Nigeria: Anxiety At Rudderless EFCC Over Magu's Successor

8 July 2020

Anxiety, on Wednesday, enveloped the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC's headquarters over who takes over from the embattled Ibrahim Magu as acting chairman.

The anxiety stems from the fact that Magu's suspension has not been officially communicated to the Head of Operations, Mohammed Umar who, according to EFCC Act, is the next in command to the acting chairman, and should act in Magu's absence.

Vanguard gathered, last night, that there appears a jostling between the Head of Operations and the commission's secretary, Ola Olukayode, over who should act in absence of the embattled acting chairman.

Vanguard further gathered that despite a list of three nominees forwarded by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami(SAN), President Muhammadu Buhari has intensified his search for a possible replacement for the suspended Magu.

This was even as a source disclosed to Vanguard last night that President Buhari, on Wednesday, gave the Head of Operations at the EFCC, Mohammed Umar, the nod to assume headship of the anti-graft agency in the interim, pending conclusion of security checks on some names brought to him for consideration.

Umar, a Deputy Commissioner of Police is the second most senior officer at the EFCC and Magu's second-in-command.

It was gathered that Malami was initially opposed to the idea of allowing Umar to hold fort in the absence of Magu, stressing that as Head of Operations of the agency, he played key roles in some of the official infractions he complained of in the memo to President Buhari.

Multiple sources confirmed to Vanguard that Malami's position was backed by some members of the Federal Executive Council, as they preferred to rather allow Secretary of the EFCC, Ola Olukayode, who is not a police officer, to superintend the affairs of the agency, pending the outcome of ongoing probe into activities of the Commission under Magu.

"The argument was that since the allegation was that most of the alleged rot in the EFCC was perpetuated by a team of selected police officers referred to as 'Magu-boys', it would not be wise to allow a policeman to take over Magu's office.

"They noted that some of the needed proof of evidence could be covered up under esprit de corps, saying it would be better to allow a neutral person head the commission in the interim, pending conclusion of the ongoing investigation by the Justice Ayo Salami-led panel," the source told Vanguard on grounds of anonymity.

Meanwhile, attempt by Vanguard to get Malami's reaction proved abortive as he neither answered calls placed to his line nor responded to text messages.

One of his aides told our corespondent around 7:30p.m. that his principal was still at the Presidential Villa and was yet to return from the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting.

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