The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu said that there would be massive fight against corruption in this year 2020.
EFCC Chairman made the statement on Tuesday, 21st of January 2020 during his visit to the the Ilorin Zonal office of the commission in a bid to further ensure efficiency in the system.
Mr Magu noted that no high profile individuals involved in corrupt allegations would be shielded from prosecution, stressing that “all of them would be arraigned as soon as investigations are concluded. There is going to be massive fight against corruption this year.”
He said that the campaign against corruption had just started, noting that more looters would be repatriated back to the country for prosecution
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, was on Friday January 17, 2020, announced as the winner of THISDAY Newspaper’s Institution of the Decade Award.
The Newspaper will present the Award to the Commission in commemoration of its 25th Anniversary which comes up on Monday , January 20, 2020, in Lagos.
Thisday Board said the EFCC, after a painstaking selection emerged the Institution of Decade along with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Twenty four different winners emerged, two in each of the 12 categories announced by the Newspaper.
The Commission’s profile as the strongest anti-corruption institution in Africa earned it the Award after meeting the Board of Editors’ standard.
According to the Board, which considered strength of industry knowledge and professional advice, nominated the Commission based on its public engagement and enlightenment, training and capacity building, sensitisation, arrests, convictions, asset recoveries, prosecution and competence in the fight against corruption.
“Since its establishment in 2003 by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), remains Nigeria’s foremost anti-graft agency”, the Statement read
It also stressed that, “Its zeal to achieve its mission statement of ridding Nigeria of economic and financial crimes and coordinate the domestic effort of the global fight against money laundering and terrorists financing, has birthed a new public order, especially in spending public funds. This new conscience has now earned it the editor’s pick as the institution of the decade”.
In the last decade, the Commission recorded 2,447 convictions; and billions of cash recoveries in local and foreign currencies. It has also addressed financial corruption and money laundering by prosecuting and convicting a number of high-profile corrupt individuals, ranging from Nigeria’s former chief law enforcement officer to several bank chief executives, governors, senators and captains of industries.
The Commission made considerable efforts towards building public consciousness against graft and unbeatable consistence in fighting corruption in Nigeria. It stands tall as the topmost corruption- fighting agency in Nigeria commanding high regards among Nigerians and the International Community.
The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu has reacted to a video of former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose dancing on a cruise ship with a white woman after being granted permission to travel abroad for ‘medical treatment’ by a federal high court.
Special assistant on media and publicity to Mr Magu, Tony Amokeodo told Premium Times that they won’t be reacting to the video on grounds of the anti-graft agency only prosecuting the former governor and not persecuting him.
He stated that they can only wait till Fayose returns on the next adjourned date for the continuation of his trial over an alleged N2.2 billion fraud.
”We are not going to react to that video (on) the grounds that the EFCC is prosecuting him, not persecuting him.
”Besides, the court granted him permission to travel abroad for medical attention. We are of the opinion that the former governor would have to be in court and that his trial is on course. And we will definitely meet him on the next adjourned date.”
A non-governmental organisation, Savers Empowerment Ambassadors Initiatives Nigeria (SEAIN) has called on President Muhammed Buhari to urgently facilitate the confirmation of Ibrahim Magu as the substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) based on the remarkable achievements the Commission recorded so far under his watch.
Speaking during its end-of-year parley in Lagos, SEAIN Chairman Frank Ramsey Ezike noted that the delay in confirming Ibrahim Magu as EFCC Chairman was uncalled for and smacks of dirty political undertones which, according to him, is against President Buhari’s avowed commitment towards eradicating corruption in Nigeria.
Ezike, who was also a member of APC presidential campaign council during 2019 election, said that politicians in the country who have tainted their hands were working strenuously against the confirmation of Magu, stating that President Buhari should ignore their machinations and do the needful by re-submitting Magu’s name to the National Assembly for immediate confirmation.
According to him, Magu’s achievements so far are clear testimonies to the good intentions of President Buhari’s commitment to fighting corruption to a standstill in the country, and that efforts geared towards stultifying his achieving that goal will not augur well for the country.
“We are happy that the present National Assembly is committed and working hand in hand with our President towards redeeming this country from the hands of corrupt people. That’s why we are appealing to the President to use his good offices and facilitate the immediate confirmation of Ibrahim Magu as EFCC chairman,” he said.
“We at SEAIN are aware of the quantum and glaring achievements recorded by EFCC so far under Magu, and we will not relent in calling for the fulfillment of this request based on our conviction that he stands tall in assisting our president in delivering the goods to our countrymen and women.
“Details of convictions and trials recorded so far are eloquent testimonies to the good work Magu has achieved, and he deserves a part on the back and an endorsement will make him achieve more,” Ezike stated.
He called on Nigerians of good conscience to join in appealing for Magu’s immediate confirmation so that more corrupt Nigerians will be found and forced to cough up their ill-gotten gain.
As long as she was alive, their marriage was like the wedlock of the gods that the late Professor Zulu Sofola portrayed in her classic novel. For the 40 years the marriage lasted, they were inseparable. Wherever you saw one, there would the other be also. They shattered all obstacles together; and beautified as they impressed.
But on Sunday, December 27, 2009, time stopped forever for the personable former First Lady and founder of the Better Life for Rural Women project, Dr. Maryam Babangida. She died. On that black Sunday, the Asaba, Delta State-born ex-First Lady succumbed to ovarian cancer at the University of California’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, aged 61.
The late Maryam Babangida was born on November 1, 1948, to Hajiya Asabe Halima Mohammed, a Hausa woman from Niger State, and Mr. Leonard Nwanonye Okogwu, an Igbo from Asaba, Delta State. Sultry Maryam got married to the then Major Ibrahim Babangida on September 6, 1969, shortly before her 21st birthday. The marriage was blessed with two boys and two girls––Mohammed, Aminu, Aisha and Halima.
On the day Maryam went to meet her Maker, the world stood still for her husband, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Nigeria’s former military president. The cancer had sliced off his better half and his world momentarily became a huge dark void. Every glittering thing became gloomy. Ten years on, the General is still struggling to fill the vacuum.
In this exclusive interview, General Babangida, who was at his wife’s bed side when her life ebbed, went down memory lane and revealed that though the passage of time had reduced the pain, the tragic loss has not totally healed. He recalled some of the high and low points in his union with his late wife, disclosing, perhaps for the first time, why he stuck to the highly fashionable former First Lady till death separated them that fateful Sunday in December of 2009.
Babangida didn’t stop there. He also spoke on life without his better half, her immortality and legacies. Then, he dropped this bombshell: despite his advancing age, and regardless of his present state of health, he wants to marry again. And he didn’t say that for the sake of headlines. He meant every word of it.
Well, as they say, the taste of the pudding is in the eating. Please, sit back, relax and enjoy the interview. Excerpts:
It would be 10 years on December 27, this year, since your wife, the former First Lady, passed on. How has life been with you without Dr. Maryam Babangida?
It hasn’t been easy, I must say. But thanks be to God. Her children and my friends try to take away that burden off me and they have been very successful so far.
What have been the pains?
That you lose somebody very close to you; somebody very dedicated to the family, you, the children and so on. Another one is not having a companion to talk to when you are in a distressed situation. Those are the pains.
Those are what you miss most about her?
What is the greatest problem you face as a widower?
Somebody who would instantly correct me when I make a mistake. Somebody who would say without mincing words that: ‘this is right’ or ‘this is wrong’. This is important, especially for those of us in the limelight. That is what I miss most.
There was an interview we had with you in this same room when I asked if you were going to remarry, and you answered me in the affirmative. Years down the line, nothing has happened. I don’t know whether you really meant it or you were just joking. What is your final answer?
It will still be in the affirmative. The answer is yes. This is because I am still thinking.
Are you sure sir?
Yes, I am quite sure. I’m searching and I’m hoping. But the longer I wait, maybe, the more problematic it becomes. If it drags, I would be too old and the whole idea of having a partner would seem to diminish. But I will make sure I do it before reaching that stage.
You will make sure you do what?
Have a partner.
That presupposes that there is somebody at the corner?
So far, no.
If it is going to happen, when and how are you going to start the process if it hasn’t started by now?
If somebody is in the corner, you could organize that in three or six months. And because it must be somebody you have known for a long time, or somebody you have been in contact with for a long time, you don’t just tell them look this is for marriage. But as time passes, and relationship building continues, it could end up in marriage.
However, I have to be fair in my search. I really want to be fair. For instance, you don’t expect me to take a wife much younger than I am because that will be a problem for her and for me. I have to be fair. Secondly, I do wonder if she (the chosen one) would be able to live the way Maryam and I did, which is not easy these days. So, I keep on praying; and I think it will happen.
Do you think the children will be receptive to that idea, having waited these 10 long years?
They will be happy that their father got what he wanted. His happiness is their priority.
Especially the ladies, Aisha and Halima?
Yes. After all, this is what daddy wants and if it makes him happy, so be it. We want him to be happy.
As Africans, we believe that when we lose loved ones, we could still communicate with them in our dreams. In the past 10 years, how many times has Dr. Maryam Babangida appeared to you in your dream?
Very few times; and I think that is fine. As far as I am concerned, that takes a lot of burden off me. But if I see her every day, I wouldn’t wake up to this idea (of wanting to marry again) because seeing her regularly brings back all the memories. But since I don’t see her, it strengthens my resolve.
How would you celebrate her at 10?
I am working on a programme dedicated to her. I hope it will be ready by the tenth anniversary.
What kind of programme sir? Could you let us an insight into it?
We are trying to work on some of the things she did, especially around women and in the society, here in Niger State.
There has been very little effort towards what she was doing while she was alive. Are you not pained that nobody has taken up the Better Life for Rural Women Programme from where she signed off?
It is not easy. Her daughter is trying fairly well. She is trying to get into educating the local people in the villages so that they can make life better for themselves in terms of economic development. The daughter is doing that. She seems to be doing fine.
If despite all you have been through, you still look this way, handsome, soft-spoken and all that, one could imagine how you were at 17 or 19. How did you deal with the girls?
I knew you would come with that conclusion. But let me give you a story to answer your question. When I told my wife to let’s get married, she looked at me and said: ‘You can’t be serious’. I said: why? She said that the impression she had was that we (soldiers) were playboys. I said I had decided to stop being a playboy and I wanted to settle down. I think I convinced her that I really meant I was going to settle down.
How did your love life start, especially at a time when inter-tribal marriages were not common, especially in your part of the country? How did your parents and hers take it?
Fortunately, the two parents knew each other. They were more or less friends and I also became friends with her cousins, aunties and uncles. They didn’t have difficulties accepting me.
You really played before you eventually made your mind to settle down…
Yes, I did…
I asked that question because I interacted with a couple of your friends who told me about the way you people used to rock at Bobby Benson’s Caban Bamboo night club in those days…
He (Bobby Benson) was a good friend of mine. I knew him very well.
What was your relationship with the late Brigadier Benjamin Adekunle? He frequented the night club too…
He and I were from different divisions. I got to know him closely when the war broke out. He was in Third Marine Commando while I was in 1 Division of the Nigerian Army. But, later in retirement, I got closer to him because he visited me here in Minna. He also visited me when I was in office and when I was out of office.
Still talking about relationships, how did it eventually happen after you told your wife and she said you weren’t serious? How long did it take you to convince her?
To be honest, less than a year.
How did you deal with the other girls?
Well, they had to accept the reality that there would be a time they would have to leave me and I had to leave them.
Did you actually leave them completely?
I tried to…
How do you react to this notion that when Delta State was created by your government, you chose Asaba as the capital because your wife was from there? Critics said geographically speaking, Asaba was not at the centre of the new state. (Delta State was carved out of the former Bendel State on August 27, 1991. The state was born out of agitations by the Urhobos and Anioma for the creation of separate and distinct states from the region.)
It was not because of her. Before we created a state or local government, we studied everything-the history and the politics of that area; then, settled on one. I made a lot of consultations. I was fortunate to have people like Sir Dennis Osadebe, who, I think, was a Premier of the Mid-West. I went to him and he told me the whole history of that area. Historically, during the British era, the town was seen as an important town in terms of location, commerce and the rest of them. So, from all the consultations, we made up our minds that we will make Asaba the capital. It just happened that my wife was from there.
It was said that on the eve of your announcement, the military administrator went to Warri and was looking for a place…
(Cuts in…) It was a Nigerian thing. For instance, before the announcement (for the creation of new states), somebody in Niger (State) had also gone to another town and started saying that that will be the capital. But we knew it was going to be Minna. Then, we were accused. Like I said, it is a typical Nigerian thing.
For a man of great accomplishments like you, and as a Muslim, your religion permits you to marry as many as four wives, if you like. But you stuck to Mrs. Maryam Babangida till her death on December 27, 2009. Before the marriage eventually happened, what were the traumas you went through?
(Laughs) That is the advantage of being a playboy. It gives you an opportunity to explore and learn, such that by the time you make up your mind to settle down, you have learnt all the good and bad things in a relationship. When you now decide to settle down, you try as much as possible to avoid all those pitfalls. Maryam and I had a very short courtship because she had everything I was looking for in a woman. She possessed them.
Accepting me for what I am.
And what are you?
Just a human being. I had my faults. I made mistakes. Like every human being, I am not perfect. And if you are prepared to accept me for what I am, then, we have no problem. She exhibited that a lot and that kept us together. I can tell you that in 40 years, we quarrelled only twice. She was a very tolerant person and the parents were very understanding. They supported me on most issues.
Would it not have been otherwise if you were not General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida-very high up there, highly visible, known all over the world? Would she have been that tolerant?
I think she would still have been. During the war, for example, I was away most of the time. We were in the war front, and there was a lot of anxiety. Anxieties like: would he come back? Would he be killed at the frontline? You know that sort of thing. But she was a very strong-willed person and she was always firm in her hope that I would return to her alive, and not in a body bag. Her optimism enlivened the spirit in the home and helped the children, and so on.
Was there a time in your 40 years of marriage that she got angry and said: ‘what the heck, I’m leaving!’?
No, we never had that. That is why I said we quarrelled only twice and they were ordinary things we could sort out.
How did you handle your problems anytime confusion came?
We allowed tempers to cool down. That is rule number one. We also applied that thing called common sense. Then, we initiated a discussion, involving just the two of us, on the subject that brought about the quarrel. That way, the problem was easily resolved. Again, I never felt too proud to say ‘I am sorry, I was wrong.’ I always said that. She, too, always said: ‘I’m sorry, I was wrong’. That was the end of the problem.
Does ‘the other room’ play any role in resolving such problems?
(Laughs) We always solved our problems in the dining room.
I’m talking about the ‘other room’.
Which is the other room? Please, enlighten me.
What is the highest point of your life? At 78, what are the highs and the lows?
The first is when I was commissioned into the Nigerian Army, as a young officer from the Indian Military Academy. Fresh from the Academy, I was full of life, coming to provide service to the country. The second is: while rendering services to the country, you meet people who operate either in defence of the country or in aiding people to provide for safety of lives and properties in the country. The third is when I was given a command during the war. The high point (in that) is that here was a young Major Babangida, and I had over 500 soldiers under me. Their lives, their welfare, depended on me. That was a huge responsibility.
You have to be concerned about how you make them have the confidence that you would not lead them into any disastrous situation; you have to be concerned that they would follow you to war. I’m glad they developed that confidence because I mingled with them. I trained and ate with them. We played together. And if they knew that we were going to war, fear was no longer in them because, as an officer, I was capable of doing what they could do. As an officer, I could do what a corporal could do. So, they just followed. That is a good point in leadership; and it has been very successful.
Juliet Ibrahim has said she is ready to give love another chance.
The Ghanaian actress shared a new photo and wrote:
May my next relationship be my “ I remember praying for this “ Amen. #atoasttolifebook #atoasttolife –
– 2020 I’m ready to give love a chance again.
I have grown Wiser, smarter, emotionally ready, I’m aware of my tolerance level, won’t settle for less than I deserve, I know my worth and definitely understand how to add tax to my worth going forward… – Let’s give love a chance… shall we? #newbeginnings #2020
Former Nigeria’s military president, General Ibrahim Babangida is not dead.
Rumors were rife earlier today that the ex-military leader had passed on. However, a statement released by his spokesperson, Kasim Afegbua, said contrary to the rumour, Babangida is alive and bubbling and is in his Minna residence attending to visitors.
Read the full statement below:
IBB IS ALIVE AND BUBBLING.
It has become consistent fake news for quite some time now wishing our own IBB, the one we easily refer to as “the last don” of Nigeria politics, dead. The “fake news bill” would be a suitable response to this category of fake news carrier. IBB is very much alive and bubbling. He just started attending to friends and associates who came to see him today, Sunday, 15th December, 2019 right here at his Minna Hilltop mansion. He is full of life and in his characteristic bubbling mood.
May Allah forgive those who wish IBB dead. God is the giver and taker of life, not humans. Death, as the irrevocable end of all creation, will surely come to everyone some day and at the appointed time and hour, but to deliberately spread fake news and wish someone dead, is to take humanity to another bizarre level. May Allah forgive them. IBB, by the special grace of Allah, the omniscient and omnipotent One, shall live to fulfill his journey and destiny in life, to the consternation of those who are always wishing him dead. This is about the third time this year.
We wish to thank those who took time to reach out to us, home and abroad, to find out the truth. We thank you all for your love, care and concern. May Allah grant us all good health, sound mind and long life. Amin.
PRINCE KASSIM AFEGBUA
MEDIA SPOKESMAN TO GENERAL IBB.
Ibrahim Chatta is a popular Nollywood Yoruba actor, producer and director. He is also a singer and songwriter.
In this post, we take a look at the biography of Ibrahim Chatta, his family life, career and the movies he has featured in.
Ibrahim Chatta was born Abiodun Ibrahim Chatta on October 13, 1970. The actor hails from Kwara. He grew up in a large family of 14 children.
Ibrahim Chatta’s does not have a secondary or higher education. According to the actor, his lack of education was due to peer pressure. At that time, he was quite young and he could not put his mind to the fact that education was important which led to him leaving school in his third grade.
But Ibrahim’s lack of education didn’t deter him from pursuing a career in acting and he also disclosed that he was able to learn a lot of things on his own.
Prior to his breakthrough in acting, Ibrahim worked as a bus conductor in order to make ends meet.
The movie that shot him into prominence was “Aiyekooto.” Some of the popular movies he has featured in include Mafi wonmi (2008), Atinio’go (2006) and October 1 (2014).
He has featured in scores of movies; some of these include Leyin Igbeyawo, Irawo, Oke Akisa Aiye, Dudu, Odunbaku Omin Awure, Eni amongst others.
Recently, Ibrahim revealed that he plans to quit acting in 2020. Although, he further disclosed that his family and colleagues were not well disposed to it and hoping it would fall through because they think he is too young to quit.
The actor reiterated that he has sacrificed his entire life for acting as he began acting at the age of 15.
Ibrahim has won many awards. These include Best Actor in a Supporting Role in 2012, Best of Nollywood Awards for his role in the movie, Aiyekooto and City People Entertainment Awards 2016 Nomination for the Best Actor of the year.
Ibrahim Chatta has been handpicked by many as the successor to Odunlade Adekola’s reign as the Best Nollywood Yoruba actor. However, sources in the movie sector say that Ibrahim needs like two years to develop and get lead roles non-stop before he can snatch the lover-boy role from Odunlade.
However, the actor recently made a controversial statement about awards in an interview when he revealed that most Nigerian awards lack credibility. According to him, most award organisers wouldn’t honour you if you don’t submit your film in the entries.
He reiterated that the organisers usually ask movie stars if they will be attending the event ceremony and if they are not coming, they automatically lose the awards.
Also, he revealed that some awards wouldn’t give you awards if you don’t ‘buy’ seats at the event.
Family & other facts
Ibrahim has been married three times. His first marriage was to Olayinka Solomon, but unfortunately, the couple went their separate ways after a few years. According to reports, the marriage ended in divorce and mutual recrimination with Solomon accusing him of wife battery, a charge he denied.
The union produced a child, Malik.
Subsequently, Chatta found solace in the arms of the daughter of a Senator in Kwara state, Salamatu Mohammed Lafiaji.
They met in 2007 and had a traditional wedding on December 30, 2012. However, this union was shortlived too. One of the reasons for their break up was the abuse Salamatu purportedly faced in the hands of Ibrahim.
Salamatu revealed that she had met Ibrahim on the set of Kunle Afod’s movie titled Tiwonsikanga in 2007. They started living together from 2008 and subsequently got married in 2012. But she discovered that he was a womanizer and a gold digger. In fact, he had found a way to collect all the money in her account before she realised what was going on. The estranged wife also revealed that his constant beatings resulted in a miscarriage.
But Ibrahim denied the allegations and said that he never hit her. In fact, the only woman he ever hit was his first wife which was a response to her slapping him.
Narrating his own side of the story, Ibrahim revealed that there was no trust in the union when he married Salamatu. According to the actor, he did everything he could to make the marriage work he later heard that she told him that she had stopped loving him since 2012 when they did their Nikkah wedding. She further revealed to her sister that she had been pretending all the while.
Nonetheless, Ibrahim disclosed that he didn’t allow that to deter him as he continued to make efforts and was willing to put things in order.
Also, there were rumours that Salamatu had left him because his apartment was shabby and when her mother came to visit them she was quite disappointed with her daughter’s living condition. But Ibrahim refuted the claims as he stated that he was living in a four bedrooms with two sitting rooms so the home was never an issue.
The actor also revealed that he loves having people around him and his ex-wife had issues with that even though she knew he was like that even before they got married.
Ibrahim lamented that he has been labelled a wife beater based on this unfounded rumours and this has led to him losing several endorsement deals. The actor went further to state that anyone with evidence that he is a wife beater should come forward with evidence.
Eventually, Ibrahim had to let Salamatu go as it was clear she was no longer interested in the union.
Currently, Ibrahim is married to Lizzie Berry. The couple tied the knot on the 1st of October, 2016. The actor managed to keep the marriage proceedings from the press but the details eventually leaked a week before the wedding.
There were reports that the wedding was fast-tracked as a result of Lizzie’s pregnancy however, the actor refused to comment on the details of his marriage.
Lizzie put to birth on the 6th of February 2017 and Ibrahim broke the news to fans and followers his Instagram page. This is Ibrahim’s second child. It would be recalled that he had a son, Malik with his first wife, Olayinka Solomon.
The Nigerian information space exploded on Thursday December 4, 2019, when news broke that the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has convicted a former governor of Abia State and Senator representing Abia North in the Senate, Senator Orji Kalu, of N7.1bn fraud and sentenced him to 12 years imprisonment.
Senator Kalu was convicted alongside his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited and his
Director of Finance and Account at the Abia State Government House, Mr. Jones Udeogu who served under him when he was Abia state governor.
While Udeogu was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, the judge ordered the winding up of Slok Nigeria Limited, holding that its assets and properties be forfeited to government.
The judgment, delivered by Justice Mohammed Idris, shocked and stunned the whole nation, not only because the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC had been on this case for 12 years after it first filed the fraud charges against Kalu in 2007, but also for the fact that the former Abia state governor had been widely regarded as a sacred cow and one of the most trusted ally and confidant of President Buhari; a claim he seemingly invoked and exploited to maximum effect when INEC was compelled by the courts to issue him with a certificate of return as Abia North Senator and most recently when the Supreme Court validated his victory and dismissed all the petitions challenging his election victory.
Not many people believed that a court of law in Nigeria would be bold enough to convict a man whose relationship with President Mohammadu Buhari, was such that he even took a well celebrated chieftaincy title from Katsina, the President’s state and his ride to the Senate became so smooth once he joined APC, the ruling Party, thus lending more credence to the narrative that your sins will be forgiven once you joined APC.
In any case, with this dramatic conviction of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, it appears that many people have grossly underestimated the unflinching tenacity and crusade like commitment of the EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu to the anti corruption war. This conviction, coming at this very auspicious time in the evolution of the anti corruption war, has more than consolidated the argument that Ibrahim Magu ought to be confirmed and retained as the substantive head of the EFCC.
It also sends a reassuring signal to the international community that Nigeria is quite serious about tackling corruption frontally, with a dedicated and courageous man in charge, but most importantly it delivers a clear and direct warning to all those under EFCC investigation for various fraud related allegations, but enjoying some form of official authority and responsibility, that the EFCC under Magu, is not going to dilly dally over fraud and corruption cases anymore and sooner than later, a proper and complete closure will be brought to many of the very outstanding and astounding cases.
Indeed, one of the most satisfying aspects of the judgement and conviction of Senator Orji Kalu was the commendation given to the EFCC by the Judge. In pronouncing the convicts guilty, Justice Idris had only glowing praise for the EFCC, stating unequivocally that the Commission proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.
Out of the 39 counts filed against the trio, the judge convicted Kalu of the entire 28 counts in which his name featured. On each of counts 1-11 and 39, he was sentenced to five years imprisonment; on each of counts 23-33, he was sentenced to three years imprisonment; and on each of counts 34-38, he was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment.
The judge, who hailed the investigation that culminated into the charge as in-depth and conclusive, said: “No gaps were left unfilled. This is the acceptable standard. I hold the view that the prosecution has established its case against the defendants; it did not fall short of the standard required by law in money laundering offences. It is clear upon the facts before this court that the prosecution had this case conclusively investigated before opting to bring this charge against the defendants. In other words, the prosecution did an in-depth and conclusive investigation.”
The import of this very succinct observation by the learned Justice Idris is a clear affirmation of the giant strides the EFCC under Ibrahim Magu has accomplished. Gone are the days when the Commission was often embarrassed by sitting judges and had to hurriedly withdraw promising cases from court as a result of shoddy and haphazardly construed investigations in their eagerness to secure glory seeking convictions. Under Magu’s unerring watch, the EFCC has transformed into a meticulous, clinical, dogged and tenacious investigative machine, with the ultimate objective of ensuring that any charge that is eventually tabled before the courts would have been throughly investigated and prepared with the utmost care and intention to secure a conviction at the end of trial.
It is also worth stating here that the conviction of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu is quite significant as it falls in line with the EFCC’s determination to bring as many
Politically Exposed Persons, PEPs to book; a drive which had already convicted Jolly Nyame, a former governor of Taraba State and Joshua Dariye, a serving Senator and a former governor of Plateau state both of whom are currently serving jail terms at Kuje Prison.
Dariye and Nyame, who were sentenced to 14 years in prison had approached the Court of Appeal to challenge the ‘guilty’ verdict handed down on them by a Federal Capital Territory High Court, Gudu presided over by Justice Adebukola Banjoko. However, while upholding their convictions, the Appellate Court commuted Dariye’s jail term to 10 years and that of Nyame to 12 years with a fine of N495 million.
It is highly anticipated that Senator Orji Uzor Kalu may also approach the court if Appeal to try and overturn his own conviction too. Indeed, a legal practitioner ostensibly speaking on behalf of the Abia North Senator has already boasted that the judgement will be appealed from the Appeal Court up to the Supreme Court, even insisting that there was no cause for alarm.
However, without prejudice to whatever transpires henceforth legally, the point remains that with this conviction of Senator Orji Kalu, the EFCC, led by Ibrahim Magu as the acting Chairman, has proven once more that the Commission remains consistent in its concerted efforts towards ensuring that the negative narrative of pervasive corruption in the Nigerian system is changed for the better, and the perception that some persons are sacred cows who are above the Law, is altered.
There is no doubt that in the last four years, the political will of President Muhammadu Buhari has emboldened and energized the EFCC to embark on enforcement and preventive measures against corruption with a view to tame the monster and with the preventive, enforcement and prosecution mandate given to the Commission, all that is needed is the combination of courage, integrity, and determination which has been proved beyond reasonably doubt are all embodied in Magu and which will be intensified with the confirmation of a substantive authority to drive the anti corruption war to new, successful heights.
Indeed, like Ibrahim Magu himself said, the battle to make the country a place where foreign in
Anti-graft group, Nigerians Against Corruption, NAC, has described the conviction of former governor of Abia state, Orji UzorKalu, by Justice Muhammed Idris of a Federal High Court in Lagos as a mark that shows EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu means business with the President Buhari’s anti-corrution war.
Orji Kalu, who is the Senate Chief Whip, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for stealing public funds while in office. Justice Idris further held that Mr Kalu’s company, Slok Nigeria Limited, the third defendant, be wounded up and all assets forfeited to the federal government.
Commenting on the judgment, the group’s National coordinator said with this feat, Magu deserves the support of all well meaning Nigerians while calling on the President to as a matter of exigency renominate him for a fresh 4-year term as the EFCC chairman.
“The conviction of a whole Senate Chief Whip has shown that Mr Ibrahim Magu is serious about eradicating financial corruption in our polity. If a former governor and a member of the President’s party can bag a 12 year jail term, I tell you this man means business”.
“Don’t forget that Orji Kalu holds a chieftaincy title from President Buhari’s hometown of Daura. His various media outfits also gave the president awards yet, Ibrahim Magu has sent him to jailed.
“I seriously call on President Buhari to return Magu as EFCC boss and also empower the agency to do much more. I also want to urge Nigerians to cooperate with this government to get rid of corruption in Nigeria.
The anti-graft crusader also added that Nigerians should expect the conviction of more high profile Nigerians.
The Abuja division of the Federal High Court, on Wednesday, dismissed a suit seeking to declare the continued stay of Mr Ibrahim Magu as the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, as illegal and unconstitutional.
Although the court held that by the provisions of section 2(3) of the EFCC Act, it was a mandatory requirement of the law that Magu’s appointment must be confirmed by the Senate to be validated, there was a lacuna in the law as there was no limitation to the powers of the president to re-appoint him.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu held that the EFCC is not an extra-Ministerial department of the Federal Government, and as such, the law provided that anyone nominated as its Chairman by the President must pass through necessary “checks and balances” by the Senate.
The court held that whereas section 171 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, granted the President powers to appoint heads of extra-Ministerial departments at his pleasure, section 2(3) of the EFCC Act, 2004, made it mandatory that any nomination to EFCC Chairmanship position must be screened by the Senate to satisfy the interest of the public.
“Public interest is very paramount in the appointment of any person to head to the EFCC”, Justice Ojukwu held, saying there was a lacuna in the law since section 2(3) of the EFCC Act did not put a limitation to President Muhammadu Buhari’s powers to re-appoint Magu, subject to confirmation by the Senate.
“The lacuna has given the the President the proverbial knife and the yam”, Justice Ojukwu noted, saying there was need for a renewed consciousness that laws must be implemented in accordance with public interest.”
Forces against acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, have intensified efforts to ease him out before the end of the year.
Sponsors and leaders of the plot have allegedly recruited some civil society organisations (CSOs) to begin series of protests against his continued stay in office on the premise that his four-year tenure ended on November 9.
Meetings to that effect have reportedly held in choice hotels in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and Lagos. To kickstart the game plan, the selected CSO’s are expected to address series of press conferences where certain allegations against EFCC, under Magu, would be unveiled. Also to come are sponsored rallies against the Commission in Abuja and Lagos with the intent to attack Magu’s integrity.
Already, they have sponsored petitions before the House of Representatives, with certain allegations against the EFCC.
A source privy to the plot also added that “they are also claiming that Magu has served the statutory four years as EFCC boss (as stipulated in the EFCC Act), and that President Muhammadu Buhari ought to have forwarded a replacement to the Senate for confirmation. They are also relying on Sections 2 (3) and 3 (1) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004, to buttress their arguments.”
Section 2 (3) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act (2004)states that: “The chairman and members of the Commission, other than ex-officio members shall be appointed by the president and appointment shall be subject to the confirmation of the Senate while section 3 (1) states that “the chairman and members of the Commission, other than ex-officio members shall hold office for a period of four years and may be re-appointed for a further term of four years and no more.”
Regardless, a sponsor of the project has been identified as a high profile defendant in a money laundering and corruption matter in the oil and gas sector.
“The well-heeled player in the oil sector, who has close relationship with a former oil minister, has mobilised huge funds to fund this campaign of character assassination and misinformation against Magu,” said another source.
Another set of opposition against his continued stay in office “have even gone ahead to recommend a serving Commissioner of Police, also from the North, as his replacement.”
The Presidential Villa, has, however, remained silent about Magu’s tenure. Till date, the president has not made public, his views on Magu’s status. Besides, the president is keeping his decision on Magu to his chest as none of those close to him in Aso Rock can actually speak authoritatively on the matter.
In March 2017, Senate rejected Magu’s nomination after the Department of State Security (DSS) reaffirmed its position that he lacked the integrity to lead the anti-corruption agency.
“In the light of the foregoing, Magu has failed the integrity test and will eventually constitute a liability to the anti-corruption stand of the current government,” the DSS report indicated then.
At the confirmatory screening, which held in the Committee of the Whole of the eighth Senate, Magu questioned the credibility of the DSS which he said dispatched two reports on him with varying contents on the same day.
“What do you say about credibility of that agency?” he queried.
In December 2016, DSS had submitted two contradictory reports to the Senate – one approving Magu’s confirmation and the other asking that he be rejected. Senate opted to reject Magu’s confirmation based on a report critical of him.