Perhaps, Ibrahim Magu, who’ll now bow out from the Nigeria Police Force as an Assistant Inspector General of Police(AIG), will be the first anti-corruption fighter to have headed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission so brutally maligned and fiercely mauled apparently for doing nothing wrong against the law of the land.
The second person that comes a rare second because of the same fate of persecution and humiliation that befell him is Nuhu Ribadu, the pioneer chairman of the anti-sleaze agency founded by the administration of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Interestingly, none of the probe panels set up to interrogate the activities of the duo within and without returned any verdict of guilt on the two gallant anti-corruption combatants. Even the Ayo Salami Panel that sat on camera, no one can say it indicted Magu, who was summarily eased out of the common.
It’s pertinent to say that had Magu been indicted by the Salami panel, his latest promotion to the position of AIG would not have been possible. In the same vein, had he been indicted, after his forced exit from the EFCC, the Police Force would not have hesitated a second before dismissing him from the institution. Now, he is retiring with all full compliments! You can only suppress the truth for a while but can’t eclipse it in the long run.
Magu’s case is particularly striking in the sense that he faced the fiercest time of his life fighting corruption. From the day he was appointed to the day he was crudely humiliated out of office, he suffered one of the worst character demolitions from the establishment that should have shielded him from wanton and reckless interference.
What was his crime? For standing stoically against the principalities of corruption holding the country by its jugular. He came at a time when the anti-corruption fight was at its lowest ebb, and in no time, the fight garnered momentum as those with stained garments scampered and holed themselves in the embrace of the law. He was the feared masquerader as the culprits of corruption wished there wasn’t a Magu to head the EFCC at the time he came in
It was obvious from the get-go that he was in for a serious opposition when the 8th senate vowed never to confirm his appointment as the substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Led by Senator Bukola Saraki, then-Senate President, purportedly acting on a fictive ‘security report’, Magu suffered legislative persecution as he was mauled on the floor of the senate during one of their humiliating screening schedules aimed at deflating Magu. It was an unfazed Magu who stood his ground and refused to budge from the deliberate official assault. His crime again was fighting the monster called corruption.
For the time he reigned, he hung the rank of honour and wore the cap of an incorruptible czar; he was apolitical and fought corruption with all the seriousness of a fierce fighter. He went after top government officials including the spouse of his fiercest traducer. He had just one goal: to deflate the balloon of corruption and rid the system of the monster called graft. He was unmistakable in his pursuit and there was no stopping even when they refused to confirm his status as chair of the anti-graft agency. And President Muhammadu Buhari stood by him as the Borno-born police cop waged the deadliest war against corruption in private and official places.
Unfortunately, for a country where the forces of oppression are much more than the forces of progress, Magu was to pay for his uncompromising stance when those who swore to uphold the instrument of the law decided to choke the life out of him. He became the target of sponsored editorials that decimated his character, and hired commentators mounted the consoles as they hatched phantom and fictitious smear campaigns against his person. When that failed, they resorted to crude force as the man’s life became threatened and targeted. It was the price for fighting in defence of the fatherland and Magu was battle-ready to lay his life for Nigeria.
To date, sane and rational minds keep asking: What was Magu’s offence? It’s difficult to arrive at any tangible reason other than the fact that some elements wanted him out. In the face of the onslaught against the man, only one lone voice was loud, it was that of late Professor Femi Odekunle. He swore and defended Magu’s innocence. He told the world that Magu was being hunted and haunted by enemies of the state.
Three years after, Ibrahim Magu stands vindicated even as the late Professor Odekunle breathes on, in death. I am sure the late foremost Professor of Criminology will be smiling in his grave on the promotion of Magu to the enviable rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police by the same system that was used to maul and ridicule him.
Whichever way, there’s one lesson to be learnt from the fate of Magu: truth will always vindicate the just and history will always be kind to their indelible footprints in the sands of time. And this speaks to those still in public service trying to do the best they can to salvage the system; keep at it even if you are the last man standing for Nigeria is the only home of ours. We must rescue it together and save it from the jaws of the jackals baying at its blood.
Congratulations to AIG Magu as you now exit from the NPF in grand style with your honour intact. You are a lucky man for the truth has vindicated you while you are still on this side of the divide. Only a few men are this lucky regardless of the thorns that tried to scotch you.