President Muhammadu Buhari said in Abuja on Friday that his wish is to make Nigeria a country that does not tolerate corruption, but where the threat is vigorously fought.
Upon receiving the Report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry on the Investigation of Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), headed by Judge Ayo Salami (Rtd), at State House, Abuja, President Buhari said:
”Corruption is present in all countries. Some governments treat it lightly. Some fight all the time. I want Nigeria to be among the countries that do not tolerate corruption, but fight it. “
In order to protect Nigeria’s political and economic systems and the continued existence of the Nigerian State from the serious threat of corruption, the President called on all concerned, and indeed all Nigerians, to take up the fight against corruption at their respective levels.
Promising that the fight against corruption must be waged without fear or favor, President Buhari thanked the members of the Commission for their dedication and commitment to the fight against corruption.
The president further said:
”The sad reality we face as a people is that there is corruption almost everywhere; at many levels of government and in almost all strata of our society. Aware of the threat that corruption poses to us as a nation, this administration has specifically focused on fighting corruption.
”As a government, and to promote our anti-corruption program, from the beginning we have carried out many reforms to eliminate corruption, including, among others, the application of the Single Treasury Account (TSA), the strict implementation of the Policy on numbers of bank verification and signature of the Open Government Partnership. Many efforts have been made to build and develop our anti-corruption institutions.
“So far we have kept faith in our promise and will remain committed until Nigeria triumphs over the evil of corruption, achieves a prosperous economic state and overcomes its security challenges.
However, the stark reality of widespread corruption becomes poignant when allegations of corruption affect the leadership of an institution established by law to coordinate and enforce all economic and financial crimes. It is an abomination that attacks at its roots and undermines the Government’s anti-corruption program.
“It was in response to the serious complaints against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission that I formed a Panel headed by the Honorable Magistrate Isa Ayo Salami, retired President of the Court of Appeals, by means of an Instrument of July 3, 2020 in accordance with the Courts of the Investigation Law (Cap T21, LFN, 2004).
“We recognize that there are more motives to cover in the war against corruption, and we are willing to go out and possess that land by cutting off any stream that feeds the seed of corruption and sustains its growth.
“Let it be known that in the fight against corruption, no one is too big to face, as no individual is bigger than the State of Nigeria!”
In his remarks, Judge Salami said that the suspended acting president of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, and 113 witnesses appeared and testified before the Commission, adding that individuals and organizations submitted 46 petitions and memoranda with complaints against the suspended acting president, EFCC . or both.
Judge Salami revealed that the Commission also embarked on a nationwide physical verification of recovered forfeited assets, which include real estate, automobiles, boats, and non-monetary assets.
He congratulated the president on the initiative to dispose of all seized assets “due to the poor condition of the assets that we saw during our physical verification across the country.”
Noting that the four EFCC presidents from the beginning were from the police, the retired judge of the Court of Appeal also recommended that when appointing a new president, candidates from other police or security agencies and basic personnel from the EFCC as provided in the 2004 EFCC Establishment Law.
He expressed deep gratitude to the President for providing the members of the Commission with a wonderful opportunity to serve the nation.