•Police management team abandons him
•Says, he should carry his cross
•Buhari endorses his suspension, approves Umar as Ag. Chairman
By Emma Nnadozie, Crime Editor & Johnbosco Agbakwuru
Suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu, who is currently facing trial before the Presidential Investigation Panel over allegations of corruption levelled against him has reportedly shunned the cell of the Force Criminal Investigations Department, FCID and turned the mosque in the premises of the police headquarters as his abode where he has spent his fourth night.
As he embarked on the battle of his life, the police management team was said to have abandoned him to his fate to carry his own cross following his refusal to identify with the police hierarchy while his reign as the commission’s boss lasted.
Information from the FCID, yesterday, revealed that Magu now spends his night inside a mosque at Zone 10 office of FCID, Abuja where he was ordered to be detained pending the outcome of his trial.
Sources intimated Saturday Vanguard that though he was supposed to be kept inside the cell at the Zone 10 office of FCID, Abuja, he normally spends hours behind the counter in front of the cell and after appearing at presidential panel headed by the former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, he would be brought back and later taken to the mosque midnight where he passed the up till Thursday.
Though it was not possible to ascertain whether he slept on a bed or on the ground, sources said his relatives must have been making provision for him to sleep comfortably inside the mosque on a special arraignment with the police. It was gathered that FCID, Zone 10, has been well fortified since Magu was detained there and extra efforts have been made to scrutinize both officers and men working there including visitors. However, sources said there was a directive that no visitor should be allowed to enter the premises of the department in the night.
Furthermore, it was gathered that the police management team met early yesterday and took far reaching decisions over Magus’s trial. Police sources said the management team decided that the embattled Commissioner of Police should be made to carry his cross based on the fact that while he was presiding over EFCC, he deliberately failed to respect senior police officers and never attended senior officers meetings chaired by the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Adamu Muhammed. The IGP reportedly summoned the meeting with the Force Chief Legal Officer, CP Augstine Salomi in attendance where the decision was taken.
President Muhammadu Buhari, has reportedly warned serving Ministers, Senior Police Officers and top government officials not to be seen offering any assistance over the case. It was also gathered that the Presidential panel has given the directors and senior staff of EFCC seven days to come up with all files containing cases handled under Ibrahim Magu from 2018 till date.
Last Tuesday, operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) and riot policemen stormed Mr Magu’s private home in Karu and his official residence in Maitama in Abuja which they ransacked.
Magu was arrested on Monday and taken before the presidential panel where he was grilled for over six hours before being taken to the FCID headquarters in Area 10, Garki, Abuja where he retires to after daily interrogation at the panel.
The panel was constituted by President Buhari to investigate allegations of corruption levelled against him by the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami. The memo by Malami allegedly accused Magu of diversion of recovered loot and contained 22 allegations.
According to sources, efforts were being made to find a good replacement for Ibrahim Magu. Many names including serving and retired top police officers and even civilians had been touted. Sources said most of the names being bandied in the past few days really cropped up for consideration but the presidency rejected them with a promise not to make the mistake made over Magu.
The name of a retired top officer from the north in the Department of Security Services, DSS, was reportedly penciled down by the Presidency but, sources close to the presidency said the name of a retired police Commissioner from Benue state who once headed FCID, Abuja, Special Anti-robbery Squad, SARS, Lagos in their early days etc was seriously under consideration based on his unblemished records and achievements recorded in crime fighting and investigations while in service.
The Commissioner of Police, Saturday Vanguard learned, was credited with successfully carrying out a campaign against corruption as a Commissioner of Police in Anambra State. He reportedly took his men with placards marching on the streets and denouncing corruption with a view to portraying the Nigeria Police Force in the proper light. He also cracked many other high profile cases while serving in Lagos including the tragic story of Nigeria Airways first pilot, Captain Hadiza Lantana Oboh who was brutally killed on 8th February, 1998 and her body dumped inside a septic tank by her domestic servants. As at last count, names of many top serving and retired police officers including those of their sister security agencies that were submitted, have been dropped.
Meanwhile, as all these were going on, the presidency yesterday announced that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the immediate suspension of Ibrahim Magu as Acting Chairman of the EFCC. According to the presidency, the suspension was in order to allow for unhindered inquiry by the Presidential Investigation Panel under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act and Other relevant laws.
The presidency said President Buhari has also approved that the EFCC Director of Operations, Mohammed Umar should take charge and oversee the activities of the Commission pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation and further directives in that regards.
The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami stated this yesterday in a statement by his spokesman, Umar Gwandu.
The statement read in part: “President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the immediate suspension of Ibrahim Magu as Ag. Chairman, EFCC in order to allow for unhindered inquiry by the Presidential Investigation Panel under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act and other relevant laws.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has also approved that the EFCC Director of Operations, Mohammed Umar should take charge and oversee the activities of the Commission pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation and further directives in that regards”.