Two sources at the Presidential Villa in Abuja disclosed to SaharaReporters that President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, and Senate President Bukola Saraki were colluding to withdraw the letter of confirmation for the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, from the Senate.
Our sources said the latest arose after SaharaReporters published a report on June 22nd, 2016 describing a mounting conflict between Mr. Magu and the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, on the one hand, and Mr. Kyari, on the other hand. Our earlier revealed that Mr. Kyari, the Director-General of the Department of State Security (DSS), Lawal Daura, and others in Mr. Buhari’s cabinet sought to interfere with certain corruption investigations by the EFCC.
SaharaReporters learned that Mr. Magu’s confirmation letter, which is currently at the Senate, would be withdrawn and sent back to the Villa on the ostensible grounds that it needed to be signed by President Buhari. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had signed the letter when Mr. Buhari was on medical trip to London.
The President of Nigeria is empowered by law to make a formal appointment of the EFCC chairman. When SaharaReporters contacted presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, he said he could not confirm if Mr. Magu’s letter was withdrawn. He said that, due to the public holidays, he could not confirm the status of the letter from the office of the Chief of Staff.
Our correspondent tried to find out about Mr. Magu’s confirmation letter from the Presidential Assistant to the National Assembly Senate, Ita Enang, but our inquiry hit a brick wall as the former senator said he was not willing to discuss matters relating to his work with the Senate. He added that his sole interest was to enhance communication between the National Assembly and the President.
Our sources at the Villa revealed that Mr. Kyari threatened he would deal with Mr. Magu after SaharaReporters revealed the Chief of Staff’s shady attempts to interfere with anti-corruption investigations. One source said the arrest of a member of the panel investigating arms procurements by the DSS was aimed at implicating Mr. Magu and forcing him out of the EFCC.
One of our sources claimed that the DSS was putting pressure on Air Commodore Muhammad Umar to implicate Mr. Magu and the National Security Adviser, Mr. Monguno. They said Air Commodore Umar had so far refused to budge, reportedly urging the DSS to take him to court if they find he had committed any crime. He remains in detention in Abuja.
When SaharaReporters contacted Senator Saraki’s media aide, Yusuf Olaniyonu, he denied that the letter of confirmation has been withdrawn saying that the Senate left for a recess a day after the letter was submitted to it.