Nigeria: The Counter Claim To Crushing Corruption

By Bala Ibrahim

Today, Thursday 5th May 2022, marks the exit day from service for Mustapha Ibrahim Magu, the former acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. Towards the end of the day yesterday, Magu posted a message on WhatsApp that reads:

“I am delighted to announce my retirement from the Nigeria Police Force tomorrow 05th May 2022, having attained the mandatory retirement age of sixty years. I very much appreciate your support and love through out. I love you all”.

This is good, very good, because reading the message made me think of the emotional roller coaster of life. Yes, in life, there is a time to start, a time to pause and the time to stop. Life comes with multiple experiences, that alternate between making you feel excited, exhilarated or happy, and making you feel sad, disappointed, or desperate.

In the course his life, Magu must have gone through all the above stages, and effective from today, he is destined to start another chapter in the roller coaster of life. We all are on the same bus of destiny.

Late Dele Giwa once wrote about the link between life and destiny, saying life is like mankind’s highway, and everyone must travel along his path, constructed by the unseen contractor called destiny. In the journey of life, there is a time to start, a time to pause and the time to stop.

As the hidden power believed to control future events and fate, destiny tries to put together the events that will necessarily happen to a particular person, and in doing that, it makes provision for the time to start, the time to pause and the time to stop.

Ordinarily, Mustapha Magu’s exit from service should not attract any special attention, because it is normal, certain to happen and unavoidable.

Before Magu there was Ibrahim Lamurde. He exited from the service. Before Lamurde there was Farida Waziri. She exited from the service. Before Farida there was Mallam Nuhu Ribado. He exited from the service.

While each and everyone of them had a tale to tell about his or her encounter with the sad side of the scourge before exit, Magu’s exit came with a special peculiarity-his exit as fighter of corruption is being celebrated by an agent of the government that promised to fight corruption.

When President Muhammadu Buhari came to power in 2015, the issues he promised to confront head on are, the challenges of insecurity, corruption and the economy.

To a large extent, he has done commendably well on insecurity, because even those that are accusing him of doing nothing about it, are abusing him from the comfort of their safe homes or places of work, which hitherto were the flash points of insurgency.

Some ran into exile. Many couldnt go to work, while others were compelled to worship their lord only from their frightened homes. The mosques, churches and whatever temples, were too deadly to visit. Today, the situation, although still palpable, has reasonably improved.

Buhari has also done well on the economy, because, despite the fact that the country’s economy was battered by the coronavirus pandemic, which caused a significant decline in oil revenues, as global economic activities stalled for years, Nigeria succeeded in exiting from recession twice. This can happen only where there is economic prudence.

However, with regards the fight against corruption, posterity may not be as magnanimous on Buhari. He is accused of sacrificing the man he put’s to fight corruption, while selectively shying away from sanctioning some people close to him, that are seen to be celebrating their proceeds of corruption.

Sometimes early this year, Rotimi Fasan wrote an article titled, Nigeria is fighting corruption with corruption. Today, with what has happened to Magu, and what the Attorney-General and minister of Justice Abubakar Malami is doing, with his questionably acquired wealth, one can not but agree with Rotimi in toto.

In what seems like supporting the Rotimi argument, a particular article is viral on the social media, captioned, “ABUBAKAR MALAMI: THE FOUNDATION OF THE CORRUPT EDIFICE THAT MUHAMMADU BUHARI BUILT”. The first two paragraphs of the article go thus:

“The AGF and Minister of Justice, ABUBAKAR Malami has declared his intention to run for the Governorship of Kebbi state. He has refused to comply with the amended Electoral Act to resign his position before the primaries.

Within the last two days, he has lined up thousands of exotic cars and other flamboyant gifts for the Emirs and his hangers-on for the 2023 Electoral bribe “.

If what Malami is doing does not amount to the celebration of corruption, then nothing does.

Also, in an exclusive by the Sahara Reporters, the online medium said, Nigeria’s Attorney-General, Malami’s Ongoing Rice Mill Construction Worth N5billion Uncovered Amid Corruption Allegations.

“The rice mill is another addition to the numerous multi-billion-naira properties owned by the minister who also opened a new hotel, “The Azbir” on Tuesday in Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State. Malami also bought a house this year worth N150 million in the Gwarimpa area of Abuja. A school located at the back of NITEL in Gesse Phase 1, Birnin Kebbi and a house worth N600 million on Ahmadu Bello Way, Nasarawa GRA, Kano, are among properties acquired by Malami since he became a minister under President Buhari. The houses he built for his sons in Kebbi are 200 metres apart in a posh part of the city. That is not all. Malami also built N3 billion multipurpose event centre in Kebbi State named Azbir Arena for his son.”

By definition, corruption is a form of dishonesty or a criminal offense which is undertaken by a person or an organization which is entrusted with a position of authority, in order to acquire illicit benefits or abuse power for one’s personal gain.

Going by Malami’s previous positions or his antecedents, it is impossible to justify such sudden stupendous wealth. And he is the one saddled with the oversight of the fight against corruption.

Indeed by the treatment meted out on Magu, and the head off on Malami’s display of wealth, PMB would have difficulty explaining to the critics, that he hasn’t a counter claim to crushing corruption.