Olufemi Atoyebi, Ibadan
Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, said on Monday that more than 150 individuals were tried and convicted by the EFCC between January and July 2018.
He stressed that the commission would not respect the status or political affiliation of anyone found guilty of corrupt practice.
Magu spoke in Ibadan during a stakeholders’ interactive session held with labour unions, religious leaders and community leaders at the Ibadan office of the commission on Monday.
According to him, 99 per cent of Nigerians are suffering because of the corrupt practices of about one per cent of the population, saying that the EFCC was committed to ensuring that bad eggs in the society must leave the system.
Magu also reacted to insinuation that the agency was selective in its corruption fight, saying, “We are not partisan in EFCC; people try to drag us into politics but we do not align with any political party. All we are saying is that corruption must be removed from our system. Corrupt people must go. If you are not corrupt, whichever parties you belong to, you are welcome. You must be ready to serve the people of Nigeria, not your pocket.
“It does not matter if you are related to a minister or anyone in government. Last week, a personal assistant to a minister was in our cell for three days and we are still investigating. We will prosecute the guilty ones; so, it is not true that you will go free if you are related to a minister. In EFCC, case never dies because justice must prevail. Between January and July this year, we have convicted more than 150 people. It is the best anyone can do within that period.”
While calling on Nigerians to stop glorifying corrupt people in the society, the EFCC boss said he was not satisfied with the airstrip of the airport in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, saying it was one of the direct products birthed by corruption.
Magu said, “President Buhari said that if we did not kill corruption, corruption would kill us. This is a stakeholders’ summit against corruption. Nigerians must take ownership of the fight because we cannot do it alone. As stakeholders, you can criticise us to make us work better.
“We should not appreciate or glorify corrupt people. When I arrived at the Ibadan airstrip on Sunday, I complained bitterly about the airstrip. This is caused by corruption; so corruption has so many devastating effects.”
The EFCC boss noted that while the media was a corruption fighting agent, it was unfortunate that many journalists worked without being paid by their employers.
“Corruption-driven journalism must be driven out of Nigeria. Journalists are corruption hunters but why should somebody work without being paid salaries? There are media houses that are not paying journalists. We are fighting corruption in the interest of Nigerians. These corrupt people are less than one per cent of Nigeria’s population. We are more than 180 million in population,” he added.
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