A flury of attacks came the way of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, by some state governors, who dismissed the antigraft czar’s allegations that governors were fuelling insecurity across the country to justify their security votes. The governors, according to Saturday Telegraph’s investigations, insisted that Magu was “only playing to the gallery” as well as being “economical with the truth”. While Magu alleged that some of the governors, “now covertly promote insecurity as justification to inflate their security vote”, the governors on the part maintained that the EFCC boss should be more specific in his appraisal of the ‘corruption stigma’. Saturday Telegraph got Adamawa, Anambra, Enugu, Ekiti, Rivers states responses concerning Magu’s security vote allegation. To underscore the gravity of the situation, a former Sokoto State governor, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, also corroborated Magu’s claim, stressing that state governors were getting ‘richer’ as a result of the increase in the allocations set aside for their security votes.
Magu had claimed that some chief executive of states ‘now covertly promote insecurity as justification to inflate their security vote.’ Speaking during the presentation of a paper tagged: “Imperative of Fighting Corruption/ Terrorism Financing in Nigeria”, at the induction of new and returning governors at the State House, Abuja, Magu said he was not going into debate on the constitutionality of security vote, but that the governors must be conscious of transparency in the expenditure of public funds. He said: “We have also seen evidence of theft of public resources by some state governors – cashing on the insecurity in their states. “Insecurity has also offered the required oxygen for corruption to thrive as evident in the $2.1 billion arm procurement scandal involving top military commanders both serving and retired. “Mass poverty in the region due in part to corruption by the ruling elite, is largely to blame for the ease with which the Islamists are able to recruit fighters to sustain their aggression against the Nigerian state.” “As an investigator, I am shocked by the quantum of resources stolen from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by those who run the intervention agency. It is so bad that even a mere personal assistant to a former Managing Director was charged for stealing over N3 billion.”According to him, “whether we like it or not, corruption and terrorism have become the twin evils, undermining our collective efforts to make Nigeria a truly great country.” Magu said Nigeria’s loss to corruption in the last decade runs into trillions of naira and that a review of the recoveries between 2017 and now, shows that in 2017, the EFCC recovered N473.065 billion, $98 million, €7 million and £294,000, while N236.16 billion was recovered in 2018. He said the recovered sum just gives an insight into what had been stolen so far by those in leadership positions. But reacting, the governors in separate interviews by our correspondents dismissed the anti-corruption czar’s allegations as unfounded.
Allegation is baseless- Adamawa govt
Adamawa State Government described Magu’s allegation as baseless and unsubstantial. Responding, the state’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Ahmad Sajor, said Governor Muhammad Umar Jibrilla had done everything within his administrative resources to end the spate of insecurity in the state. Sajor said the state government had been in synergy with military and other security agencies in checking the rising incidence of insecurity in the state. While accepting that there were pockets of attacks at Madagali Local Government Area of the state, the commissioner explained that the military and local hunters were on top of the situation, describing them as the remnants that went to the villages to still foods. The commissioner challenged Magu not to make a blanket accusation but to come out and name or invite the governors that involved in such tendencies. However, a former Chairman of Madagali Local Government Area, Abawu Maina Ularamu, said Magu’s allegations should not be swept under the carpet as there may be elements of truth and called for investigation. He said: “It is inhumane for any governor to fuel insecurity in his domain when people who voted him are being killed on daily basis and challenged Magu as a security officer to visit the affected areas to see things by himself.” The former chairman said the best option was to end the insecurity as recently promised by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Yusuf Buratai, who equally expressed optimism that security challenges bedevilling the country would soon come to a quick halt.
Obiano: Govs don’t fuel insecurity due to security
votes On his part, Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, described Magu’s allegations as untrue in their respective states to justify the disbursement of their security votes. Speaking through his Commissioner for Information, Chief C Don Adinuba, Obiano said his state (Anambra) remains the safest state in Nigeria, adding that it was unfair for governors to create insecurity in their states to the detriment of the masses. He said: “I do not believe that such allegations are real and I want to believe that it is not Anambra State that they are referring to. “This is because the issue of insecurity has become a thing of the past in our state and you are all aware that the issue of herdsmen menace in the state have been put to check and we have a committee on herdsmen and farmers made up of security heads in the state. Adinuba further noted that cases of armed robbery kidnapping have reduced drastically in the state. “The state police command and other security operatives have been supportive in the fight against crimes in Anambra State hence cases of kidnapping and armed robbery has been under check. He further announced that two persons out of the four suspects who were involved in the killing of the ex-lawmaker and President General of Nimo community in Njikoka Local Government area have been arrested which according to him is an indication that the state government is alive to its responsibility. Ugwuanyi: I invest in security Enugu State Government also said the state government was different as it remains the most secured state in the country. Reacting to the development in a chart with Saturday Telegraph, the state’s Commissioner for Information, Chief Ogbuagu Anikwe, said the state’s Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, invests the security vote of the state in ensuring a peaceful and secured state. He, however, noted that although a policeman but who is currently saddled with a different responsibility outside security, the EFCC boss might be over stretching his brief by dabbling into security matters. He said: “The security situation in Enugu is not being fueled by the governor of Enugu state. The governor of Enugu state has been widely acknowledged by even Magu’s kinsmen as somebody who goes out of his way to look for peace, to make sure that Enugu is safe and secure. “And that is why Enugu is rated today as the safest state in Nigeria…In the first place Magu is a police man, but unfortunately today he is doing a different kind of job, which has nothing to do with policing. “I don’t know where he is coming from; whether he is speaking for the Inspector General of Police or the Director General of DSS or GOC of the military. “So, but he is a Nigerian citizen and he is free to express an opinion as everybody else is doing about the security situation but I don’t think that the security of the states or local governments or even of the nation is within his brief.”
Fayemi knows importance of security-Aide
Special Adviser to Ekiti State Governor on Public Communication, Mr. Segun Dipe, has said such situation doesn’t exist in the state. He described Governor Kayode Fayemi as a security expert, who knows the importance of security and as such, would not condone any incidence of insecurity. Dipe added that since Fayemi assumed office on October 16, 2018, the governor has given an enabling environment for security to thrive in the state, stressing that the state was now in peaceful atmosphere. He said: “The situation is not applicable to Ekiti State, Governor Kayode Fayemi is a security expert. He knows the implications of having insecurity in the state, you can see the difference between the time he took over in October 16 and now “Security situation has improved tremendously in the state. Fayemi would not condone any insecurity, the situation is not like that in Ekiti. The governor is concerned about security.”
Wike slams Magu
The governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has faulted the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, on his accusation that governors in Nigeria’s troubled states foment troubles to inflate security votes. Wike, who spoke recently through his Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Emma Okah, insisted that Magu was being “economical with the truth”. Okah said: “Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, disagrees with the EFCC Chairman in his comment, because Rivers State is hungry for funds to execute projects.”
Obaseki: Don’t generalise allegation with some govs For Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, the allegations made by Magu are simply untrue and unverifiable. Obaseki said his state was a peaceful state and, therefore, was not threatened by insecurity as obtained in some states in the northern parts of the country. The governor, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, told Saturday Telegraph, that: “The issue he (Magu) was addressing or referring to has to do with banditry, terrorism and kidnapping in certain sections of the country. I don’t think by any stretch of imagination, it has anything to do with a governor like (God-win) Obaseki in Edo State. By any standard, there is no terrorism or Boko Haram activity in Edo State. “I am not saying that there is not crime in the state but no such crimes as terror groups as being witnessed in some states in the north. I can say unequivocally that the comment has nothing to do with governors of some states like Edo where there is no terrorism; if this question comes from journalists from the North- East or North-West then I will understand, I don’t think that Magu’s comment was directed at states lie Edo. “Edo State is not one of those states where security votes have been increased because there is no terrorism or emergencies going on here. “In the North-East, there is such a things like emergencies due to insecurity; in the North Central in Zamfara State lately and other parts of the area but not in Edo State. “Those comments were not directed at states like Edo State because there has not been any significant increase in security situation and therefore it does not affect our security vote.”
Oyetola: My state is very peaceful
On his part, Osun State Governor, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, said Magu’s claim was untrue. The state governor who kicked against the claim, maintained that such does not exist in his state. Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr. Adeniyi Adesina, Oyetola said: “Our state is one of the most peaceful in the country as acknowledged by all indices from the police and other security agencies. “This is being sustained by Governor Adegboyega Oyetola and the situation being painted here is not applicable here.”
Bafarawa backs Magu’s corruption claims
Meanwhile, Bafarawa while speaking in Abuja, at a press conference on the forthcoming “National Security and Peace Development Summit”, to be organised by his pet NGO, the ‘Attahiru Bafarawa Foundation’, said the wave of banditry, cattle rustling, kidnapping, communal clashes and general insurgency, was on the rise for the wrong reasons. He noted that the spiral effects of poverty, ignorance, unemployment and several other developmental challenges bedevilling the North. Bafarawa added: “This meeting arose from concerns among government institutions, social, political activists and security agencies about the escalation of crime and youth involvement in these crimes in Nigeria, which were all too often linked to insatiable quest for wealth production, terrorism and extremism.”