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Magu: International groups write Buhari, say Nigeria’s anti-corruption fight may suffer setback

Prominent international groups involved in anti-corruption efforts globally have written to President Muhammadu Buhari on what they consider the unfortunate treatment of Ibrahim Magu.

PREMIUM TIMES reported the arrest of Mr Magu, acting chairman of Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, EFCC, on Monday.

He has been detained since then as he continues to appear before a panel probing allegations of corruption and insubordination against him. The allegations were made by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.

Mr Magu was also formally suspended from office on Friday, according to a statement by Mr Malami’s office.

Mr Magu and Mr Malami have had repeated disagreements on the anti-corruption war and many Nigerians including a member of a presidential adviser on anti-corruption, Femi Odekunle, believe Mr Magu’s ordeal is part of a power play with Mr Malami.

Mr Magu has denied wrongdoing, while the presidency has said Mr Magu’s investigation was a sign there was no sacred cow in Mr Buhari’s anti-corruption fight.

In their joint letter, dated July 9, the anti-corruption groups said: “What is going on in Nigeria is of concern to the international community. Mr Magu has proved himself to be up to the task.”

The letter was signed by Lucas Manes of Re:Common, Nicholas Hildyard of Corner House, Simon Taylor of Globalwitness – all European organisations – and Olanrewaju Suraju of the HEDA in Nigeria.

“His determination to fight corruption is evident by the recovery of stolen funds and properties plus his own high moral ground earned at the cost of diligence and hardwork never before seen. His political removal questions the will of Nigeria to deal with a major cause of the country’s underdevelopment which is corruption,” the groups said in the letter.

The four groups have been at the vanguard of monitoring and exposing the corruption involved in the infamous OPL 245 Malabu scandal for which oil majors Shell and Eni and their officials are being prosecuted in Nigeria and Italy.

The groups on Sunday released a statement about the content of their letter to the Nigerian president.

Read the statement below.

The unceremonious exit of former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) Acting Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu may erode the recent gains in the fight against corruption, global groups working against sleaze have said.

World acclaimed anti-corruption groups, Re:Common, Globalwitness and The Corner House based in Europe said Nigeria has regained unprecedented gains under Magu‘s leadership of EFCC and that his removal under the current circumstances may roll back the momentous gains already recorded under his tenure.

Re:Common top official Mr Lucas Manes, Corner House Nicholas Hildyard and Simon Taylor of Globalwitness in a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari last week expressed deep concern over the travails of Magu saying that the former EFCC boss may be a pawn in the desperate attempts by corrupt officials to kill the EFCC or turn the agency into a willing tool of corrupt politicians.

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