It became a case of kettle calling pot black as allegations of corruption surfaced on the media against the acting chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) contained in a memo sent out by the Attorney General of the Federation, AbubakarMalami. There were reports that he was arrested by the Director of State Services (DSS) of which the DSS denied saying they only took him for questioning regarding some issues that concerned him.
According to the AGF, the EFCC boss has been found involved in financial retractions that were unholy considering his position as an anti-graft official. Magu however was retained at the DSS premises where he spent 10 days before he was finally released on 6th of July, 2020. The president had earlier suspension him from his position as soon as news of his alleged corrupt practices involvement surfaced online.
Alongside his probe were rumours of him giving certain amount of money to the vice president, YemiOsinbajo, renowned lawyer, Femi Falana and other key officials illegally. Speaking after his release, Magu denied all allegations and described the situation as “a case of dogs eat dogs”. He said the allegations were from people whose aim is to thwart the anti-corruption fight.
In his words, “They are nonsense. They are mere trump up allegations to tarnish my image and that of the EFCC. I did not steal or divert or convert funds to private use. I read the allegations and I was shocked. What I have gone through is a case of dog eats dog but I see it as one of those risks of the job… we must not give up in any way.”
Speaking on the show, Liberating Nigeria, a weekly program championed by Liberating Nigeria, a top online political forum in Nigeria, Debo Onifade, author of the book Liberating Nigeria: A Guide to winning elections and reviving our country(currently available on online bookstores), stated that he believes that the accusations made against Magu were simply meant to sabotage his anti-corruption fight. This he says is because he has not been given fair hearing, he simply got detained based on a memo sent by the AGF with no chance to either affirm or disaffirm the allegations.
He said he believes he is a good man judging from his attitude and actions in the past positions he held, however, Onifade said if he is fairly tried and found guilty of corruption as alleged, he should fcae the consequences.
Meanwhile, the federal government received a gold bar from the Presidential Gold Mining InitiativeI on Wednesday, 15th of July, 2020. Speaking at the presentation, the president said the country will begin work on establishment of its own gold refinery which will in turn create 250,000 jobs for young people in the mining industry and also generate $500million annually in royalties and taxes to the federal government. He said this move when implemented will provide better business operation atmosphere for good miners and will also help to curb activities of illegal mining in the country.
According to the president, “with the implementation of the PAGDMI scheme which will result in the set-up of accredited gold buying centres across key mining areas, artisanal miners and SMEs engaged in mining will be able to capture the value of their work. These operations will help in diversifying our revenue base. The sale of gold by artisanal miners and SMEs at accredited centers will help the government in realizing royalties and taxes from the sale of these assets.
“These developments will also help in improving our foreign reserves by enabling the Central Bank of Nigeria to increase the amount of gold in its reserves. These gold assets which will be purchased in Naira, will not only help to bolster our international reserves, it will also provide a hedge against inflation and other economic volatilities associated with foreign currencies that are held in our reserves,”
This is a laudable initiative from the federal government as this will cause a shift in paradigm from Crude Oil to other lucrative asepcts of the economy.
Onifade applauded efforts of the government to finally move away from Crude Oil and focus on other lucrative asepcts of the economy. He said it’s a good initiative from the FG but expressed displeasure at the processes involved. He made reference to his stance on the issue in his book and asserted that the Federal government should give state governments power to regulate and monitor mining operations.
According to him, this will help curb cases of illegal mining by some Chinese companies and other illegal miners that the country has been recording in states like Osun and Zamfara, it will also help to rid of bandits in states like such.
On the creation of 250,000 jobs, Onifade gave kudos to the government for such plan. He said it’s good news for the country as the government keep reeling out job employment initiatives for young people but unfortunately the plans are vague. The job programs have failed to be transparent and also provide answers to salient questions, an average youth does not have this information and does not even know how to have access to the job made available for him/her.
He says, only the 774,000 jobs project spearheaded by Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo has tried to be transparent and also provide necessary information to the public.
He went further to advise that the government makes more effort to ensure that adequate information is made available to the public; specifically people at the grassroot and not just elites who have access to internet and social media.
By Deborah Yusuf