By Remy Oyeyemi
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) led by Mr. Ibrahim Magu is engaged in a game. And it is a game of deceit. It is a game of duplicity. It is a game of treachery against the people of Nigeria. It is a game that would eventually have high costs for his masters. It is a game that would also be costly for the polity of Nigeria. It is a dangerous game. Without any doubt, it is a political game. But this is a different genre of political game with deadly dimensions.
First, it was N49 million found at the Kaduna Airport. The EFCC in a statement by its spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren noted that “the bags were left unattended to and without tags.” The PUNCH newspaper reported that the bags “were found to contain crispy naira notes with seals purportedly emanating from the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting PLC seen on the sacks.” According to Ibrahim Bappah, the money sacks were discovered at the baggage check-in at the Kaduna International Airport “ready to be taken out of the country.”
Now the question is this, what kind of investigation is this? Is this not planted money by the EFCC? In an Airport with security camera, how come there were no recordings of those who brought in the bags of money? If the money was a “proceed of crime,” would the objective not be to catch the criminals? How about monitoring the sack from a safe distance to see who comes in to take it (they call it surveillance) and have him arrested to explain the source of the money?
How is it possible for someone to bring such large amount of money into the Airport for whatever purposes and leave it unattended? Was the owner of the money tipped off that EFCC was on the way so that he could run away and abandon the money? What really is the true position of things? Since then what has EFCC done investigative wise? What update does EFCC have for Nigerians?
Then it was the N.5 billion found stashed in a shop 64 with a Bureau De Change signage at LEGICO Shopping Plaza, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos. The money was reportedly stashed in several Ghana-Must-Go bags and was in N500 and N1000 denominations. And further questions remained again: What is the explanation of the EFCC for not putting surveillance on the shop? What did EFCC do to identify and locate the owner of the shop? Was EFCC able to interview the landlord before making this public?
Or was the intention of the EFCC to ensure that the owner never came forward to claim the money? What makes the EFCC think that the owner would show up after the place has been raided, even if the money was legitimate in the climate that pervades Nigeria presently? What due diligence did EFCC do? What investigation has EFCC done since that incident? Any update for Nigerians? None.
And next….! In an apartment in Ikoyi, the EFCC reportedly discovered $38 millio, N23 million and 27,000 pounds. All the pictures of the monies showed that it has not gone through many hands. It was neatly arranged. And the questions again: Who is the owner of the property? Who is the owner of the apartment? Did the so-called whistleblower not identify the owner of the money for EFCC? How come the owner was not caught unaware? Was he tipped off by the EFCC or the whistleblower? How did the whistleblower know that the money was there? Was he or she complicit in any manner? Or the motive was to escape the wrath of the law by squealing on the owner?
Either way, the EFCC ought to have a culprit to prosecute, unless this is a game to confuse Nigerians, mislead them and divert their attention from pressing issues of poverty facing them from the incompetence of this Mohammadu Buhari’s administration. How come no one has been identified as the owner of the money? How come the source of information was so incomplete? How come there was no surveillance to see who goes into and comes out of that building and the particular apartment? What rapport, if any, did the EFCC have with the owner of the property as part of their investigation?
The building has to belong to somebody. The apartment has to belong to somebody. The Shop 64 has to belong to somebody. The Airport in Kaduna had to have security camera that could reveal the smugglers of the money found. How come we do not have answers to these questions? Is this not a stunt being pulled on Nigerians? Is Magu engaged in a game of grand deceit of Nigerians?
If this is not a game, what kind of investigation do you call this? Is this just an issue of incompetence? Or Magu and his men are engaged in their own form of corruption? What exactly is going on?
Yes, Nigerians want to fight corruption. But obviously, this is not the way to do it. Magu is patently incompetent. He does not know what he is doing. He is not investigating anything. He is not prosecuting anyone. He is an egomaniac. He only wants publicity through grandstanding. Honest, sincere and credible investigations are not done via the media. Prosecutions are not done in the media but in the courts. He is only playing on the desire of Nigerians to get rid of corruption and catch the thieves. But Magu is betraying Nigeria and Nigerians. He is doing nothing.
I do not know how you justify two years on a job without any evidence of productivity. How do you justify a war on corruption that has not convicted a single person in two years? And this is despite reported overwhelming evidence against some of the accused? How do you justify a war on corruption that is selective, unbalanced and inequitable? How do you justify a war on corruption that is unfocused? How do you justify the competence of a Commission that spends so much resource without any result?
To make matters worse, Magu and if EFCC do not even know how much they have recovered! Haba! For Eledumare’s sake, how can you retrieve money from looters and not keep account for the people? How could you not have proper records of what you have collected and where the loots are located? Are the retrieved monies in the EFCC offices in Abuja? Or Are they deposited in the Central Bank? If the looted monies are deposited in the Central Bank, why not publish the records for the public to see and convinced the country that you are honest and dilligent?
Why the secrecy about the retrieved loots? How much has been collected and from whom? Why is the records not made available to Nigerians? So, after all, this is a fake anti corruption war? Is this EFCC not a vehicle of political vendetta? Is EFCC meeting the expectations of the Nigerians fatigued about corruption? Is this not a game being played? Is this not a script being acted out?
It is time to stop this deadly game that Magu is playing on behalf of his masters with the psyche of Nigerians. We may all not be smart, but we are not all idiots. It is time to shove Magu aside. There is need for a more competent hand. Or we should just forget the whole anti corruption war altogether. No use deceiving ourselves.
“In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.”
– John F. Kennedy, in his Inaugural Address January 20, 1961
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