The Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) has said that it rejected the ‘secret mode’ of operation of the Presidential Panel probing the suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, over alleged corrupt enrichment.
The Executive Director, CHRICED, Dr. Zikirullahi M. Ibrahim said this on Monday in Abuja while briefing the media on the State of the Nation.
This is as he also said that removing and appointing a new set of Service Chiefs, may not necessarily end insecurity in the country, because the problems fueling insecurity goes beyond mere appointment of new faces of security chiefs.
According to him, while the nation and the citizens are battling the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus is not the only pandemic Nigerians are facing with in recent times, as the plague of corruption continues to devastate the lives of citizens.
He said that in the struggle between anti-corruption forces and apologists of corruption, the latter has been winning and that what used to be called an anti-corruption fight only now exists in name.
He stressed the need for actions saying “Nigerians can no longer breathe as corruption and bad governance is undermining welfare and well-being of citizens”.
He said that the loss of political will, and the serious collapse of the moral ground on which the current administration would have fought corruption to a decisive end will be seen from the government’s act of condoning clearly corrupt characters within its own fold.
“If this were not so, the sleazy and scandalous revelations coming out of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), would have meant many big thieves cooling their heels in cells of anti-corruption agencies, in readiness for judgment day at the courts.
“While we are not holding brief for the suspended Acting Chair of the EFCC, it raises serious suspicion that the activities of the Presidential Panel have been shrouded in secrecy, making it appear like there is a preconceived objective. It does not inspire confidence that the person being accused has not been provided with copies of the allegations against him to enable him respond.
“In as much as we are not saying that the suspended acting EFCC Chair is infallible, the panel’s resort to unorthodox and underhand tactics wherein the public is totally in the dark about its mission, raise serious questions about the motives,” Ibrahim said.
He said that given the trend of unceremonious departure of heads of the EFCC in the past, the whole drama around Magu seems like a pattern from the past, when the powers that be no longer want to see a particular head of the agency.
He said that Magu’s predecessors including Nuhu Ribadu, Farida Waziri, and Ibrahim Lamorde all faced similarly inquisitions in the name of investigation, but till date, nothing has been heard about their alleged infractions.
Why sacking security chiefs won’t end insecurity
Speaking on the call for the replacement of the nation’s head of security agencies, the CHRICED boss lamented the daily loss of Nigerian lives due to insecurity across the land.
According to him, in many states, especially in the North, terrorists, bandits, kidnappers and other hoodlums have made the lives of citizens extremely miserable and unbearable.
He said that as stated in previous interventions, and in line with the demands of the public, it is time for the Service Chiefs to exit the stage, especially considering their failure to secure the country.
“However, we make no mistake about the fact that the factors driving insecurity go beyond removing and appointing a new set of Service Chiefs. The mere appointment of new faces may not necessarily mean an end to insecurity because the problems fueling insecurity are deep seated and more systemic than most citizens know.
“It is trite fact that many political actors have over the years recruited, trained and armed private militias, which they deploy to prosecute their electoral battles. These armed groups are later left to their own devices after being used by politicians to achieve their electoral objectives.
“These groups then metamorphose into killing squads, which go on to take over territories, and carry on with their challenge of the authority of the state. The literature on Boko Haram shows the prominent role played by these political actors in the founding and eventual transformation of those groups to agents of destruction and death across the country.
“The only way out is to hold to account political actors responsible for the formation of such groups. Unfortunately, many of such political actors are walking free today after creating outfits, which continue to claim the innocent lives of citizens,” Ibrahim said.