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.
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 anticorruption
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

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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.
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, selfacclaimed
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

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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”.
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 anticorruption
drive to be successful, there
is a need therefore for mass sensitisation
to mobilise Nigerians to support the antigraft
agencies..

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