Ibrahim Magu, the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday revealed those he found difficult investigating on assumption of office.
Magu disclosed that he found it difficult investigating some, “senior journalists and media owners” who were allegedly involved in the sharing of the funds meant for the fight against insurgency in the North East.
The acting Chairman of EFCC said this at the 68th General Assembly of the Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria, BON, in Abuja.
Magu noted that journalists should be partners with security agencies in the fight against corruption.
According to Magu, media practitioners who should help expose corruption have taken to the vice, in a bid to satisfy some of their alleged paymasters.
He said, “Corruption has made Nigeria a laughing stock among committee of nations. We have never been in doubt that checking corruption is the part way to escape from poverty in the country, this is the reason why successive administration made the fight against corruption a priority.
“The success has been mixed, while some of us are blaming past administrations for lacking the will to tackle corruption, I believe that we also share in the blame. As citizens and professionals, we have roles to play. The question is how effective have we played our roles?
“As media practitioners, how effective have we being in helping to fight corruption, the media occupy a unique place in the fight against corruption and impunity in Nigeria. As the fourth estate of realm, the media is the only profession that is constitutionally mandated to hold the nation’s leaders to account, but how has the media fared well in the discharge of this sacred mandate?
“The media has been in the vanguard of the liberation of democracy from the shackles of military dictatorship, but since the return to democracy in 1999, the experience as an observer, has been mixed, we have seen flashes of courageous reporting that have straightened our public accountability.
“Let the truth be told, there is no way law enforcement agencies can know about all cases of graft in the society. Journalists as investigators in their own right are supposed to help in exposing corruption and other societal ills, wherever they exist.
“Unfortunately, this is one area we have challenges, media practitioners that are supposed to help fight corruption have been swapped into malpractice.
“One of the difficult tasks I faced soon after I took over as acting Chairman of the EFCC was having to investigate senior journalists and media owners that partook in the monies meant for sharing of arms to fight insurgency in the North East.
“It was shocking that even those arraigned in court still feel they have done nothing wrong, it is difficult to understand the disposition of many media practitioners who are comfortable helping the corrupt to undermine the fight against corruption by attacking anti-corruption agencies.
“I’m not against critical review of anti-corruption fight if such arguments are based on facts. Journalists are supposed to be investigators like us by training but investigative reporting is less fancied these days as media practitioners pursue bread and butter issues.
“Journalists and journalism have been hijacked by those who have the means and sometimes they do stories to satisfy the needs of their paymasters.”