I Prefer to Die Fighting Corruption – EFCC Chairman
The acting chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Mustafa Magu, has vowed not to relent in the fight against corruption, saying: “I prefer to die fighting corruption.” Magu who stated this yesterday at a stakeholders’ meeting with the Association of Democratic Lawyers, led by human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), added that it would be a great honour for him to die while fighting corrupt people in the country. According to him, what happened recently when about 33 Senior Advocates of Nigeria stormed a Lagos High Court in defence of Rickey Tarfa (SAN) was an indication that corruption is fighting back. He however warned that nothing would prevent the EFCC under his leadership from carrying out its statutory duties.
“We know that corruption is fighting back and we are prepared to fight them; it is a fight to the finish,” he declared. According to Magu, some senior lawyers have constituted themselves into a block to fight the commission because they are beneficiaries of stolen money. Magu reiterated his earlier statement that some senior lawyers, rather than help the commission to recover looted money, have decided to thwart the efforts of government in that direction. The EFCC boss also disclosed that aside from the widely publicised case against Tarfa, the commission has taken several lawyers to court, adding that some of them have even been convicted. “Apart from those, we have been quietly investigating many senior lawyers across the country, in relation to some to the proceeds of certain heinous crimes against the Nigerian people. When we reach a comfortable stage in our investigation, we would take them to court and make the outcome of our enquiries known to the Nigerian people,” he stated.
Magu added that those investigations were what informed his statement that some lawyers are not fit to be in the legal profession. He urged senior lawyers to imitate the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) and allow the ethics of their profession, the interest of Nigeria and their good conscience guide them “when they accept briefs and are called upon to use their skills to pervert the cause of justice as many of them do today.” Magu who said Nigerians are among the most talented and industrious persons on earth also said few Nigerians have chosen to use their talents negatively, while other unpatriotic Nigerians have created an industry to provide expertise and technical know-now to crooks. Magu however admitted that the war against corruption could not be fought and won alone by the EFCC without the courts, where lawyers and judges make up that indispensable branch of democratic governance.
He assured lawyers that the EFCC would continue to operate under the ambit of the law, saying “no agency of government respects the rule of law better than the EFCC.” Earlier in his remarks, the leader of the group, Mr. Falana said majority of Nigerian lawyer are people of integrity and are willing to work with the EFCC in its fight against corrupt individuals. He urged the EFCC boss not to make general statement that all Nigerian lawyers are corrupt, adding that the commission could not survive in its duty without the inputs of lawyers. He however said he and his colleagues are embarrassed when senior lawyers turn to judges in order to pervert the course of justice. He assured the EFCC boss that majority of Nigerian lawyers are solidly behind it should anybody or group decide to harass or intimidate the commission.
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