by Yusuf ALLI, Managing Editor, Northern Operation
A fresh plot to remove the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu,is alleged to be in the making.
The alleged plotters include at least five state governors and four ministers, The Nation learnt authoritatively yesterday.
A former security chief is said to be central to the plan to give Magu what is termed the Nuhu Ribadu treatment, well placed sources said.
The plan, specifically, is to send the EFCC chair on a forced course at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) on or before the conclusion of the coming elections.
But some government officials who believe Magu is doing a good job at the EFCC and should be encouraged are rallying to ensure that he is not pushed out.
They want to prevail on President Muhammadu Buhari not to give in to the pressure from the governors.
According to findings, the Magu-must go forces are angry that all steps so far taken to prevail on Buhari to sack Magu have failed.
It was gathered that at a session last week in Abuja, the alleged plotters came up with the option of sending Magu on course ,the same way the pioneer Chairman of the EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, was eased out of the system.
Some of the governors involved in the plot will be completing their second term in office in May.
They are said to be afraid of facing trial after their tenure on the strength of petitions against them.
A few governors cited in the London-Paris Club refunds scandal and some members of the National Assembly have also been implicated in the new step.
One of the governors is alleged to have bragged to make Magu’s ouster his last assignment before leaving power.
Investigation showed that Magu’s removal may affect Nigeria’s status as the chair of the Commonwealth Conference of Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Africa.
A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The latest move was provoked by the ongoing high-profile investigations which the EFCC is handling. Those concerned felt they will no longer be in power as from May 29 and they do not want to take things for granted.
“Some of them claimed that with Magu’s dossiers on them, the President may not be able to spare them the agony of undergoing trial.
“Five governors in connivance with some members of the National Assembly, about two to three ministers under searchlight and a top government official met and came up with the idea of a course for Magu.
“In fact, one of the governors said his major goal is just to get rid of Magu before leaving office because he does not want to face trial over the London-Paris Club refund. The governor was neck deep in the fraud and he has been begging the group seeking Magu’s sack to see it through at all cost.
“Once it gets presidential approval, their plan is that the Director of Operations of EFCC, Umar Abba, will initially be put in charge as a camouflage before bringing in a new chairman for the anti-graft agency. Abba is the engine room of the ongoing operations in the EFCC and a trusted ally of Magu.
“They are already shopping for amenable hands that will be in charge of the commission. The role of the co-opted members of the National Assembly is to facilitate lobbying for the confirmation of a favoured candidate.
But there are concerns that the sack of Magu might affect Nigeria’s status as the chair of the Commonwealth Conference of Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Africa.
Those who are pro-Magu in government have launched counter-moves to prevail on the President to retain Magu.
Another source added: “It is against international convention to remove Magu midway into his tenure as the chairman of Commonwealth Conference of Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Africa.
“The President is currently in charge of coordinating anti-corruption war in Africa. The removal of Magu will not augur well for his tenure.
“This is why some government officials have launched counter-moves to prevail on the President not to bow to pressure to send Magu on forced course.”
Credit: The Nation