President Muhammadu Buhari has said that Ibrahim Magu, the suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, is innocent until proven guilty.
Mr Magu was arrested on Monday, suspended from office on Tuesday following accusations he disobeyed authorities and stole recovered funds.
The allegations were levelled against him by the attorney-general of the federation, Abubakar Malami.
“Those who see Mr. Magu’s investigation, as a signal that the fight against corruption is failing, have, unfortunately, missed the boat,” said President Buhari in a statement by Garba Shehu, his senior special assistant on media and publicity.
“There are no sacred cows, and for those who think they have a halo over their heads, their days are also numbered.”
Mr Buhari had approved the “immediate suspension” of the EFCC boss and the subsequent appointment of the Commission’s Director of Operations, Mohammed Umar, as the acting chairman of the EFCC.
Explaining on Saturday, the President said Mr Magu was “not immune” claiming that “no other administration in the history of Nigeria would have moved to bring into the light and public domain such an allegation”.
“As is the proper procedure, when allegations are made against the Chief Executive of an institution, and in this case an institution that ought to be seen as beyond reproach, the Chief Executive has to step down from his post and allow for a transparent and unhindered investigation,” the President said.
He stated that the EFCC did not revolve around the personality of an individual and as such could not be seen through the eye of any individual.
“Therefore, the suspension of Mr. Ibrahim Magu, allows the institution to continue carrying out its mandate without the cloud of investigation hanging over its head.”
He went on: “The EFCC has many good, hardworking men and women who are committed to its ideal and ensuring that the wealth of our country isn’t plundered and wherein there is an act of misappropriation such person(s) are brought to justice.
“We must realize that the fight against corruption is not a static event, but a dynamic and ever-evolving process, in which the EFCC is just one actor; and as we continue to work towards improving our democratic process so shall every institution of ours also embark on that journey of evolution.”
He added: “Meanwhile, Mr. Magu is being availed the opportunity to defend himself and answer the allegations against him. This is how it should be, as is the fact that under the Laws of Nigeria every citizen is presumed and remains innocent until proven guilty.”
Source: First Reports