Indications at the Presidency may have sealed any hope of recalling the suspended acting chairman of the anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, a Commissioner of Police (CP). He was suspended on July 7, 2020, on allegations of official corruption.
In order to justify his suspension, Malami instituted a probe panel headed by retired Justice Ayo Salami. Magu is being accused of sharp practices while he held sway at EFCC. But Magu is accusing his accusers of exercising vendetta, on him claiming innocence.
Saturday INDEPENDENT discrete investigations authoritatively revealed that the Director of Operations Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Mohammed Umar, who on July 10, 2020, was directed by the Presidency to act in the stead of Magu may eventually be redeployed out of the commission.
Subsequently, the Presidency is still scouting for a more credible officer to head the agency.
But various interest groups at Aso Rock are said to be at loggerheads on who to recommend to President Muhammadu Buhari for the plum job. The internal logjam may prolong the announcement of who to head the commission.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami is said to have his choice of candidate.
However, the Chief of Staff to the president, Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari is also said to have a candidate. Similarly, the National Security Adviser (NSA) is believed to have a candidate.
In the same vein, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu, as well as one of the northern governors, are said to have different candidates.
Apart from the known top government officials who are said to be lobbying for their various candidates, the president’s wife, Mrs Aisha Buhari is also believed to have soft spot for a former Military Administrator from Adamawa State.
Our investigations further revealed that, shortly after Magu was suspended, and it became clear that the presidency was scouting for his replacement, over 14 different names were forwarded to Aso Rock for consideration.
They include a top female member of the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State, who is married to a Rivers State’s man.
Others in the long list forwarded to the Aso Rock include a Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), an Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG), both from the northern part of the country, who retired last month, and a retired Commissioner of Police (CP) from the South-West who once headed the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the police.
Similarly, CP Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Bala Ciroma was said to have lately joined the list. His candidature was said to have been top of the list of others. It was rife that his name was being announced prompting several calls to his mobile line congratulating him in advance. But shockingly, the presidency announced DCP Umar to act temporarily.
Discrete investigations by Saturday INDEPENDENT last week revealed that there is still intense lobby to clinch the EFCC chairman position.
One of those being lobbied is a retired Brigadier General from the north, who is said to be very close to President Buhari.
Our investigations also revealed that, recently, the Curricular Vitae of one of the candidates from the South was perused by Malami.
He was quoted as saying that, “with what I have seen in this CV if I have my way, I will recommend this candidate to the President because his CV shows that he is more credible than the rest.”
Malami was however quoted as regretting that, “unfortunately, I am not the only one. There are others who also have their candidates.”
Our investigations also reveal that the presidency is being pressured not to consider any candidate from the southern part of the country, for the anti-graft job.
It was not immediately known the reason why the pressure against a southern candidate is being mounted. It will be recalled that the first person to head the EFCC was retired AIG Nuhu Ribadu from Adamawa State.
He was appointed as a serving Deputy Commissioner of Police, followed by retired AIG Mrs Farida Waziri from Benue State and married to a Gombe State’s man.
Ribadu’s Director of Operations, AIG Ibrahim Lamorde from Adamawa State took over from Waziri. Ibrahim Magu also from the north took over from Lamorde.
A senior officer from the southern part of the country, who pleaded anonymity, frowned at how southerners are not considered for sensitive positions.
The officer, giving credence to his belief, cited late Mrs Dora Akunyili from the eastern part of the country, who headed National Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and performed creditably well.
“Mrs Dora Akunyili was an Igbo woman. Ordinarily, she would not have been given the NAFDAC job, because it is believed that Igbo people are more into drug business and she could be compromised. But she did not, rather, she did a perfect job,” he buttressed his argument.