Urges Buhari not to appoint a police officer as EFCC chair
By Dirisu Yakubu
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Jackson Lekan Ojo, has called on the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio to step aside over allegations of financial recklessness in the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC levelled against him.
Ojo who disclosed this in an exclusive chat with Vanguard in Abuja also said allegations by former Managing Director of the commission, Ms Joy Nunieh that she slapped the minister over an indecent behaviour should be properly investigated.
“Akpabio should not be treated differently from Ibrahim Magu, the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, who was suspended recently over allegations of some wrongdoings.
“The minister should step aside or should be suspended to pave way for a thorough investigation of his alleged financial recklessness in the NDDC. It is only in Nigeria that public office holders would still be carrying on with their jobs when their conduct is called into question.
“Again, the slap he was said to have received should be investigated. What did he ask of the woman to have warranted a hot slap? I was very disappointed with the minister who appeared on television and rather than respond to claims by Nunieh, chose to tell Nigerians that she had been married four times. How is this related to the theme of financial corruption?” he asked.
Mr Ojo also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to look beyond officers of the Nigeria Police Force in picking the next substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
In his opinion, the Nigerian public holds the police institution in low esteem, noting that men in the academics, judiciary and private security network would do well in championing the fight against corruption as head of the foremost anti-graft agency.
A certified member of the International Security Association, Switzerland, Ojo also waded into the travails of Ibrahim Magu, saying there was nothing wrong in the manner he was picked up recently by operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS. According to him, there’s no way of knowing how Magu would have treated a formal invitation to report to the which investigated him.
He said: “I don’t want to see a policeman heading the commission anymore. Let us make use of university dons, security experts with backgrounds in criminology retired DSS personnel or retired Chief Justices. From these people, the President should appoint the head of the EFCC. This is largely because the public has little respect for the police. A lot of Nigerians are not comfortable seeing the police as the head of an agency or commission. This may not be one hundred per cent correct but the majority of Nigerians rate the police low.
“No prophet can accurately tell you what Magu’s action would have been if he knew he was going to be taken to face a panel. If he got a hint at what was about to happen, the night would have been enough for him to devise an escape route. So, the way he was taken was the best way.
“If he knew what was about to happen, an hour is enough for everything to change. He wasn’t bundled into a waiting vehicle, was not handcuffed and he was not beaten. He wasn’t molested. His fundamental human rights were not infringed upon. If the way he was picked is the same way they have been arresting other Nigerians; nobody will complain.”
He urged those politicizing Magu’s ordeal to accord the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, Abubakar Malami some respect, adding that the Minister of Justice has thus far conducted himself with a high level of responsibility and decorum.
He continued: “Unlike many Nigerians that want to politicize issues when someone is suspected to have conducted himself criminally; there is no designated place for such a person to be arrested. Such a person can be arrested at any time, without any hint.
“Ibrahim Magu has not been sentenced; he was only picked up and kept in Police custody and has been released. This was to ensure that he’s denied access to his office for possible manipulation of documents and all that.
“If Abubakar Malami, the AGF and Minister of Justice and Supervisory Minister of the EFCC had any intention to victimize Magu, he won’t come out with a memo. For making this process formal, it means Malami had nothing to hide. I can tell you that Malami is not victimizing this man as some people are alleging,” he added.