly behind the president and he is thus urged to continue the fight with vigour without fear, favour, political affiliation, or bias of any kind, irrespective of the person/s involved. Citizens Media Development Network (CIMEDEN) acknowledges the successes so far recorded by President Buhari’s anti-corruption efforts and appeals to well-meaning Nigerians to support the campaign”, the report stated.

The report further added that “CIMEDEN urges the Federal Government to ignore all negative and political campaigns against the anti-corruption drive to clean the polity of the huge negative effects of corruption on Nigeria’s economy and development as well as international image”.

However, CIMEDEN tasked the federal government and anti-corruption agencies to “adhere strictly to operational due process to ensure that it prosecutes the war against corruption within the limits of the law without prejudice or whatsoever, promising that its members and it’s allied network partners would be mobilised Nigerians through intensive sensitisation to support the Buhari war against corruption which the EFCC is paying key roles”.

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One of the major factors that made Nigerian voters to root for President Muammadu Buhari was anchored on the fact that only him has the courage to fight against corruption that has eaten deep into the Nigerian system. To achieve that, he needs the EFCC, but not without it’s challenges.

One of the unfortunate problems facing the fight against corruption by the EFCC is undue politicisation of the campaign which has made it appear as if Magu is fighting personal battles rather than national service. A lot of sentiments have been expressed by different parties each time the EFCC or any investigating arm of government begins to probe into the activities of other arms of government such as the Legislature and Judiciary.

Daily, Nigerians wake up to nauseating headlines of how many billions on Naira the EFCC has recovered from suspected public treasury looters.. It is mind-boggling that at the time that Nigerians are trapped in hard-biting economic recession that has pushed millions of families to existential edge, few public officers and individuals have multi-million dollars they cannot finish spending in ten successive generations starched inside safe holes and other decrepit buildings.

There were reports last year how agents of government invaded a farm belonging to a former top public officer and discovered caches of money buried in the ground. For the present anti-corruption drive to be successful, there is a need therefore for mass sensitisation to mobilise Nigerians to support the anti-graft agencies.


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