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El-Rufai: Osinbajo told me Magu won’t be removed

Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai yesterday said both President Muhammadu Buhari and Acting President Yemi Osinbajo have told him that Ibrahim Magu will not be…

Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai yesterday said both President Muhammadu Buhari and Acting President Yemi Osinbajo have told him that Ibrahim Magu will not be removed as head of the EFCC.

The Senate Tuesday said since it had rejected the confirmation of Magu, his continued stay in office as acting chairman of the anti-corruption agency is illegal.

It threatened not to hold any confirmation hearing again for government appointees unless Magu is removed.

However, El-Rufai, who represented Osinbajo at the opening of EFCC office in Kaduna, said the acting president told him that he was solidly behind Magu.

But Federal Government sources later at night expressed doubts about the veracity of  El-Rufai’s remarks.

EL-Rufa’i had said: “Mr Chairman, two weeks ago, I discussed the EFCC and your appointment with President Muhammadu Buhari and he told me he has every confidence in you and every confidence in the commission and the work that you have been doing, and as long as he is president you remain the chairman of the EFCC.’’

Continuing, he said:  “Last night, I spoke with the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who reconfirmed the position of the President and told me that as long as he remained the Acting President or Vice President, Ibrahim Magu would remain the chairman of the EFCC.

“That is the only message from the President, so those thinking that corruption is winning this war, Magu would remain their nightmare for the next two years or six years as the case may be.’’

The Senior Special Assistant to the Acting President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, in a telephone interview with Daily Trust yesterday parried question on whether El-Rufa’i, actually spoke the mind of Professor Osinbajo.

The spokesman said he would rather comment on the position of President Muhammadu Buhari and the acting president regarding the issue.

According to Akande, Buhari’s position, which is supported by Osinbajo, is that Magu remains the acting chairman of the anti-graft agency.

“Mr Ibrahim Magu is the acting chairman of the EFCC. That has not changed. That is the position of the president and the acting president. That has not changed,” Akande emphasized.

FG sources express doubts  

However, senior government sources, who spoke to our correspondent on the telephone, said from his discussion with Osinbajo in the last 24 hours, the acting president did not say what el-Rufa’i quoted him as saying.

One of the sources, who is a top official in government, explained that the executive and the legislature had been pursuing reconciliation since Wednesday over Magu.

“The acting president is most unlikely to have talked in that manner because in the last 24 hours, we have been pursuing reconciliation. We believe that the only way we can focus on matters of development is for all arms of government to be united and have unity of purpose, not to continue to be engaged in arguments.

“We are trying to ensure that the rough edges of the relationship between the executive and the legislature are straightened out. We have all been working towards resolving the issue,” he said.

Why we donated office to EFCC – El-Rufa’i

The governor had earlier said his administration donated the office to the EFCC to demonstrate its “zero tolerance to bad behaviour by public office holders, contractors, businesses and citizens.

“We applaud the leadership of the EFCC for taking the significant step to establish a state office in Kaduna.

 “We have set aside land for your training school awaiting the submission of your application.

“We have also set aside land to build your staff housing estate, if you so require.”

He said the anti graft agency had assisted the state government in recovering over N400 million from corrupt public officials. Earlier, the acting chairman of the EFCC had called for public support to the agency in the fight against corruption in the land.

Magu said Nigerians must rise and do what is expected of them to reclaim their common wealth stolen by a few corrupt individuals.

“If we can pause and trace the root cause of the problem that confronts us as a nation, we will discover they are all linked to corruption.

“Corruption is the cause of the recession that has pushed our people deeper into poverty and the insurgency that has visited death, displacement and untold hardship on Nigerians in the North East.

“This is the reason I have suggested that we set up prison for the corrupt in the Sambisa forest, where they can be kept away and have the sobriety to be truly reformed,” Magu said.

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