- Anti-graft War Now Total, Says Magu
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Acting Chairman Ibrahim Magu yesterday said the war against corruption “is now total”.
The commission, he said, is more determined than ever to fight corruption to a standstill and to sustain “the current momentum”.
“We’re now going to declare total war on corruption. It is our responsibility to crush corrupt practices in this country,” he said.
Magu spoke in Lagos. He was received by a team of senior editors and management.
The EFCC chief was accompanied by the commission’s Public Affairs Director Mr Osita Nwaja, Head of Media Mr Wilson Uwujaren and Head, Media in Lagos Office, Mr Samin Amaddin.
He described the biggest challenge to the Muhammadu Buhari administration’s anti-graft crusade as “corruption fighting back”.
“It’s real and they (those fighting back) have all the money,” he said.
Magu said there were no fewer than 125 high profile corruption cases still “hanging in court”.
On the delay of such cases, Magu blamed it all on Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), who he said were used by rich and powerful suspects to frustrate cases.
“How can 31 SANs go to court to defend one (suspected) looter? Sometimes judges are intimidated. Why should 31 SANs appear for a suspect? We need to ask questions,” Magu said.
He said such lawyers adopt several strategies to delay cases, some of which have spent nearly 10 years in court.
“They abuse the court process, file all kinds of applications and go on appeal, which goes up to the Supreme Court and back. They adopt different technicalities and delay tactics. Sometimes they provoke the judges and write petitions against them.
“But I don’t control the judges. We don’t have control over what happens in court. Our role is to investigate,” he said.
Magu denied allegations that EFCC does shoddy investigations and prosecute ineffectively.
“We investigate better than any other law enforcement agency in this country, including the police,” he said.
Magu said he does not interfere with the work of investigators, adding that once any intelligence is received, the investigation must be concluded.
The Acting EFCC chairman denied any rift with the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and the Department of State Services (DSS).
“I am a law-abiding citizen. I respect constituted authority,” Magu said, adding that he duly handed over the list of high profile cases as requested by AGF Abubakar Malami (SAN).
On loot recovery, Magu said one of EFCC’s strategies was to recover assets and funds suspected to be proceeds of crime by applying to the court for interim forfeiture orders, publishing a 14-day notice for the owners to show up, and then applying for a final forfeiture.
He said the EFCC had appealed the acquittal of former Adamawa State Governor Bala Ngilari, who was discharged by an Appeal Court sitting in Yola of corruption charges.
Magu denied that former Bayelsa State Governor Timipre Sylva, who is under EFCC investigation, had retrieved properties seized from him by the commission.
“We have not released any property to Sylva,” Magu said.
On his non-confirmation by the Senate, Magu said: “I strongly believe in God. When it’s time to leave I’ll leave.”
On the threat by the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units to expel the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) for not being an independent entity, Magu claimed there were moves to meet the group’s demands long before the Senate intervened.
He said before the Senate’s move to completely remove NFIU from the EFCC, there were moves to make NFIU a separate unit within the anti-graft agency and to secure the tenure of its director so it is not tied to that of the EFCC chairman.
According to him, granting NFIU “some security and operational autonomy” was what the Egmont Group demanded.
He believes the Senate’s move to pass a law to make the NFIU independent of the commission was a bid to “weaken the workings of the EFCC”.
Egmont Group was created to provide Financial Intelligence Units around the world a forum to exchange information confidentially to combat money-laundering, the financing of terrorism and other predicate offences.
Magu said the shooting at the EFCC had been referred to the police.
“There is a real threat, but we are used to it,” he said, adding that the department that was attacked had been transferred to a safe location.
He said the war against corruption could not be successfully fought without media support.
“I believe all journalists are corruption fighters. Let everybody do the right thing. Let us mobilise everybody’s support in the fight against corruption. Consider yourself as if working for the EFCC.
“Corruption is the worst developmental problem we have in this country. We need more support. This fight is for our collective good.
“We should not allow ourselves to be purchased to the detriment of our co-existence. We need to mobilise everybody. Let’s do it together.
“We need your collective support in whatever we’re doing. You have supported us and we ask for more support. We owe a duty to this country. We must do the right thing for our collective good.
“We’re not going to completely kill corruption, but we have a collective responsibility to reduce it,” Magu said.
Nigeria Immigration Service Reopens Portal With New Passport Application and Payment Process
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has announced the reopening of its passport application and payment portal.
The assistant comptroller of immigration, Mr Amos Okpu announced in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.
In the statement, Mr Muhammad Babandede, the Comptroller-General of the service, said the portal became effective for new applications from 12 midnight on Tuesday.
Babandede further said that the portal would allow eligible applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of passports of their choice.
Mr Muhammad Babandede explained that with the reopening of the portal, a new passport application and payment regime had begun.
The statement in full:
“The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (CGI), Muhammad Babandede MFR, has announced the reopening of the Passport application and payment portal effective 8th June 2021 by 12 midnight to allow eligible Passport applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of Passports of their choice.
The Passport portal was closed following the directives of the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on the 17th of May, 2021to afford the Service the opportunity to clear all backlogs of applications that have piled up across Issuing Centres in the past few months.
With the reopening of the portal, a new Passport application and payment regime have commenced. Under the new Passport regime;
Applications and payments for Passport services shall be made through the Service website www.immigration.gov.ng;
- applicants are expected to visit the portal to apply and upload their support documents for vetting and processing;
- a chat room facility to guide applicants through the application and payment process has been provided on the portal;
- upon successful applications, applicants shall make their online booking interview/enrollment appointment on any day, time and location they consider convenient;
- that the new timeline for Passport production and issuance after a successful enrollment at the selected Issuing Centre shall be six weeks for Fresh applications and three weeks for Re-issue (Renewal applications);
- that no applicant who is yet to make an online application and payment shall be allowed into any of the Passport Issuing Centres for Passport processing;
- applicants will be contacted through email and phone number they provided during application when their Passports are ready;
- a helpline with the number 08021819988 has been provided for feedback mechanism on any challenges.
The Comptroller General, Muhammad Babandede MFR wishes to use this medium to call on Nigerians and indeed Passport applicants to avoid patronizing touts as the entire process has been made seamless for effective and efficient service delivery. He warned Passport racketeers to desist from acts capable of undermining the reform efforts to avoid very strict sanctions.
Signed AMOS OKPU MNIPR
ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER OF IMMIGRATION
SERVICE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
For: COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF IMMIGRATION 8TH JUNE, 2021″
INEC To Publish The List Of New Polling Units Next Week
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has pledged to publish a comprehensive list of its new polling units across the nation next week.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja.
Yakubu was speaking at the formal handing over of a new state of the art fire truck, deployed to the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja by the Federal Fire Service (FFS).
He said that details of the locations of its registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration for resumption of nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) would be made available in the second week of May.
He expressed appreciation of the commission to the FFS and all security agencies for the demonstration of their support to protecting INEC facilities
He said that the support was coming on the eve of the resumption of the CVR nationwide in the next three weeks.
“We earlier assured Nigerians that we shall conclude work on the expansion of voter access to polling units and make the new polling units available to citizens ahead of the CVR exercise.
“I am glad to report that we have accomplished this task for the first time in 25 years.
“A comprehensive list of the new polling units will be published next week.
“Similarly, details of the locations of the registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration will also be made available after a series of regular consultative meetings with stakeholders next week,” Yakubu said.
He said that as a member of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) FFS had been as concerned as other security agencies about the recent attacks on our offices across the country.
“This is particularly so because out of the 42 attacks on our facilities nationwide, 18 incidents resulted from arson and three more by a combination of arson and vandalisation.”
Yakubu recalled that concerned by those incidents, the commission convened an emergency meeting of ICCES last week of April, where the security agencies renewed their determination to collaborate more with the commission.
According to him, they pledged to assist the commission address the challenge beyond the routine protection of INEC assets and the security of its officials, voters, observers, the media, candidates and their agents during elections.
“On its part, the Federal Fire Service offered to deploy an additional state-of-the-art fire engine to the INEC headquarters to complement the two existing trucks.
“At the same time, it directed its state offices to take additional protective measures around other INEC facilities nationwide.
“Today’s inauguration of the new fire engine is another affirmation of the support to the commission from the FFS whose personnel, already deployed permanently to the commission
“The personnel will continue to operate and maintain the fire engines and other firefighting equipment installed by INEC,” Yakubu said.
Speaking earlier, the Controller-General (CG) of FFS, Alhaji Liman Ibrahim said the deployment of the firefighting truck was premised on recent fire attacks on INEC offices in different parts of the country.
Ibrahim, represented by the Assistant Controller-General of the service, Mr Samson Karebo, said the deployed truck would serve as fire cover for the premises of INEC headquarters and the entire Maitama vicinity of Abuja.
“The FFS is taking this step as a proactive measure to protect our critical infrastructure and help to protect our economy by forming synergy with all stakeholders in protecting our environments.
“Our center is focused on bringing firefighting operations to every part of the country as part of our statutory duties by having a presence in virtually every state in Nigeria
“The FFS will very soon be moving into all senatorial headquarters in the country. That is how we want to operate for now so that we can touch every corner of this country,” Ibrahim said.
He called for the cooperation of all for the service to better serve the nation by not molesting FFS staff in the line of duty.
In his remarks, the National Security Adviser (NSA) retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, who is also Co-Chair of ICCES, described the deployment of the truck as a demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to sustain Nigeria’s democracy and address insecurity.
Monguno said that the gesture also symbolised commitment to a clear affirmation of Buhari toward protecting institutions of government, toward securing their property, toward fighting acts of irresponsibility, vandalisation and outright criminality.
“The President is determined as much as he can within the confines of legality to suppress any kind of criminality and destruction of public property.
“This is something that he is determined to do regardless of whatever the challenges are.
“He will apply all the resources in his disposal in his capacity as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces to ensure the wider Nigerian society is safe, stable and is allowed to carry out its legitimate undertaking, free from any act of insecurity,” he said
Monguno urged all other security agencies not to relent in ensuring that they continued to protect lives and property.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Baba pledged commitment to security agencies to work with INEC and protect INEC’s facilities, citizens’ life and property.
Also at the occasion was the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, represented by Director of Joint Services, Mr Peter Obodo; as well as the representative of Director-General, Directorate of State Services, Tony Adikweruka.
Recovered Assets: Ad-hoch Committee Gives Emefiele, Others 72 Hours Ultimatum
The House of Representatives ad-hoc committee, investigating recovered assets, has given the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, 72 hours to appear before it.
The committee also issued same ultimatum to the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali, and the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh.
The summon was issued on Monday, after Mr Emefiele and the others failed to appear before the committee.
The government officials had sent representatives, but the committee chairman, Adejoro Adeogun (APC, Ondo), said they failed to forward letters to that effect.
He said allowing representatives without a proper letter of introduction would be akin to allowing “impersonators.”
“You are indirectly insulting the House of Representatives. You are undermining the House of Representatives,” an angry Mr Adeogun said.
Moving a motion to give the agencies 72hours to appear before the committee, Ibrahim Isiaka (APC, Ogun), said the agencies created by Acts of the parliament “should not be undermining the parliament”.
The motion was unanimously adopted by the committee.
Mr Isiaka suggested that the House should shut down its activities if the agencies fail to appear before them.
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