Magu invitation: fear grips Itse Sagay

July 7, 2020
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The configuration of activities in top offices in Nigeria since the arrest of the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, by the Department of Security Service (DSS)  tend to indicate that several principal officers have reason to panic in the new dispensation of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration in the past few months. The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), known for his quick vociferous protest of any anti-Buhari or anti-Magu issue, appears to be cautiously fretting after Magu was on Monday issued invitation by a Presidential Investigation Panel and subsequently detained. Accordingly, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) speedily denied any involvement in the seeming emotional statement issued  by Prof. Femi Odekunle, a member of PACAC,  on the invitation and detention of Ibrahim Magu, EFCC Acting Chairman, at the Presidential Villa in Monday.

Professor Femi Odekunle, member, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), had a preliminary reaction of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) to the alleged ‘arrest’ of Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), attempted to divert attention from the substantive allegations that led to the invitation of Magu to the State House, Abuja, for investigation, declared that the arrest of Magu seems an outcome of power-play by power blocs in the corridors of power in which Malami appears to be an arrow-head or major agent of a power bloc that is not really interested in, or in support of, Buhari’s anti-corruption fight. Prof. Odekunle had maintained that the position of PACAC is that while Magu, or any official of whatever status, must be nailed if found to be corrupt, the President must be careful not to shoot its anti-corruption fight/modest achievements in the foot, and not to forget that EFCC under Magu has been the Administration’s anti-corruption poster-face. “It may not be contestable that Malami has been exploiting his alleged loyalty and closeness to the President for his personal/power bloc agenda. For, to the best of PACAC’s knowledge and observations, Malami has not manifested any genuine commitment to the anti-corruption fight,” Odekunle declared inter alia. He further clamied to have consulted the chairman of PACAC, Prof. Itse Sagay SAN, and other PACAC members before issuing the statement. According to Odekunle, “while PACAC has not had a formal meeting on this development, I have discussed with the Chairman and some other members and the following can be considered as PACAC’s preliminary reaction to this development.”

However, Prof. Sagay, PACAC Chairman, perceived as a close confident of Magu, who has overtime defended the EFCC boss on several issues, declared the Odekunle’s statement was the decision of the Committee and, therefore, should not be credited to PACAC, insisting that it is Prof. Odekunle’s personal opinion.

Sagay was cited to have declared: “That statement was not made by me or PACAC. It was a personal statement made by Odekunle. It has nothing to do with PACAC.” The PACAC Chairman did not, however, clarify if Prof. Odekunle contacted or discussed with him before issuing the statement. There are, however, indications that it is time for several political appointees to play safe.

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