Tuesday, February 16, 2016 11:45 pm
Mr Ibrahim Magu, the Chairman of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Tuesday accused “corrupt’’ senior lawyers and journalists of trying to frustrate the war on corruption.
Magu made the accusation when a coalition of civil society groups (CSOs) staged a solidarity protest to the EFCC headquarters in Abuja.
He alleged that senior lawyers file frivolous applications in court to delay justice after receiving stolen money as payments to represent corrupt individuals on trial.
He said: “One of the big challenges we have in the effective prosecution of the war on corruption are very senior lawyers in this country.
“Nigeria has been very kind to these lawyers. They went to good schools here when the country was good; many of them on government scholarship.
“But these same lawyers receive stolen money in payment for legal services to represent corrupt people who have stolen from the mouths of our children.
“They represent wicked people who have stolen money meant to build hospitals, buy drugs and equip our soldiers to fight Boko Haram.
“Corrupt people run to these same lawyers, give them part of the stolen money and mobilise them to fight us, to delay us in court and deny Nigerians justice.
“The other day, 34 Senior Advocates of Nigeria fought against only one small EFCC lawyer in court and he defeated all of them,’’ he added.
The EFCC boss also said that corrupt individuals were hiring journalists to abuse the commission and accuse it of not following the rule of law in the anti-corruption war.
He stated that no agency operates within the ambit of the law like the EFCC, adding that the commission does not take any action, including arrest, without consulting the law.
“That is why we are winning and defeating them every day. We want Nigerians to continue to support the commission and the general war on corruption.
“We are recovering stolen money, in billions of Naira and returning them to government’s coffers to be used to build hospitals, send our children to school, create employment and defend our country.
“We have no other country than Nigeria. This war is the war of the people,’’ he stated.
Magu emphasised that the days of impunity were over in the country, adding that the commission was being guided by no other rule than the rule of law.