The suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has expressed concerns over his safety and that of his family members following the withdrawal of all his personal security aides and those of his family members.
One of Magu’s lawyers, Oluwatosin Ojaoma, said on Tuesday that threat to the life of the detained anti-graft czar is real as he has been exposed to the powerful forces that he stepped on their toes. He said it was possible they could be planning to eliminate Magu or harm members of his family who are now exposed.
Magu, who was arrested by men of the Department of State Services (DSS) on Monday, July 6, is facing the Presidential Panel headed by Ayo Salami, a retired president of the Court of Appeal, over multiple allegations of fraud and gross misconduct leveled against him by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami. He is still being detained in the facility of the Police Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) in Abuja.
Reports had it on Monday, July 13, that 18 of Magu’s aides were locked out of their offices at the EFCC office in Jabi District and his office sealed after being ransacked for about the third time since his travails started over a week ago. All the security details attached to his private home in Maitama District were also withdrawn in much the same way about four bullet-proof Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) for his personal security have reportedly been seized.
“We want Nigerians to know that Magu’s life and those of his family members are under threat because all his aides have been withdrawn. His family members have now engaged private security guards to be securing them in Abuja,” Ojaoma said.
“This is a man who stepped on people’s toes, who fought so many powerful people in this country. This is a man who has served his country meritoriously, a man who has devoted his time, resources, and his intellect to serve the country. Now he is being subjected to this ridicule. He fought this battle at the risk of his life and those of his family members, now he is being left without any security, his life is under threat. All the aides in his office, in his house and private farms, everything has been withdrawn. He has now been left at the mercy of those he fought against,” he said.
Ojaoma warned that the implication is that those whom Magu had fought may now plot to eliminate him or harm members of his family. He asked the government to provide adequate security for Magu and his family members.
The lawyer also debunked the allegation of embezzlement of the N700 million training fund of the EFCC leveled against Magu at the panel on Monday, July 13, stressing that the allegations were fallacious and concocted to tarnish his image.
“Let me set the record straight. The issue of funds being tampered by Magu is out of place, Magu does not sign cheques, he does not touch money. It is not the duty of Magu to assign money; he is just the chairman of the commission. So, all these allegations are mischievous and concocted to tarnish his image and set him against those who believed him in the public, who know his antecedents,” Ojaoma added.
On the issue of Magu’s continued detention, the lawyer noted that the legal team has informed the presidential panel that the suspended EFCC chairman is still in custody even as the team considers the option of going to court to seek redress on his detention which they claimed was a violation of his fundamental rights.
Magu’s lawyers on Friday filed for a bail application to the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, hoping that he would be granted administrative bail on Monday, July 13, but he has remained in detention.
“The legal team is meeting to take the next line of action; we are not going to rule out going to court. The panel has been informed of the fact that he is still in custody and we are also expecting the panel to deal with that issue as well,” Ojaoma said.
“Fair hearing involves allowing the man time and facility to go and prepare for his defence and not to be held in custody. That is the provision of section 36(6) of the 1999 Constitution. You cannot keep him in detention in a clear violation of his fundamental right. So, we are not ruling out going to court to seek redress over this violation,” he said
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