by Evelyn Okakwu,
The chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, has described the war on corruption in Nigeria as almost lost, saying a lot needs to be done to revive it.
Speaking with journalists at a luncheon in Abuja on Wednesday, Mr. Magu said corruption was fighting back.
“The way we are going we have already failed. I am telling you we have almost failed. It is almost lost. The battle against corruption is not only evil, it is a poison,” the chairman said.
He however added that despite the challenges, a lot of successes had been recorded by the commission, between January and August 2017.
“Regardless of the challenges that we have faced and continue to face, I am happy to report that we are making progress,” he said.
“Many of you are aware of the achievements that we have recorded in the fight against corruption especially in the area of assets recovery. Two days ago, we got the court to forfeit to the Nigerian Government a sum of N7.6 billion which was hidden in a Nigerian bank by former petroleum resources minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
“Two weeks earlier, another court issued a temporary forfeiture order to seize properties worth Twenty One Million, Three Hundred and Ninety Two Thousand, Two Hundred and Twenty Four Thousand Dollars ($21,392,224) belonging to the same former minister. Those properties are awaiting final forfeiture.
“Over a month ago, the Commission recovered over N329 billion from a group of oil marketers for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. These are major recoveries from a sector of the economy. But to give a holistic picture of the aggressive drive to recover stolen wealth, I have the pleasure to report that the Commission between January and August 30, 2017 recorded the following monetary recoveries:
“Four Hundred and Nine Billion, Two Hundred and Seventy Million, Seven Hundred and Six Thousand, Six Hundred and Eighty Six Naira, Seventy Five Kobo (N409, 270, 706,686.75); Sixty Nine Million, Five Hundred and One Thousand, One Hundred and Fifty Six Dollars, Sixty Seven Cents ($69, 501,156.67); Two Hundred and Thirty One Thousand, One Hundred and Eighteen Pounds, Sixty Nine Shillings (Pounds 231,118.69; Six Hundred and Ten Thousand, Eight Hundred and Sixteen Thousand, Twenty Euros (Euro 610,816.20); Four Hundred and Forty Three Thousand, Four Hundred Dirham (Dirham 443,400.00 and (Seventy Thousand, Five Hundred Saudi Riyal (SR70, 500.00).
Mr. Magu further said the recent reports about a lingering rift between himself and the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, should rather be replaced with a concerted effort by the media and other parties to combat corruption.
“Ladies and gentlemen, it would be naïve for anyone to expect the fight against corruption to be smooth; you should expect resistance and opposition which are expressed in various guises.
“From what we read in the papers these days, it is either somebody is fighting Magu or Magu is fighting other people. I know that journalists want to sell their newspapers, but seriously speaking, instead of fighting ourselves, we should be united in fighting the common enemy, which is corruption.
“Personally, I am not after anybody and have no issues with anybody. Those who think they have issues with me will soon discover that I mean no harm. What drives me is the passion to do what is right by ensuring that we fight corruption to a standstill in this country.
“We do not pretend to have a monopoly of knowledge on how to win the war against corruption. The anti-corruption campaign requires a concerted effort. I enjoin members of the public, including the media, to be part of this effort by reporting cases of corruption to the EFCC. Petitions and complaints can be forwarded to the Commission by email via: [email protected]”